New Smyrna Beach Cudas dream season over with 24-20 playoff loss to Winter Haven

Football team undefeated during regular season

Winter Haven drives the ballHeadline Surfer photo by Henry Frederick / Winter Haven moves quickly down towards the Cudas end zone before taking a knee in the closing seconds of a 24-20 playoff win over previously unbeated New Smyrna Beach Friday night.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- The Cudas lost to Winter Haven 24-20 tonight in the opening round of the playoffs after an undefeated regular season with nine wins.

Winter Haven, ranked 10th in the state, two spots behind the Cudas, were strong up front defensively, and after trading touchdowns with the Cudas in the first half, were up 21-20 going into the third quarter.

A field goal midway through the third increased Winter Haven's lead, 24-20.

The Cudas recovered a fumble on the Winter Haven 44 midway through the third, but senior quarterback Marcus Johnson was sacked a couple of plays later and the drive stalled.

In the closing minute of the game, Winter Haven was driving towards the Cudas end zone, but let the clock wind down until the final snap where its quarterback took a knee. And just like that, the dream season was over for the Cudas.

Several Cudas were openly weeping on the field after the post-game wrap-up talk by head coach Lance Jenkins who told his players he was proud of them and the season they had.

Headline Surfer will have a full post-game wrap overnight, including video interviews with the head coach and two of the Cudas players.

Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.