The wins are mounting at First Coast — four in a row — and for head coach Marty Lee, the memories flooded back Monday night.
One year removed from a season without a win on the field, out of the Florida High School Athletic Association regionals since 2014, are the Buccaneers really ready to revive their glory days on the Northside?
"It feels like the old Bucs," said 26th-year coach Lee, who led First Coast to the state final in 2011. "We had to change our mindset in the offseason, and we've done that."
First Coast's Buccaneers blasted another warning cannonball to Jacksonville, overpowering Englewood 36-6 in their District 1-3M opener in a rare round of Monday night high school football at the Shipyard.
Quarterback Rodney Tisdale Jr. almost couldn't miss. Running back Auston Harris threatened to take nearly every carry for big yardage. The defense woke up the echoes of First Coast feats of old.
Winners of four in a row, First Coast (4-1, 1-0) is firmly in the playoff conversation now, just as during their 10-year postseason streak from 2005 to 2014. They're perched atop the district standings along with Fletcher, which beat Parker 28-12 Monday.
Last year, winless on the field. This year, who knows?
"Once we get rolling," wide receiver Thomas Jackson said, "we don't stop. We just keep going. Once your quarterback gets clicking and we go no-huddle, we can't be stopped, like a train."
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PERFECT START FOR TISDALE
Transferring to First Coast during the off-season from Mandarin, junior quarterback Tisdale has become a symbol of the Bucs' resurgence.
Tisdale completed his first 15 passes for 177 yards, including touchdown passes to Jackson and Jordan Anderson in the opening quarter, while spreading passes among eight First Coast receivers.
He's also turned up the accuracy — he threw three interceptions last week against Westside, but steered clear of giveaways this week.
"I kind of figured by the way we practiced, that tonight we were going to come out with a big victory," Tisdale said.
Tisdale also delivered the game's highlight before halftime. With only enough time for one pass to the end zone, Tisdale found an inexplicably open Jackson in stride and the receiver brought the ball in on the dive for a 39-yard back-breaker as the half expired.
He finished 21 of 25 for the night for 243 yards and three touchdowns, surpassing 1,000 yards for his career.
FIRST COAST DEFENSE FIERCE AGAIN
At First Coast, defense is back, improving steadily since a season-opening 27-0 loss to Bishop Kenny.
Englewood (3-2, 0-1) only once gained more than 11 yards, when quarterback Sean Wilks passed to a wide-open Tayshaun Solomon on a first-quarter wheel route and the running back took the ball 71 yards for a touchdown. Solomon also rushed for 62 yards to lead the Rams.
Otherwise? All Bucs.
Samuel Olunuga, Geah Kai and the First Coast pass rush recorded seven sacks on Wilks. Zion Mitchell picked off a Rams pass after halftime. The Bucs also tallied a defensive touchdown when two pass rushers converged on Wilks to jar the football loose, and Darrod Smith scooped it up to carry 54 yards back to the end zone.
"They're starting to understand assignment football," Lee said. "Before, they were trying to do everybody else's job, and to be a disciplined program, you have to do your job."
FIRST COAST GROUND GAME ROLLS
This was no pass-game-or-bust offense.
Particularly after halftime, when Englewood shook up its scheme to guard against Tisdale and the air attack, First Coast's Harris made them pay.
The running back stampeded for 171 yards, three-quarters of them after halftime, taking big bite after big bite: 13 yards, then 19, then 41, finishing with seven double-digit gains after halftime. He punctuated his night with a late 12-yard score.
Now winners of four consecutive games for the first time since the 2014 district champion squad that rolled through the regular season unbeaten with record-breaking quarterback De'Andre Johnson, First Coast is already preparing to circle two major games on its calendar: Week 8 against Parker and Week 10 at Fletcher.
Win those two, and they're looking at a first district championship for eight years, a long-awaited playoff return and — at long last — a full-scale football revival at the Shipyard.
"We have a history of running this city," wide receiver Jackson said. "So we're just trying to own up to that tradition."
Clayton Freeman covers high school sports and more for the Florida Times-Union. Follow him on Twitter at @CFreemanJAX.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: High school football: Monday night takeaways from First Coast-Englewood in Jacksonville