When West Florida senior Madison Dulay scored her third goal on Tuesday night, the whispers began to ring out.

His hat trick had taken his career point total to 94, tying the Jaguars’ all-time program record. She was part of the story.

Then moments later, a free-kick handball led to a Dulay penalty, and everyone knew what that meant. West Florida’s new all-time leading scorer wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.

The WFHS capped off a historic night with a 9-1 win over Fernandina Beach in a Region 1-4A quarterfinal match at Marlon L. Bullock Field.

The Jaguars are the second seed while the Pirates were seventh.

Players watch a redirected Jaguars corner kick go past the Pirates goaltender for a goal to seal their 9-1 win in the Fernandina Beach vs West Florida Girls Region 1-4A quarterfinal football game at West Florida Pensacola High School on Tuesday, February 8.  , 2022.

Riding on the momentum of their third district title in team history, West Florida scored in the second minute. Of course, it was Dulay who took a ball from midfield, smashed the defenders before scoring just outside the box.

The early goal troubled the visitors, who then collapsed to a 0-2 hole after an own goal error.

The Jaguars didn’t mess with their prey, making the rest of the game quick and painless. Four different girls found the back of the net as WFHS achieved their best score of the season.

Now hosting No. 3 Bishop Kenny at 7 p.m. Friday, West Florida confidence is at an all-time high. Between a district title and a new record, the Jags have a lot going for them at the right time.

“Beating South Walton (District 1-4A Finals) on their home turf gave us a lot of confidence,” Jaguars head coach Mason Clarke said. “The practices were very animated. It gave us a new boost of excitement.”

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Here are some takeaways from West Florida’s win:

Dulay finally did it

When her record-breaking 95th goal found the back of the net, Dulay’s ecstatic teammates embraced her in a group hug. They celebrated again when she was taken out of the game, at the second half break and at the final whistle.

Such a substantial reward deserves to be mentioned again and again. However, Dulay was at a loss for words.

“It’s really like I don’t even know the word,” Dulay said. “It’s amazing, it’s really amazing. I never really thought I would get this far.”

The thought of being the school’s all-time leading scorer never crossed her mind until last season, when some teammates warned her that she was within striking distance.

Marlin Zoe Looker and Jaguar Madison Dulay step forward for control of the ball as ArnoldÕs Kendal Coreil looks on.  Arnold hosted West Florida in the District 1-4A Women's Soccer Championships on Thursday, February 4, 2021.

Hearing of her closeness to the record, Dulay said she decided she “might as well try to break it”. Then, going into Tuesday’s regional quarter-final game just four goals away, she admitted it was on her mind. But still, she hadn’t planned to break it.

“Honestly, I thought I was only going to get around one or two (goals),” Dulay said.

Once she got that third goal, she was determined to shake off the pressure; get that coveted record and focus on winning from there.

“Yeah, when I tied the record, I said I was just gonna go for it because he (Clarke) hadn’t taken me out yet,” Dulay said. “So I was like, ‘OK, he obviously wants me to at least try it.'”

The rewriting of the history books in the state playoffs added another element to that legacy. It wasn’t against a starving, but an 11-6-1 Fernandina Beach team that had allowed only four goals all season.

Dulay was prepared for the time being as the Jaguars’ tough schedule presented no easy wins. Nine of their matches have come against teams with winning records.

“Obviously 95 goals in a career is really amazing, really unheard of in a four-year career and so to be able to do that is very special, and to do that in the state playoffs is another big deal,” Clarke said. “We haven’t played a lot of easy games this year…so to do it in a year where she hasn’t scored a lot of goals in weak games is really special and makes the record even more meaningful.”

Do your work early

The Jaguars wasted no time in cutting the wind from the Pirates’ sails, both early in the games and early in the second half.

It took them just two minutes to light up the scoreboard in the first half and just one minute to open the scoring after halftime. It was through perfect design and execution that they scored first, and most often.

“We went out in the first half with the intention of scoring early,” Clarke said. “Hannah Jackson, who is normally our midfielder, we put her in attacking position to play the ball to Madison and try to get one early.”

The Jaguars throw a corner kick that leads to a goal that sealed their 9-1 win in the Fernandina Beach vs West Florida Girls Region 1-4A quarterfinal football game at West Florida High School in Pensacola on Tuesday, 8 February 2022.

If it is not broke, do not fix it.

They kept the same strategy to open the second half and got the same result. Except this time it was Spirit Meeks who scored the goal.

With those quick scores, the Jaguars played ahead, allowing for more comfort and less pressure. They scored three goals in the first half and six in the second to advance to the next round.

Lucas Semb can be reached at [email protected] or 850-281-7414. Follow him on Twitter at @Lucas_Semb for stories and various Pensacola area score updates.

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