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The Suwannee flag football team played the first games in program history Saturday at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preseason Classic.

TAMPA — Playing on the big stage for the program’s launch, the Suwannee High flag football team split a pair of games at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preseason Classic.

The Bulldogs fell 27-6 to Jefferson High from Tampa in its first game at One Buc Place — the Bucs’ indoor and practice facility. Suwannee, though, regrouped and beat Bishop McLaughlin 18-0 in its second game.

SHS wasted little time in scoring its first touchdown. On the first play in program history, freshman Maci Campbell found senior Savannah Shannon from 19 yards out for a score that followed a defensive stop to start the game against Jefferson.

Natalie Robinson recorded an interception for Suwannee in the opener as well.

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Suwannee coach Ricky Hufty talks with the Bulldogs during the preseason classic. The Bulldogs split their two games.

“Our Dogs learned a great deal about the game of flag football in their first ever game,” coach Ricky Hufty said.

Those lessons paid off in Game 2.

Senior Kalle Herring picked off two passes and returned both for touchdowns for SHS, while junior Chloee Sanders hit senior Shelby Blackmon on an 8-yard touchdown pass.

Stephanie Duarte, a senior, also recorded two interceptions against Bishop McLaughlin, while Hufty noted strong defensive performances from Campbell and juniors Aislinn Henry and Hanna Stout as well as good pressure from rushers Maci Bowers, Maria Ramirez, Alex Duntz and Tyra Kalandyk.

“The defense was solid all game,” Hufty said.

Suwannee opens the regular season Thursday when Baker County visits Langford Stadium with the JV game starting at 5:30 p.m. and varsity to follow at 7 p.m.

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