Carol City’s win against Northwestern last week was crucial, but nonetheless took a physical toll.
Less than a week later, the Chiefs limped into North Miami Stadium with seven key starters injured against upset-minded rival North Miami Beach.
But senior running back Diquan Johnson refused to let Carol City slip up Thursday night.
Johnson ran for 171 yards on 19 carries, scored four touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions as the Chiefs overcame a slow start for a 34-13 win against the Chargers.
“Johnson is doing well, but the team as a whole is doing well,” Carol City coach Harold Barnwell said. “Johnson was behind a couple of other kids last year, so now we are seeing what he can do.”
Carol City (4-1) played without key offensive players such as wide receiver William French and running back Trayon Gray, and fell behind 7-6 in the second quarter after North Miami Beach (2-2) recorded its first of two blocked punts.
Chargers linebacker Wadel Louis picked up the first and ran it 38 yards for a touchdown. But NMB failed to capitalize three times inside the 20-yard line early, which cost it eventually.
Carol City scored 16 points late in the first half as Johnson scored the go-ahead touchdown and two-pointer, and later Laroy James ran in a 3-yard touchdown followed by another Johnson two-pointer to give the Chiefs a 22-7 edge at the half.
“Last week was a big win, but we knew we had to put that behind us,” Barnwell said. “A lot of our kids stepped up for us Thursday night] with some of our top kids missing.”
Johnson had his second four-touchdown game of the season, having accomplished the feat three weeks ago in a 50-28 win against Krop.
Johnson leads the county in points scored (60) and is tied with Northwestern running back Darius Tice for the Miami-Dade County lead in touchdowns (nine) entering Friday’s games.
“I just wanted to get in the end zone every time,” Johnson said. “We knew we had to keep working hard tonight and knew we couldn’t take anyone lightly.”
• LaSalle 33, Ransom 0: Quarterback Joey McCain threw for 89 yards and scored two touchdowns — one on rushing and one passing — to lead LaSalle past district rival and host Ransom Everglades to record its fourth win of the season and fifth “Battle of the Bay” title.
“The ‘Battle of the Bay’ has always been a great tradition,” LaSalle coach Willie Trimmer said. “We are a running football team. We need to pass the ball a little better. To get another win next week against Benjamin we cannot make mistakes.”
Royal Lions running back Lemmerick Hooker ran for 62 yards and had one touchdown. Teammate Montrel Thomas ran for 80 of LaSalle’s 262 rushing yards.
• Braddock 35, Coral Park 20: Braddock amassed 303 yards of total offense at Tropical Park en route to its first-win of the season.
The Bulldogs never trailed against Coral Park, jumping out to a 28-0 halftime lead.
Early in the first quarter, Braddock senior running back George Knowles broke a 54-yard run for the Bulldogs’ first score.
Offensive inconsistencies doomed Coral Park from the start of the game. Braddock capitalized on three consecutive Rams fumbles, scoring three times. On their second drive of the game, the Bulldogs were preparing to punt when a bad snap gave Braddock the ball deep in Coral Park territory.
Knowles scored on a 15-yard run up the middle on the next play.
“It felt good getting the rhythm together on offense,” Knowles said. “The O-line blocked excellent [Thursday].”
With a second left in the game, Braddock called timeout to allow Davonte Pollard to play. Pollard, who is blind, entered the game to loud cheers from his teammates. The junior has been with the team since before the season started and had been waiting for an opportunity to take part in a Braddock victory.
Senior running back Triqon Bethel had 104 yards rushing on 23 carries for Coral Park (1-4).
• Reagan 21, Mater Academy 6: After watching Mater Academy dominate most of the first half, Ronald Reagan, after an 83-yard kickoff return late in the first half turned the momentum in its favor, rolled to the victory at Milander Stadium in a battle of independents.
The Lions (3-2) controlled most of the first half but had to settle for a pair of Gustavo Ramon field goals and led 6-0 three minutes before halftime. That’s when the game and momentum turned. Esteban Amorosi, following Ramon’s second field goal, returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards to the Mater 10 and, four plays later on fourth-and-goal from the 3, Julio Benevides bulled up the middle for the touchdown 50 seconds before halftime to put Reagan (4-1) up from good.
But the Bison weren’t done. On the next Mater offensive snap, defensive end Michael Vidal grabbed a fumble in midair and rambled 16 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-6 at halftime.
Reagan put its best offensive drive of the night together to open the second half, going 80 yards in 15 plays and eating up nearly eight minutes of the clock when Keenan Springer went over from the 4 to put Reagan up by 15.
The Bison defense, thanks to a pair of interceptions by CarlosYepez, took over from there, keeping the Lions on their own side of the field for the remainder of the contest.