South Plantation didn’t have the ball very often in the opening half of Friday’s key District 8-8A game against Taravella on Friday night.
But the Paladins sure created magic when they did.
The Paladins turned a mere 13 plays into 292 yards and 28 points in the opening 24 minutes en route to a 42-21 victory at Coral Springs High.
Alex Collins, Broward County’s top big-school back, broke up the middle and out-ran the entire Taravella defense for an 81-yard score on the second play of the night for the Paladins (5-0). It would be that kind of night for Taravella, which falls to 3-2.
The Paladins would later score on plays of 15, 58 and 50 yards to close out the half and open up what was thought to be an even matchup.
And, just for fun, Collins started the second half with an 80-yard sprint that made it 35-7.
“My first thought was to hit the hole hard, hit them in the mouth early,” said Collins, who rushed for 184 but was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct in the second quarter and held out for the rest of the half.
“That’s what I did. My offensive line made some great blocks and they didn’t have any safeties back. I saw open field. We came in with the thought we would jump out so they couldn’t come back.”
Taravella, which took a big lead on the Paladins before holding on last season, were missing a number of key players due to injury and school suspension and just couldn’t keep up.
The Trojans fell down 21-0 as South Plantation ran off a cool nine plays. Taravella scored its lone touchdown of the half on its fourth possession of the night when Kevin Humphries rumbled 30 yards up the gut.
South Plantation quarterback John Franklin had a terrific night as well, tossing touchdown passes to Howard Davis (15 yards) and Hordley Seide (50). Franklin then ran it in on an 82-yard sprint up the left sideline in the third to make it 42-7. Humphries followed by returning the ensuing kickoff 99 yards.
The Trojans then picked up their third touchdown of the night when Anthony Pallozzi picked off Erin DiMeglio and returned it 30 yards for the score. DiMeglio, a senior, is thought to be the first female to play quarterback in a varsity game in Florida history. She completed her first pass last week against Piper.
• Blanche Ely 20 Monarch 14: Don’t look now, but District 14-7A is not just a three-team race between Ely, Boyd Anderson and Northeast. Monarch decided to join the fray this season behind a 3-0 start heading into a huge district contest with the Tigers at Ely.
The Tigers (4-1, 2-0) though took advantage of a long drive to start the game and on their first possession of the second half and recovered an onside kick with 26 seconds to play en route to the win against the Knights (3-1, 1-1).
• Nova 29, South Broward 28: With just three seconds remaining, and the Bulldogs down a point, senior kicker Rolando Montedoca missed a 21-yard field goal, and the Titans held on in front of about 200 fans at South Broward High.
The Titans were able to overcome 17 penalties for 102 yards, including 14 false starts.
Bulldogs senior quarterback Qushawn Thomas and receiver Andre Higgs did most of the damage for South Broward. Thomas scored twice on two rushing touchdowns and Higgs hauled in two touchdown passes to keep them in the game.
• Flanagan 29, Everglades 7: The Falcons earned their first district win.
Flanagan got on the board first with a 26-yard field goal by Giancarlo Bonilla. The go-ahead score for the Falcons would come moments later when Ryan Stanley hooked up with Dylan Malson on a 55-yard touchdown strike.
The Eagles (3-2, 1-1) controlled the clock the rest of the way, building a comfortable 23-7 lead over Everglades (3-2, 1-1).
• Cardinal Gibbons 49, Fort Lauderdale 25: Quarterback Peyton Bender and Ryan Giaratano combined to throw four touchdowns (two each), leading the visiting Chiefs to 408 yardage in total offense, including 25 first downs in a nondistrict game at Northeast.
Gibbons (5-0) had built a 35-13 halftime lead with Bender threw both of his touchdown passes to George Rushings. Michael Ferguson, who led all rushers with 96 yards on 15 carries, scored on a 9-yard run to help erase a 6-0 Fort Lauderdale (2-2) lead.
• Boyd Anderson 56 Coral Glades 20: In the second half, Boyd Anderson scored 43 unanswered points.
The Cobras were led by quarterback Gregory Hankerson who threw 270 yards and four touchdowns.
Kamaal J. DeSouza
• Pine Crest 24, Pope John Paul II 14: With 2:10 remaining, Pine Crest quarterback Zach Smith connected with Kalvin Clein on a 60-yard touchdown to seal the win.
Smith finished 4 of 13 passing for 134 yards. Clein had two catches for 71 yards and the scoring strike.
• Key West 45, Keys Gate Christian 0: Key West’s triple-option offense has produced long touchdown runs all season — and it happened again.
The Conchs got two scoring runs from Elliott Valdez (34 and 17 yards) and one each from Donald Roberts (62), Norman Lopez (48) and Dorian Cannon (20). Jeffery Anilus also scored from a yard out and Laurence Marius returned a fumble for 34 yards for a touchdown.
Key West (4-1) forced Keys Gate Christian (2-2-1) into six turnovers.