Perhaps the words didn’t come out precisely, but you never got the sense there was any disrespect meant toward Duke Johnson, who did so much for Norland before becoming a star freshman running back this year for the University of Miami.
Still, after Norland had routed previously unbeaten Hialeah 42-7 on Friday night at Milander Stadium, one Vikings assistant coach was overcome by exuberance.
“We don’t need Duke,” he said excitedly. “We don’t need Duke.”
To be sure, there is little question Johnson would help Norland — or any team at this level — but the larger point is that the Vikings (4-1) are doing just fine in the post-Duke era.
After Hialeah (3-1) took a 7-0 lead on its first drive, the Vikings scored on their initial possession, capping a 40-yard drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Taron James.
The momentum really swung in Norland’s favor in the second quarter, when Arsenio Frederic recovered a fumbled punt return on the Hialeah 11. Two plays later, Zaquon Tyson caught a 10-yard fade from James to give Norland a 14-7 lead.
A few moments later in that same left corner of the end zone, Tyson caught a 20-yard deflected pass for his second touchdown of the night.
“We’ve been working on that play in practice,” James said of the fade route. “I really appreciate the catches [James] is making.”
Tyson wasn’t the only Vikings player making touchdown catches. Kendrick Edwards took two receptions to the end zone.
James, who totaled three touchdown passes, connected with Edwards on one of them. The other came on a fourth-down trick play in which James tossed a lateral to Khalil Murat, who tossed 35 yards for the score.
Hialeah coach Marc Berman was without three of his starters due to injury: offensive lineman Randy Dona and receivers / defensive backs Joseph Togy and David Francis.
The T-Breds came out hot, connecting on a 47-yard strike from Alin Edouard to George Williams on their first play from scrimmage. That set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Cesar Meneses on the next play.
• Ferguson 35, Goleman 34: Ferguson outlasted Goleman, which was down seven points with 30 seconds left in the clock.
Goleman senior running back Jeremiah Oyetunji punched it in the waning seconds of the game. But the Gators were unsuccessful in their 2-point conversion.
The Ferguson offensive leader was running back Isaiah Braddy, who had 113 yards and two touchdowns.
• Homestead 23, Varela 6: After a slow start, the Broncos (4-1, 1-0) scored a pair of second quarter touchdowns to pull away from the Vipers (2-2, 1-0) at Harris Field.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Homestead put together a drive that was capped off by a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Maurice Alexander.
The Broncos scored on its next touchdown when receiver Ermon Lane turned up field for a 47-yard punt return.
Running back Johnnie Hankins scored on an 18-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put Homestead up 20-0. Hankins led all rushers with 65 yards on 12 carries.
• Krop 43, Miami Springs 17: Quarterback Keon Roman was a force against the Golden Hawks as they were unable to stop him as he led Krop (3-2) to the win FIU North.
Roman threw for 207yards and four touchdowns. He connected on two occasions with Ryan Mayes — including a 47-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the first half.