Despite having three starters out including their starting quarterback and turning in a sloppy night with 11 penalties and five fumbles, Mourning overcame all of it to still easily dispose of Hialeah Gardens 27-6 on Wednesday night in a battle of independents at North Miami Stadium.
Coach Carl Cirkl “played everybody” as three different players handled the quarterback position and 10 different runners touched the ball. Mourning, which moved its record to 3-2, marking its first three-win season since starting its program four years ago, jumped out in front quickly (14-0) with a pair of first-quarter touchdowns: one a 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kevin Joseph and then a 91-yard scoring pass when Joseph found Stanley Luc.
Although Hialeah Gardens fell to 0-6 and has not won a game since 2010, the Gladiators enjoyed a big moment when they scored their first points of the season when running back Dedrick Andrews scored from 9 yards out on the final play of the first quarter to cut the Sharks’ lead to 14-6. Gardens also enjoyed a rare moment as they boasted a 100-yard runner when Andrews crossed over the century mark in the fourth quarter and finished the night with 122 yards on 20 carries.
Junior Louis fell on a loose fumble in the end zone in the second quarter for Mourning’s third touchdown and Marcus Alexander wrapped up the Sharks scoring with a 9-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter.
HIALEAH GARDENS 6
ATM – Joseph 5 run (Reese kick)
ATM – Luc 91 pass from Joseph (Reese kick)
HG – Andrews 9 run (kick failed)
ATM – Louis recovered fumble in end zone (kick failed)
ATM – Alexander 9 run (Reese kick)
Rushing (att-yds) – MOU: Brodsky 1-(-5), Louis 1-1, Weisman 1-2, Michel 2-3, Grande 3-7, Stamp 3-15, Vallejo 5-21, Stradford 3-33, Alexander 7-37, Joseph 8-38. HG: Montano 6-(-47), Pryce 5-24, Andrews 20-122.
Passing (comp-att-int, yds)– MOU: Vallejo 0-3-0, 0, Weisman 1-1-0, 1, Joseph 5-10-0, 136. Receiving (rec-yds-TD) – MOU:Joseph 1-1, Brodsky 2-19, Louis 2-26, Luc 1-91.
St. Thomas Aquinas will carry a Class 4A No. 1 girls’ cross-country ranking into the FSU Invitational Girls’ Elite Race at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee on Saturday.
Tampa Plant, the two-time defending state champion currently ranked No. 2 in the FACA/flrunners.com Class 4A poll, would like nothing more than to knock Aquinas from that perch.
That the Raiders and Panthers are squaring off for the first time since the 2011 FHSAA state finals last November has made the buildup to the pre-state meet even bigger this season.
“This will be the true test,” Aquinas coach Trish Butler said. “Tampa Plant is a 10-time state champion. No team on any level has done that. They reloaded after losing their top girl from last year. They’ve been holding back so far this season. We will see how we stack up against them.”