To get to 5-0 for the first time in the history of the Southwest football program, the Eagles needed a pair of fortuitous bounces.
On each play, Southwest recovered at the Braddock 27-yard line, leading to points and a 17-14 Eagles victory Thursday night at Tropical Stadium.
“We’re making history,” Southwest coach Tim Neal told his players after they improved to 2-0 in District 15-8A. “We’re doing things that have never been done before at this school.”
Braddock (1-5, 0-1) appeared ready to spring the upset early on, scoring on a 77-yard, first-quarter run by senior George Knowles. That capped a six-play, 99-yard drive.
The Bulldogs might have gone into halftime leading 7-0 had it not been for a fumble on an attempted double reverse with 1:18 left in the second quarter.
Southwest’s George Spellman, a junior linebacker, recovered, setting up a two-play touchdown drive. Quarterback D’undre Pickett-White hit Brian Paez on a 24-yard pass and then scored on a three-yard run with 43 seconds left in the half.
The Eagles’ offense, which featured only six completions on 17 attempts, stalled again until another Braddock fumble. This time, junior defensive lineman Joel Obregon recovered – again at the Braddock 27 - with 6:21 left in the game.
“I was so happy that we got the ball back,” Obregon said. “We had a hard time in the beginning. But we brought it back up in the second half.”
That recovery led to a 25-yard field goal by Piero Enchegaray, and a 10-7 lead the Eagles never relinquished.
With 2:43 left in the game, Southwest linebacker Shyenn Magdeleno intercepted a pass deep in Braddock territory, leading to Trevon Sands’ 2-yard touchdown run and a17-7 Eagles lead.
Braddock, though, stayed alive with an 82-yard kickoff return for a score by sophomore Lazaro Cespedes.
But when the Eagles recovered the on-side kick, Southwest had its 5-0 start – halfway toward a perfect regular season.
“I’m happy,” Neal said. “Each week, defensively, we come out and do what we have to do.”
Southridge 21, Palmetto 14: Senior quarterback Troy Cook threw for three touchdowns as Southridge came back to beat District 16-8A rival Palmetto, 21-14, Thursday night at Harris Field.
Cook’s 53-yard pass to senior wideout Jamal Dorvilier with 5:12 remaining helped the last-place Spartans (2-4) bounce back from a 7-0 loss to Northwestern last week. Cook found sophomore tight end Devonaire Scott on a jump ball for the two-point conversion.
Palmetto senior running back Kendtron Daye gave the Panthers (3-2) an early 7-0 lead with a 19-yard run on the third offensive play of the game that capped a 50-yard drive.
The Spartans tied the game on Cook’s first strike – an 86-yard pass down the sideline – to junior receiver Gilbert Johnson. Their second connection came with 27 seconds left in the second quarter. Senior kicker Justin Deloso’s extra-point missed wide left.
By halftime, there were already 26 combined penalties for 260 yards. Through four quarters, the two teams each received 22 infractions for a total of 395 yards.
A player from each team was ejected: Southridge junior Joshua Berry on the opening kickoff and junior offensive lineman Christopher Winkler on Cook’s scramble to the Palmetto sideline.
CHRISTINA DE NICOLA
• Norland 20, Coral Reef 19: The Norland Vikings turned a lackluster homecoming game into a nailbiting 20-19 overtime victory against the Coral Reef Barracudas in front of 400 fans Thursday night at Traz Powell.
Both the Vikings (5-1) and the Barracudas (2-3), struggled to get it going early scoring only one touchdown a piece in the first half. The Vikings were jolted by the passing of junior quarterback, Taron James-who finished with 172 passing yards on 9 of 18 completions; meanwhile the Cudas stuck to their ground game that amassed 124 yards and were led by quarterback Nicodem Pierre who totaled 54 rushing yards, including an 18 yard touchdown carry.
With seconds remaining in the fourth, the Cudas tied the game at 13, but a clutch extra point block by Norland receiver Kendrick Edwards sent the game into overtime. Coral Reef scored on the first play with a 10-yard touchdown pass to receiver Carlton Davis, but again was unsuccessful on the kick. Norland scored on a 4-yard scamper by junior running back LaKeith Stafford-his third of the night and solidified their win with an extra point kick by senior Shafique Pharisien.
“It was a hard fought win,” Norland head coach, Daryle Heidelberg, said. “But games like this build character for our team.”
“But hats off to Coach Clements for pushing us to the limit,” Heidelberg added.
• Westland Hialeah 39, Hialeah-Miami Lakes 16: Westland Hialeah enjoyed a big night on offense from running back Patrick Stephenson and a defense that, despite giving up 352 yards, played stingy when it came to turnovers with five interceptions to lead the Wildcats (3-3) to the easy victory in a matchup of independents at Milander Stadium.The struggling Trojans fell to 0-6.
Stephenson finished the night with 144 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns while safety Darius Cheever led the way defensively as he had three of the five Westland picks. Romel Guerrier and Jonathan Pedroso had the other two.
Westland's offense was also led by quarterback Matthew Sandoval who completed 13-of-19 passes for 170 yards and fired a pair of touchdown passes (26 and 23) to Tervel Parrish who was on the receiving end of most of his passes as he wound up with nine catches for 130 yards.