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.