Coral Reef’s football team knows it still has time to turn things around in what has been a difficult season so far.
The Barracudas weren’t at full strength Friday afternoon, but took a positive step by beating Varela 23-12 at Southridge Park.
Nicodem Pierre finished with 145 combined rushing and passing yards, ran for a touchdown and threw for another to lead the Barracudas (3-3) to the non-district victory over the Vipers (2-3).
Coral Reef, which is vying to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season, played without six players that were prohibited from playing after a student at the school died in a local hospital Friday due to a case of bacterial meningitis.
According to Coral Reef coach Chevas Clements, the six players had classes with the student and were thus required by the county to be isolated from the game until they received medical clearance.
“The school was on lockdown for a couple of hours so we didn’t exactly know if or when we’d be able to play this game today,” Clements said. “It affected the kids because they didn’t know how their teammates were doing and some of them had to go get checked out and make sure they were alright.”
Pierre got the Barracudas started with a 35-yard touchdown scamper early.
After taking a 17-6 lead early in the second half on a 6-yard touchdown run by Josh Young, Varela answered quickly.
Storm Smith escaped a scrum near the line of scrimmage and raced 80 yards for a touchdown. A missed extra point kept the score 17-12.
But the Vipers weren’t able to get any closer as Coral Reef’s defense stood its ground on the next three Varela possessions, forcing a fumble and two losses on downs. Pierre put the game away with a 27-yard touchdown connection to Bryan Bradshaw.
Coral Reef is 0-1 in District 16-8A with a loss to frontrunner South Dade. It can still make a playoff run if it fares well against Killian, Palmetto and Southridge — its opponents over the next three weeks.
“Our minds were a little lost today, but we still came through and got the win,” Pierre said. “In times of adversity, it shows who we really are.”
• Southridge 31, Norland 0: The Spartans made stop after stop in the second half and Jamal Adajamah rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown as Southridge (3-4, 2-3) beat blanked the Vikings (5-2, 3-2) at North Miami Stadium.
Southridge rebounded after enduring one of the most difficult schedules in the state during the first half of the season, but a dominant performance — including two interceptions, one returned for a score, and three defensive stands on fourth down — could portend better days to come.
“We always knew that with the firepower we have it was just a matter of time,” said Southridge coach Lamont Green. “I would say with the gauntlet we’ve been through we are battle tested.”
Adajamah began slow but got things going near the end of the second half when his 55-yard run with less than two minutes to play put Spartan quarterback Troy Cook in a position to find Gilbert Johnson for a 25-yard score, taking a 10-0 lead into halftime. Adajamah would again leave Vikings in his wake when he scored on a 62-yard run in the third quarter.
Starting the second half, the Vikings seemed to have found an antidote with their running game, driving 83 yards and tallying six first downs before a fourth down sack by Tony Stewart against quarterback Taron James gave the ball back to Southridge.
“It was just the fact that they were going no huddle and we didn’t have the time to adjust, but after our timeout we got it together,” Green said.
• Westminster Christian 42, Doral Academy 7: Tim Irvin and Jordan Cronkite combined for more than 200 yards on the ground to lead the Warriors past the Firebirds (2-5) 42-7 at Doral.
Irvin finished with 138 yards rushing, and Cronkite had 113 yards.
Doral quarterback Clarence Brown scored the team’s only score with a 1-yard run, which he set up with a 72-yard run on the same drive.
• Delray American Heritage 41, Gulliver 7: Quarterback Marcus Davis threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more to lead the Stallions (6-0) past the Raiders (2-4).
Greg Bryant, a five-star running back prospect according to Rivals, rushed 17 times for 134 yards.
Gulliver scored on its initial drive, which was capped by a Bo Ellis 13-yard scamper, but that was all for the Raiders.
• Pace 18, Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast 0: A second consecutive week of traveling upstate turned out to be a lot more successful for the Spartans as they blanked Treasure Coast at South County Stadium in Port St. Lucie. Pace suffered a lopsided loss at Ocala Trinity Catholic a week ago.
The Spartans (3-3) did all of their offensive damage in the first half, building an 18-0 lead and then turned it over to a stingy defense in the second half as Anthony Walker Jr. and Bobby Jones each picked off passes and the Spartans sacked quarterback Devin Ferguson three times.
• American 21, Key West 14: The Patriots (4-2) rallied past Key West at Milander Stadium in front of nearly 400 fans.
The Patriots were led on the ground by running back Isaiah Williams, who led all rushers with 98 yards and scored a touchdown. Quarterback Ed Crouch was also efficient as he threw for 93 yards and a touchdown to Jawill Davis. Arkeem Grainger also ran 34 yards.
Key West (4-3) was led by running back Deonte Stemage, who had 86 yards and a touchdown.
• LaSalle 18, Coral Shores 0: LaSalle (4-2) walked into their homecoming game with a must win attitude, and it prevailed. The Royal Lions won easily pitching a shutout against the Hurricanes (4-2) on their home field.
With the win LaSalle continues its flawless undefeated southern district play, and locks up a No. 1 for the playoffs.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau
• Homestead 42, Palmetto 0: Powered by several big plays — including three fumble recoveries and three touchdown passes by Maurice Alexander — Homestead (5-2) defeated Palmetto (3-3) in a non-district game at Harris Field.
The game, which was 28-0 at halftime, went to a running clock in the fourth quarter. The Broncos scored their final touchdown on a 95-yard interception return by Edward Berry with 1:36 left.
The Broncos will now have some momentum as they play a pair of district games on consecutive weeks, first Carol City and then Northwestern.
• American Heritage 44, Champagnat 14: The Patriots (5-1) routed the Lions (1-5) to win their homecoming game.
Quarterback Tyler Cogswell threw for 113 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. The Patriots scored at will in the first half, putting up thirty points to the Lions’ zero.
The game took a grim turn near the end of the second quarter when Champagnat’s Jason Williams needed to be taken off the field with a neck injury. Shortly after Williams was taking in an ambulance, he regained feeling in his extremities and should be OK, said Champagnat coach Mike Tunsil.
DeDarius Bridges led the Lions with 100 yards rushing on 22 carries and one touchdown.
• Westminster Academy 23, Ransom Everglades 12: The Lions (2-5) ruined the Raiders homecoming.
Both teams had trouble holding on to the football as they combined for eight turnovers. Ransom also had trouble on punt protection leading to two Westminster touchdowns off blocked punts.