Hialeah’s football team began the season with hopes of winning its district and making a deep playoff run.
A loss Friday afternoon could have brought it all to an abrupt end.
Hialeah quarterback Alin Edouard and his backfield mates refused to let that happen.
Edouard didn’t pass for much, but led a Hialeah ground attack that amassed 383 yards rushing to rout North Miami Beach 43-20 and pick up a crucial district win at Ted Hendricks Stadium.
Edouard ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries to lead the Thoroughbreds (4-3, 1-1 District 13-8A), who snapped a three-game losing streak. The victory keeps Hialeah in contention with North Miami (3-3, 1-0), NMB (3-4, 1-1) and Krop (3-4, 0-1) in a district that is still very much up for grabs.
“Our kids knew it was do or die,” Hialeah coach Marc Berman said. “We played a good game against Lakeland last week, but we let it get away. Today, we knew our backs were against the wall, and we came out swinging.”
Sophomore running back Raymond Bell finished with 83 yards on seven carries, but scored a pair of 33-yard touchdowns as part of a 34-point second half for Hialeah. Junior running back Henry Bussey finished with 107 yards on 16 carries.
Edouard helped Hialeah score 28 unanswered points after falling behind 6-2 early on.
His 1-yard quarterback sneak put Hialeah ahead 9-6 in the second quarter.
The big play came on the first series of the third quarter when he ran a draw play and coasted 71 yards to the end zone.
“Edouard is going to be one of the great ones,” Berman said. “This is only his seventh game starting, but he’s getting better and better at what we do.”
Leading 23-6, Hialeah’s defense made another big play when Niko Gonzalez intercepted a Cedric Wiggins pass and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown.
Wiggins’ connections with wide receiver Steven Ishmael were the few bright spots for the Chargers.
The duo hooked up for three touchdown passes as Ishmael finished with eight catches for 173 yards.
But Wiggins was limited to 14 of 36 completions as Hialeah’s defense limited the damage with constant pressure and tight coverage.
“We had two good weeks of practice since the loss to North Miami when we had eight starters out for different reasons,” Berman said. “That hurt us, but no excuses. We lost that game. We got this one. We need to win when we face Krop in two weeks.”
• Varela 23, Sunset 3: Zach Deerr rushed for 63 yards and two touchdowns while making two critical special teams plays to lead Varela (3-3, 2-0) past Sunset (1-7, 0-3) at Tropical Park.
A botched long snap by the Knights in the second quarter left punter Andy Valdes-Recio directly in Deerr’s pursuit path. Deerr tackled the punter, forced a fumble, recovered it and returned it just inside the Knights’ 20-yard line. Deerr scored on a 6-yard run three plays later.
On the ensuing kickoff, Sunset return man Juwell Laguerre broke into the open field and had no coverage between him and the end zone, but it was Deerr who caught him from behind. The Knights would go on to kick a field goal.
“The kid is phenomenal,” said Vipers coach Jason Malkin. “He’s one of the strongest kids on our team, pound for pound.”
In all, 12 players carried the ball for Varela, which is with Southwest atop the District 15-8A standings. In the second half, Varela’s platoon of running backs wore down the Sunset defense.
“It was part of our game plan going in, it’s the kind of offense we want,” said Malkin, whose Vipers feature 11 new players on offense from last years.
• Key West 35 Hialeah-Miami Lakes 18: Visiting Hialeah-Miami Lakes was able to contain the player it most feared — Key West fullback Elliott Valdez — but the Trojans couldn’t stop outside threat Deonte Stemage.
The Trojans held Valdez to 30 yards on 15 carries, but Stemage had touchdown runs of 37, 12 and 76 yards to lead the Conchs, who improved to 5-3.
Hialeah-Miami Lakes, whom coach Keenan Lawhorne said needed a victory “desperately,” fell to 0-7, though the Trojans’ 18 points was their highest output of the season.
Trojans quarterback Travis McKinney threw for more than 200 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown pass to Kama Barnes less than two minutes into the first quarter.
Key West quarterback Juwan Barnes — starting for injured Donald Roberts, who sustained a concussion in the previous game — didn’t complete a pass, but he ran for 80 yards.
• Chaminade 42, Champagnat 8: Chaminade improved to 6-1 after defeating Champagnat, which dropped to 1-6, at Vince Zappone Field.
Following a promising drive by Champagnat, which was halted on fourth down at the Chaminade 27-yard line, quarterback Sean White launched a 73-yard touchdown to Alex Thomas on the first offensive touch Chaminade had.
White finished 17 of 22 for 288 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a score.
Champagnat running back Dedarius Bridges rushed for 124 yards on 21 carries. He scored Champaganat’s only score.
• Dade Christian 48, South Florida HEAT 0: The Crusaders (8-0, 4-0) remained undefeated by routing South Florida HEAT (2-6, 0-2) behind five touchdowns from the running back tandem of Andrew Florvil and Kenny Lewis.
Florvil had 43 rushing yards and 30 yards receiving and two touchdowns, and Lewis used six carries to accumulate 123 yards and three rushing scores.
• American 7, Miami Springs 0: After three quarters of scoreless play, the Patriots (5-2, 3-2) were able to score the only score of the game and not look back at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah in front of around 400 fans.
American Quarterback Ed Crouch would break the deadlock with 9:39 left in the game when he scored on a 6-yard run. Crouch would also throw for 44 yards. Isaiah Williams led the Patriot attack with 99 yards, leading all rushers.
• Ransom 49, Miami Country Day 27: The Raiders (3-5) were carried to victory by Alex Tafur, who rushed for 249 yards and three touchdowns, as Ramson beat the Spartans (2-6).
Quarterback Eduardo Garcia Montez threw for 170 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for a score.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau
• South Dade 24, Palmetto 6: South Dade’s three touchdowns came courtesy of a short field provided by the Buccaneers’ special teams. There was a fumbled opening kickoff, a failed squib kick to start the second half and a blocked punt later in the third quarter.
The Bucs’ offense took advantage of those gifts and helped deliver the victory at Harris Field.
Twice South Dade took possession inside Palmetto’s 10-yard line, and, on the other opportunity, the Bucs got the ball at midfield.
With the win, South Dade (7-1, 3-0) remains in first place in District 16-8A. Palmetto (3-4, 0-2) has lost four games in a row.
• Pope John Paul II 39, Florida Christian 14: With a combination of an explosive offensive and a stout defense, visiting Pope John Paul II routed Florida Christian.
Florida Christian running back Julian Seekins had 10 carries for 167 yards in the loss. Quarterback J.J. Burmeister completed two touchdown passes to receiver Michael Erwin.
Boyd Anderson 30 Monarch 6: Boyd Anderson simply had too many bodies and too much fire power for Monarch as the Cobras trounced the Knights at Boyd Anderson’s homecoming game.
Leading only 10-6 going into the fourth quarter, the Cobras wore Monarch down scoring 20 unanswered to make a close game look like a blowout.
• Deerfield Beach 36, Piper 7: In a physical game between district rivals, Deerfield Beach (3-3, 2-1) got important contributions on defense and special teams as they defeated host Piper (3-4, 1-2) in Sunrise.
“We came out real sluggish,” Deerfield Beach coach Allen Jackson said. “We had a good talking to them. They came out and took care of the game in the second half.”
• Taravella 30 Douglas 17: Taravella (5-2 2-1) traveled to Douglas (1-6 0-3) and defeated the Eagles in a District 11-8A game. Taravella remains in the hunt for a playoff berth.
Kamaal J. DeSouza