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.