Northwestern fans may have looked at Saturday night’s game against Belen Jesuit as payback.
The Bulls enjoyed it, but realized it was another must-have victory if they are to be a playoff team this season.
Artie Burns got things started by returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown and Darius Tice ran for two more scores as Northwestern routed Belen 36-3 at Traz Powell Stadium.
The Bulls (6-1, 1-1 District 16-6A) notched their first district win of the season and eliminated Belen (2-5, 0-3) from contention. Last season, the Wolverines broke Northwestern’s string of 20 consecutive seasons making the postseason.
Northwestern takes on longtime rival Central on Friday at Sun Life Stadium needing either a win or a Carol City loss to Homestead the night before to stay alive for the playoffs.
“We were excited tonight, and well prepared,” Northwestern coach Stephen Field said. “The Carol City loss hurt us a lot, but we’ve stuck together and this team has a family atmosphere right now and we came in knowing its one game at a time.”
Burns, a University of Miami commitment, took the short opening kick on the run, found an opening and ran 76 yards to the end zone. He later tracked a pass that he ripped away from a Belen receiver just as the ball arrived for an interception.
Tice, who has come up with two go-ahead scores in recent victories against Southridge and Columbus, delivered the game-breaker early in the second quarter.
Tice found an opening and sprinted 66 yards to the end zone to start a run of 30 unanswered points for the Bulls. Tice finished with 103 yards on eight carries.
“We’ve been focused and working hard every game to make sure we take it a game at a time,” Tice said.
ANDRE C FERNANDEZ
• South Miami 21, Southwest 14 (OT): Leo Lorenzo connected with Charlie Simmons for a 12-yard touchdown pass in overtime to give the Cobras (4-3) a victory over the Eagles (6-1) Saturday night at Tropical Park.
On Southwest’s overtime possession, D’Undre Pickett-White’s Hail Mary pass from the 30-yard line on fourth down was incomplete.
Lorenzo led South Miami with 108 yards on 15 carries while Charlie Simmons had 89 yards on 14 carries, Each had a rushing touchdown.
• Krop 30, North Miami 16: With its playoff hopes riding on the line, the Lightning (4-4) came through with a huge win on Saturday night thanks to some late-game heroics from quarterback Keon Roman and wide receiver Ryan Mayes.
With the scored tied at 16, Roman hit a streaking Mayes for an 80-yard touchdown pass to give Krop the lead in the District 13-8A game at North Miami Stadium.
“When you have one of the top quarterbacks in the county in Keon Roman, you don’t hesitate when it comes to trying to make a big play, and we knew what he was capable of doing,” Krop coach David Hudson said.
On defense, Mayes also caused a fumble that was returned 55 yards for a touchdown by Johvon Guillot with 55 seconds left in the game.
• Columbus 41, Coral Gables 0: Daryl Chestnut scored on a 71-yard run on Columbus’ first play from scrimmage — the first of two scores for the senior tailback — and the Explorers (5-3, 3-0 District 14-8A) didn’t allow a single first down, winning in dominant fashion against Coral Gables (2-5, 1-1) at Curtis Park.
The win extends coach Chris Merritt’s 11-year streak of never having lost consecutive games. Last week, Columbus lost 10-7 in a non-district game to Northwestern.
Columbus rushed for nearly 300 yards as a team, and quarterback Tucker Beirne threw for 160 yards.
• Barrington Christian 18, Mater Academy 16: A 95-yard kickoff return by junior Kamala Butler late in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons (1-6, 0-1) their first win of the season Saturday night at Harris Field.
Down 12-10 with 2:14 to play, Mater scored on a 9-yard touchdown run by running back Steve Riobueno. At the Falcons’ 45-yard-line Butler hurdled a defender before weaving past Lions (4-3) defenders to the end zone.
• Gulliver 48, Keys Gate 0: Gulliver (3-4, 2-0) broke the game open early, jumping out to a 31-0 lead in the first quarter and cruising the rest of the way to down visiting Keys Gate (3-4) for a homecoming win.
Running back Bo Ellis carried the ball six times with 78 rushing yards and a 37-yard touchdown.
On top of running for a touchdown, freshman Errol Jackson had a scoop-and-score defensively on a backward pass by Keys Gate.
• LaSalle 28, Archbishop Curley 6: LaSalle completed its perfect run through the south division of the Southeastern Independent Conference on Saturday.
LaSalle finished its regular season 6-2 and 6-0 in the division and as the No. 1 seed, will host north division No. 4 seed Ft. Pierce John Carroll next Thursday night, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. in a quarterfinal matchup.
SOUTHEASTERN INDEPENDENT PLAYOFFS
Thursday, Oct. 25 (all games 7 p.m.)
No. 4 south Miami Country Day at No. 1 north Boca Raton Pope John Paul
No. 3 south Tavernier Coral Shores at No. 2 north North Palm Beach Benjamin
No. 4 north Ft. Pierce John Carroll at No. 1 south La Salle
No. 3 north Ft. Lauderdale Pine Crest at No. 2 south Florida Christian
Thursday, Oct 25
Ft. Lauderdale Westminster Academy at Archbishop Curley (4 p.m.)
Marathon at Coral Springs Charter (7 p.m.)
Boca Raton St. Andrews at Ransom-Everglades (7 pm.)
Palmer Trinity d. Cardinal Gibbons 13-25, 12-25, 25-21, 20-25: Kara Schwantes 7 digs, assist, 4 sp, 3 aces. Sarah Martin 32 assists, 9 digs, 3 kills, block, 8 sp. Ali Jacobs 13 kills, 5 digs, block, 2 assists, 4 service points, ace.
• Late Friday scores: Deerfield Beach Zion Lutheran 32, Palmer Trinity 12; Naples First Baptist 45, Solid Rock Christian 0.