Last season, Miami High kicker Virgilio Velasquez found himself in a similar situation against the same opponent.
He had the chance to make a tying field goal against district rival Coral Gables, but his kick bounced off the upright post and missed.
This time, in swirling wind Monday night at Curtis Park, he not only tied the score at 10 with a 24-yard field goal with 1:17 remaining in regulation, but also he booted the Stingarees to a 13-10 victory in overtime with a 25-yarder after which frantic teammates mobbed him on the field.
“It was amazing. There are no words that can explain it. Everything just flashed back,” Velasquez said. “It’s been a year since. I still have that memory today. I just wanted big things to happen, and I came through, God came through, and we got a victory for the team.”
With the win, Miami High (3-5, 2-1) now controls its destiny to earn the second playoff spot in District 14-8A. If the Stingarees defeat South Miami on Friday, they are district runner-up and clinch a playoff berth.
Coral Gables (2-6, 1-2) began with the ball in overtime, but on second-and-goal at the 5-yard line, quarterback Dijon Smith found a crease through the middle, hit it, dove for the end zone, but fumbled at the 1-yard line. Miami High recovered in the end zone.
The fourth-quarter field goal to tie the score was set up by a Statue of Liberty play Miami High coach Frank Welsh drew up on a third-and-6.
Quarterback Kelvin Reyes dropped back as if he were to throw, two Cavaliers came rushing in, and suddenly the ball was in Teron Hopkins’ hands and he was cruising up the field. The 44-yard gain — plus a facemask penalty at the end of the play — put the Stingarees inside Gables’ 20-yard line.
“Anyone who goes up against us knows we’re going to run Statue,” Welsh said. “For this game here, we had to win. … We came out in everything possible because we told the guys whatever it’s going to take to win, I’m going to put you guys in that position tonight.”
The Stingarees’ lone touchdown was scored in quite unusual fashion. In the third quarter, wide receiver Keyshawn Young, who also led the team with five catches for 39 yards, picked up a teammate’s fumble and took it 74 yards for the score.
Miami High won Monday despite surrendering more than 300 rushing yards to Coral Gables. The Stingarees were aided, however, by 15 Cavalier penalties for 138 yards — two of which wiped out Gables touchdowns.
Coral Gables came into the game looking to clinch the district runner-up playoff spot behind Columbus. Now the Cavaliers need to beat Coral Park and have South Miami defeat Miami High next weekend to force a three-way tie.
The Southwest boys’ bowling team is headed to the state tournament. The Eagles won the District 16 team title over South Dade at Bird Bowl on Monday. The win marks the first time the Eagles advanced to the state final.
“We went undefeated and finished first in the district,” junior Alec Sanchez said. “It sends a message.”
Facing elimination, the Eagles rallied to make the finals of the best-of-3 Baker format tournament. Southwest made quick work of South Dade, winning two matches to secure the title.
“It means a lot to us, especially being one of the teams that could’ve gotten knocked out,” senior Sean Ottiway said. “The experience has been wonderful. I love these guys.”