Stuck toward the bottom of the district with a 1-5 record earlier this season, Hollywood Hills coach Al Lang described his team’s play with a quote.
“Adversity brings the best out of you,” he said.
After breezing past Pines Charter 42-7 on Thursday night at Flanagan High School, Hollywood Hills now rides a three-game winning streak .
“We’ve had some unexpected things happen with members of our team, and I basically challenged the team that [in] years we’ve had adversity, it brings out the best,” Lang said. “I think what has happened is it’s rallied this group together and we’ve played well because of adversity. I think that was the defining moment for us.”
With the victory, the Spartans (4-5, 3-1) guarantee at least a tiebreaker for the District 15-6A title with Archbishop McCarthy (6-2, 3-1) and Fort Lauderdale (4-4, 2-1), which beat Hills 14-6 in the third week of the season.
Fort Lauderdale plays district opponent Stranahan (2-7, 1-2) on Friday. McCarthy closed out its district schedule with a victory against Fort Lauderdale on Monday. If the Flying L’s lose to Stranahan, the Spartans win District 15-6A, reaching the postseason for the first time since 2010, and McCarthy gets runner-up.
In the case of a tiebreaker, the second (Fort Lauderdale) and third (Hollywood Hills) seeds would play a quarter to decide who faces McCarthy for a quarter to capture the district.
Celebrating homecoming weekend, Pines Charter (1-8, 0-4) went 67 yards on 10 plays on its opening possession, scoring on junior John Jablonka’s quarterback sneak from 1 yard. Senior Jiovanni Aponte rushed for 93 yards on 20 carries in the first half and finished with 147 yards on 34 for the game.
After recovering a short kick, the Jaguars once again drove against the Hollywood Hills defense, but couldn’t convert on fourth-and-3 from the opponent’s 13. The Spartans didn’t execute their first offensive play until 2:38 remaining in the first quarter.
From there, they scored on all three first-half drives to lead 21-7. They outscored Pines Charter 21-0 in the second half, never punting the ball and finding the end zone on each possession until their last as time expired. Senior quarterback Sean Peterson and freshman wide receiver Darnell Solomon connected six times for 162 yards and one touchdown.
“The main goal tonight [was to score every drive], and I was just trying to do my best,” said senior Aaron Spencer, who rushed for 96 yards on seven carries with two touchdowns. “We are disciplined. We are a hard-working team. We just listened to Coach.”
• University 56, Jacksonville Eagles View 0: University School scored on its first six offensive possessions as the Suns defeated visiting Jacksonville Eagle’s View Academy.
Quarterback Michael White connected with wide receiver Jordan Cunningham for touchdown passes of 28 and 47 yards for University School (8-0) in the first quarter. On defense, the Suns forced four turnovers in the quarter.
Linebacker Andrew Korakakos recovered a fumble on a high snap in the end zone to add to the 35-point first quarter for the Suns. The Suns went to the half with a 49-0 lead. White finished with 122 passing yards and three touchdowns. Cunningham added three catches for 79 yards and two scores. The Suns held Eagle’s View (4-5) to 20 yards of total offense.
• Coral Springs Charter 34, Marathon 6: Joe McChrystal threw for 217 yards and ran for 70, tossing three TD passes and rushing for a one in a non-district matchup at Coral Glades. He completed 12 of 16 passes with two of his TD passes going to Nick Marrill.
The defense, which had six sacks, also contributed to the scoring with two interception returns for touchdowns as the Panthers improve to 4-4. The Dolphins dropped to 1-8.
The Panthers, with 201 total yards through two quarters, had a 20-6 lead at halftime. McChrystal accounted for two scores, throwing a 10-yard TD pass to Marrill for the game’s first points. He added an 18-yard score on a scramble.
The defense accounted for the third Panther touchdown on Nick Grecco’s 34-yard interception return. Ross Kuruc had the other interception return for a score, going 80 yards during the opening series of the second half.
The Dolphins’ lone score came on Roberto Perez’ 61-yard pass to Shamar Fantroy in the first quarter.
• McArthur 39, South Broward 19: The Mustangs (4-5) defeated the Bulldogs (0-9) to win their homecoming game.
McArthur scored its first two touchdowns of the game on kickoff returns by Jerome Lindo and Torris Calloway. After Calloway’s special teams touchdown to start the second half, Damian Richardson returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown three plays later.
Terrell Bonds scored McArthur’s first offensive touchdown of the game with an eight-yard run late in the third quarter.
South Broward quarterback Eugene Sainterling threw for 278 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on 16-44 passing.
• Pine Crest 31, Florida Christian 14: The Panthers stopped all hope for a fourth-quarter Florida Christian comeback with strong defense and late scoring to secure a quarterfinal win on the road.
“They’re a real good running football team, and the big thing was to stop the run,” Pine Crest coach Jim Pletcher said. “We had a big fourth-down defensive stop, which took the momentum away from them. Offensively, we did what we needed to do and moved the ball, so it’s a good win for us.”
Panthers running back Trevor Osceola led the offense with two touchdowns on 186 rushing yards.
Florida Christian quarterback JJ Burmeister threw for 162 yards, and had a rushing and passing touchdown.