The only blemish on Southwest’s season came on Oct. 20 in a 21-14 overtime loss to South Miami. In its final game before the postseason, the team got another shot at extra time Thursday night against Coral Gables.
Sophomore D’undre Pickett-White tossed his third touchdown of the night — a 10-yard strike to junior Robbie Jimenez — on the first play of overtime as the Eagles beat the Cavaliers 35-28 at Tropical Park.
Coral Gables (3-7) tied it at 28 with 27.7 seconds remaining in regulation on Dijon Smith’s 9-yard pass to Shaquery Wilson.
Southwest led by 21 points with 7:17 left in the third quarter on sophomore Quindale Corker’s 97-yard kickoff return.
After trailing 14-0 at the half, the Cavaliers scored 28 second-half points. Smith threw for three touchdowns and junior Gregory Howell rushed one in.
Southwest (9-1), which will face Killian in the first round of the playoffs, beat the Cavaliers for only the third time. Coral Gables will play North Miami Beach in the postseason.
“To end up in overtime, I know it sounds crazy, but at least we got a win out of it and showed we can finish,” said Southwest coach Tim Neal, who spent 13 years as an assistant at Gables.
• Central 52, North Miami Beach 28: Sometimes the best defense is a great offense.
That statement held true for Central in its regular season finale victory over North Miami Beach at Traz Powell Stadium.
Thursday was mostly about injury prevention as both teams have playoff games to prepare for, with the Rockets hosting Southwest Ranches Archbishop McCarthy next Friday in the Region 4-6A quarterfinals and North Miami Beach hosting Coral Gables next Thursday in the Region 3-8A quarterfinals at North Miami Stadium.
The Rockets (7-2) racked up 469 yards of total offense Thursday, including 392 rushing yards — most of them coming from super juniors Joe Yearby and Dalvin Cook. Yearby rushed for a game-high 192 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries while Cook gained 164 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Central quarterback Keith Reed only completed 4 of his 10 passes, but three of them went for touchdowns — including a final 9-yard scoring pass to Jakari Lockette, the son of Rockets coach Telly Lockette.
But the Rockets defense bent a lot, giving up 362 total yards of offense to the Chargers (4-5).
NMB sophomore quarterback Cedric Wiggins finished 20 of 36 for 245 yards and three touchdowns — all three of which went to receiver Steve Ishmael, who finished with 87 yards on seven catches.
Coach Lockette said that his team’s defensive performance could be blamed on the game being a homecoming for Central — not the chilly 60-degree weather.
“It was homecoming and I think some of the guys got a little caught up in that and maybe weren’t as focused as they should’ve been,” Lockette said.
“But I take that upon myself as a coach. You never want to rob the kids of their full high school experience, but we also have to make sure that we are ready to play every time we step on to the field — especially now with playoffs around the corner.”
Central took a 17-7 lead into halftime — after Reed connected with DaVante Phillips on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 55 second left in the second quarter — but the early part of second half was full of big plays.