For the second year in a row, Miami Jackson has gone on the road to face American Heritage in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs, and for the second consecutive year, the Generals (6-4) have come out with a win.
American Heritage was a heavy favorite coming into the matchup, and early on it looked like it would be a runaway win for the Patriots (9-2). Isaiah McKenzie took the opening kickoff 87 yards for a score that seemed to set the tone for the game. Later in the first quarter, Scott Wade drilled a 42-yard field goal that put Heritage up 10-0, but the Generals quickly came back.
Junior quarterback Quinton Flowers hooked up with Devondre Powell on a leaping grab in the end zone that cut the lead to 10-7, but they weren’t done yet. On the next drive for the Generals, Flowers called his own number and ran 7 yards for a touchdown and a 13-10 lead.
Flowers would connect with Powell once again before halftime, this time for 41 yards, and Flowers’ 46-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter put the pressure squarely on the shoulders of the Patriots’ offense.
Heritage’s vaunted offense never seemed to get rolling, though, as senior quarterback Tyler Cogswell battled protection problems and dropped passes all night. Cogswell was sacked six times, and when he did have time to throw, the ball found its way through the hands of his receivers to the tune of nine drops.
Cogswell would finish just 8 of 25 for 169 yards, two touchdowns – both to Isaiah McKenzie – and two interceptions. The second interception was returned 60 yards for a touchdown with less than two minutes left in the game and sealed the Patriots’ fate.
“Obviously this one hurts a lot, because we definitely didn’t play our game”, Heritage coach Jeff Dellenbach said afterwards, adding, “It’s just really frustrating.”
Generals coach Antonio Brown was beaming after the win, taking pride in not just his team, but also for the county.
“It’s just the thing about Dade County,” said Brown. “It’s the land of opportunity in Dade County. We play top-10 football week in and week out.”
• Region 3-8A quarterfinal – Cypress Bay 41, Deerfield 13: What was supposed to be a tough first round playoff challenge for the Cypress Bay Lightning football team turned out to be anything but on Friday night.
Hosting Deerfield Beach in a Region 3-8A quarterfinal matchup, Cypress Bay came out smoking and jumped all over the Bucks early en route to an easy 41-13 victory. Deerfield had played much better football late in the season but the Lightning also are peaking at the right time as well and will now host Miramar next week in a huge rematch of a district showdown back in October that the Lightning pulled out 17-13.
“We came out and jumped on them quick and that’s what you need to do in games like this,” said Cypress Bay head coach Mark Guandolo who saw his team improve to 9-2. “Our O-line really did the job tonight and won everything up front and that’s what you need to happen if you want to win games at this time of year.”
The big workhorse for Cypress Bay on Friday night was running back Matt Dayes. Dayes finished the night with 184 yards on 16 carries and four touchdowns and did just about all of his damage in the first half, rushing for 157 yards, scoring three of his team’s four touchdowns as the Lightning cruised to a 27-0 halftime lead.
• Region 4-3A semifinal – University 27, Cardinal Newman 0: A torrential downpour and muddy field couldn’t deter undefeated University on its quest toward the Class 3A championship Friday night at Nova High School.
Led by the dual rushing attack of sophomore Jordan Scarlett and junior Lajuan Hunt that combined for 306 yards, the Suns beat West Palm Beach’s Cardinal Newman 27-0 in a regional semifinal.
Hunt closed out a nine-play, 75-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown on University’s first possession of the game with 5:12 remaining in the first quarter. Scarlett scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the third — a 50-yarder on the second play of the quarter and a 3-yarder with 4:28 left — as University extended its lead to 21-0. Hunt found the end zone again from 11 yards with 6:11 to go in the fourth.
Cardinal Newman (9-2) threatened to score just once, but senior linebacker Nick Internicola intercepted senior quarterback George Mastics’ pass at the Suns’ 15-yard line. Friday night marked the fourth time this season the University defense shut out its opponent.
The Suns (9-0) and Crusaders met last year in the same round of the postseason, with University winning 37-15. After that game, the Suns dropped the regional final to American Heritage School of Boca/Delray, the eventual state champion, 31-20. The Stallions will be University’s next opponent.
CHRISTINA DE NICOLA
• Region 4-2A semifinal – Belle Glade Glades Day 39, Champagnat Catholic 14: Kelvin Taylor rushed for 213 yards on 16 carries and scored four touchdowns, leading the Gators (8-2) over the Lions (2-8) in Belle Glade.
Taylor had touchdown runs of 11, 2, 12 and 33 yards, all in the first half to stake the Gators to a 29-0 halftime lead.
Taylor led seven ball carriers for the Gators, who totaled 297 yards on the ground. Josh Carr threw for 40 yards for the Gators, who led 39-0 before Champagnat scored two late touchdowns.