For the first time in 12 years, the Miami Jackson football team is one win away from earning a chance to play for a state title.
The Generals will play host to Immokalee in the Class 5A state semifinals at Traz Powell Stadium on Friday at 7:30 p.m. after traveling to Belle Glade on Friday and defeating Glades Central 33-24 in “The Muck.”
Jackson, which began the postseason with upsets over Plantation American Heritage and Miami Norland, looks to continue to stay hot behind quarterback Quinton Flowers.
Flowers shed off a shaky start against Glades Central to throw three touchdown passes, the third of which put the Raiders away for good with just under four minutes left. Flowers connected with Devondre Powell from 22 yards out to give the Generals a nine-point lead they would not surrender.
Earlier in the second half, Flowers tossed his most aesthetically pleasing pass when he found Desmond Phillips deep down the Jackson sideline for an 80-yard score that gave Jackson a 19-10 lead.
“It doesn’t take one player,” said Flowers, who completed 7 of 14 attempts for 180 yards. “It takes a family. We’re all a family. We came together as a team. We kept fighting. We kept pushing.”
Flowers struggled early. In a first quarter that ended with Jackson trailing 10-0, he often found himself holding on to the ball too long and staring at the Glades Central pass rush instead of keeping his eyes downfield. His first pass attempt of the night was intercepted, and his second was dropped by a Raider defender inside the Jackson 5-yard line.
But Flowers ultimately got settled in to the environment.
“I just had to get a little feeling of [the atmosphere],” said Flowers, who was playing in Effie Grear Stadium for the first time in his career. “Once we got a feeling of it, we played as a team, and we just finished.”
The Generals weren’t just scoring on offense.
With under two minutes to play in the first half and the Raiders punting deep in their own territory, Jackson dialed up a punt block and Jephthe Jean-Charles pounced on the ball in the end zone to give Jackson its first lead.
In the third quarter, Christopher Williams-Hall recovered a Glades Central fumble and took it 35 yards to pay dirt just as it appeared the Raiders were regaining momentum.
Not many would’ve predicted Jackson to make this kind of a run after it finished the regular season with three consecutive losses, but the Generals are riding the momentum of playoff victories and are focused on the ultimate goal. They’re serious about becoming state champions.
“I think we’re battle-tested coming out of Dade County,” Brown said. “To become the best you have to beat the best. … I like this opportunity.”
Playing the slow-it-down, grind-it-out style for which coach Carla Harris-Curry is known, the Norland girls’ basketball team defeated Lourdes 47-33 at home Saturday night.
The Vikings went on a 10-0 run in the first quarter to take an early 13-4 lead and never looked back.
Southern Mississippi-bound senior Brittany Dinkins scored five of her six points in that run and assisted on another field goal.
Dinkins focused more on facilitating the offense for her teammates than being a scorer. She finished with a game-high seven assists and also led the Vikings with three steals.