The sight was a tough one to take for anyone who was a Miami Springs Golden Hawks football fan.
The scene was last Thursday night (Oct. 17) at Traz Powell Stadium and the event was a first place district showdown between American and Miami-Dade County’s Cinderella story of the 2013 season, the Miami Springs Golden Hawks.
The sight that was especially tough to take if you were Springs faithful was Golden Hawks players sprawled on the ground in despair seconds after American placekicker Diego Arcon split the uprights on a 25-yard field goal with six seconds left, snapping a 13-13 deadlock to give the Patriots the 16-13 win and the inside track to the District 16-7A championship.
“This is a tough one for sure but I’m still proud of our kids the way they came out here and competed tonight,” said Springs head coach Darryel Bethune. “This was a big stage for them tonight to play on and even though the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, to play in a game like this and compete the way we did is all part of a growing process.”
What probably gave Bethune a really tough time when his head hit the pillow later that night was his decision to gamble and go for it when the Hawks faced a fourth-and-14, not a favorable down-and-distance, at the American 35 with just over a minute left in the game.
Not only did Springs not convert but quarterback Gerald Anderson was sacked for an eight yard loss giving the Patriots the ball near midfield with 57 seconds left and two timeouts.
The precious 30 to 35 yards of field position Springs gave up proved costly when, two plays later, American quarterback Ed Crouch took off on a 40 yard scrambling zig-zag run all the way down to the Hawks 15 yard line with 27 seconds left. Three plays later, Arcon kicked his game-winner snapping a five game Springs winning streak.
“We really had a play we liked and I just felt like we could convert,” said Bethune after the game of his fourth-and-14 decision. “We had somebody open downfield but unfortunately we didn’t give our quarterback the protection he needed.”
What also likely had Bethune tossing and turning that night was the fact that his team came out red hot in the first quarter and a half, jumping out to a 13-0 lead but a lead that could’ve been a lot larger.
When American fumbled the opening kickoff and Springs recovered at the Pats 44, the Hawks cashed in six plays later when running back Malik Thomas went over from five yards out to make it 7-0.
The Hawks then squibbed the ensuing kickoff and when American couldn’t handle the ball, Springs recovered and was right back in busines again. Another trip to the red zone ensued but, on fourth-and-one, a quarterback sneak by Anderson came up inches short at the Patriot 19.
But, after lost yardage and a short punt on American’s first possession, the Hawks were right back in business at the Patriot 37. Six plays later, when the drive stalled at the 16, David Torres attempted a 33 yard field goal that was blocked.
One series later following another American punt, Thomas broke loose up the middle and outran defenders for a 69 yard touchdown run. A bad snap on the PAT left Springs leading 13-0 with 8:39 left in the second quarter but perhaps feeling they should’ve been ahead by a lot more.
“We really had a lot of opportunities early on and didn’t cash in on all of them and that eventually hurt us later on,” said Bethune.