After an anticipated lopsided win over Westland Hialeah seven days earlier to get off to their first 4-0 start in 21 years, things were supposed to get a lot more challenging for the Miami Springs Golden Hawks football team last week.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Taking on a much-improved Hialeah-Miami Lakes football team from a year ago, a Trojans team that had dismantled Hialeah 34-0 two weeks earlier to win back the Big T trophy for the first time in nine years, the Hawks managed to grind out a big 16-6 victory at Milander Stadium.
And with that, head coach Darryel Bethune Sr. and his Golden Hawks players moved their record to 5-0 at the season’s midway point, quite a feat considering three of the team’s best players transferred out during the offseason.
The Hawks will now enjoy a well-earned and well-deserved week off this week before heading into the meat of their district schedule and a crucial three stretch starting with their Homecoming contest against Goleman on Friday, Oct. 10at Milander.
“It was just one of those games where we struggled on offense, especially trying to finish drives, the defense bent a lot but never broke but we simply just found a way to win and that’s what you need to do in games like that and we’ll take it,” said Bethune Sr. who has watched his team go a remarkable 12-2 during the regular season dating back to Week 2 of the 2013 season. “It was a big district win, we’re 2-0 in the district and now we’re looking forward to a bye week where we can give the kids some much-needed rest and let them get their legs back.”
Bethune watched as his offense got the job done in the first half, going on a pair of long touchdown drives to build a 14-0 lead. Myron Morris took off on a 32-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and that was followed by a one yard by the head coaches son, Darryel Bethune Jr. midway through the second quarter. Junior would finish a big night as the game’s leading rusher with 143 yards on 25 carries.
The Trojans pulled closer to Springs when quarterback Issiah Small ran one in from five yards out just before halftime leaving the Hawks lead at 14-6 after the extra point was missed.
The second half turned out to be an exercise in frustration for the Hawks as they made three different trips to the HML red zone (20 yard line or closer) only to come away with absolutely nothing thanks to a interception by quarterback Gerald Anderson, lost fumble by Kalvin Roan and missed field goal by David Torres.
But through it all, led by defensive tackle Franklin Natte who led the way with seven solo tackles, defensive end Irrick McDonald who had a sack, Johnny Rembert with an interception and Jahwon Grant who picked off Small twice, the Springs defense was stout never allowing Lakes near the red zone the rest of the night.
An all-important safety, which pushed Springs’ lead from eight points to 10 points making it a two possession game, was recorded early in the fourth quarter when Small failed to handle a high snap from his shotgun formation and the ball wound up in the end zone where he fell on it giving Springs two points.
“We came through with a big win,” said Anderson who finished the not a modest 5-of-15 for 144 yards and the one interception. “My main man Johnny Rembert came through for me, the O line did its job and we all came together and it was just a great team win. It feels really great to be 5-0. This program has not been 5-0 since 1993 and it feels great because we feel like we’ve brought some of the Springs football tradition back.”
In addition to helping out with the interception on defense, Rembert, Anderson’s favorite receiver, caught three balls for 114 yards to help set up both touchdowns.
“Just out there getting it done,” said Rembert, a young man of few words who prefers to let his play-making on the field do the talking for him. “Just making the big plays when we need them.”
Bethune Sr. said he is giving his kids the early part of this week off before getting back on the field on Thursday to start getting ready for Goleman.
Asked if he feels his team is getting more confident every week with each passing victory, Bethune Sr. gave the answer most head football coaches on any level, high school to professional, like to give when their team is rolling along – cautious.
“Absolutely the confidence is building but as head coaches you always have to worry about overconfidence and in hopes of not setting yourself up for a big letdown,” said Bethune Sr. “You tell them we’ve had some good wins but that we really need to keep our eye on the ball right now and before we can think about American, we need to think about Goleman.”
Even though they’re 1-4, Goleman is coming off a 48-0 rout of Mourning to record their first win last week and the Gators run what many refer to as an “ant-pile style,” wing offense that seems to give opposing defenses trouble.
“It will help that it’s Homecoming week so hopefully the kids will be fired up because everybody wants to win their Homecoming game,” said Bethune Sr.