It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was downright sloppy.
But the North Miami Pioneers — despite seven fumbles (three of them lost), nine penalties and a bushel of dropped passes — managed to knock off Hialeah 20-8 on Thursday night at North Miami Stadium in the District 13-8A opener for both teams.
North Miami (3-1, 1-0) was led by running back Jacquez Stuart with 104 yards on seven carries and quarterback Tyberius Horne, who completed 17 of 27 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
His biggest completion came with 5:17 left in the game. With North Miami still clinging to a 13-8 lead and facing a fourth-and-9 at the T-Breds’ 29, Horne found Andy Pierre-Antoine over the middle for a put-away touchdown.
“It’s always good when you can grind out a win, especially a district game, but I’m not happy with what I saw out there [Thursday night],” North Miami coach Ed Williams said. “What did we have? Five, six fumbles? Penalties? Dropped passes? Just unacceptable and something we’re going to have to get corrected if we have any intention of making the postseason. We’ll work on it.”
North Miami’s quick-strike offense did what it does best as the Pioneers went 70 yards in less than a minute to open the game and got a break when Stuart fumbled on the 1 yard line but Horne was in the perfect spot as he scooped up the loose ball and dove in the end zone.
Thanks to a 50-yard run followed by an 18-yarder by Rommeo Brown, Hialeah took the lead with 9:43 left in the second on a Bobby Nelson 7-yard touchdown run followed by a successful two-point conversion.
The Pioneers took a lead they would never relinquish 35 seconds before halftime when, on fourth-and-2 from the T-Breds’ 22, Horne found Alvin Johnson III in the right flat who then juked two Hialeah defenders and sprinted to the end zone.
Hialeah (2-2, 0-1) had two great chances to take the lead in the second half and in fact took the lead on its opening second half drive when Deandre Miles found Rommeo Brown for an 11-yard touchdown. But the play was called back for holding and the T-Breds turned it over on downs two plays later.
On their very next drive, the T-Breds made it to the North Miami 14 before a high third down snap over Miles’ head resulted in a 16-yard loss followed by a sack ending that scoring threat.
“We were definitely sloppy [Thursday night],” Stuart said. “But we did manage to find a way to finish it in the fourth quarter and that’s what needed to happen in order for us to get out of here with a district win.”