It was an emotional few moments for head coach Ivan Rosales and his players following Miami High’s 31-20 victory over Ferguson on Thursday night at Tropical Park.
With an “IR” firmly emblazoned on each helmet, Stingaree players listened to their coach thank them for their support in a most difficult time.
Rosales, whose team had gotten off to a rough 0-3 start this season lost his 22-year-old son Ivan Jr., tragically in a car accident last July 30. The young man played for his father when Rosales was an offensive coordinator at Reagan a few years back.
“Obviously a very difficult time for me but I love those kids over there and I can’t thank them enough for their support through a most difficult time for me,” said Rosales. “Even though this season got off to a rough start, they’ve played hard on every down for me and that’s all you can ask from your players. At Miami High, everybody is family and that’s never been more evident in the last few months.”
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Leading 24-20 with under two minutes left, the Stingarees (1-3) locked up their first win of the season when Shawn Hampton bolted around the left side for a 25 yard score with 1:39 left.
“It was really tough for all of us when we found out but we had to really be there for coach,” said Miami High running back Willie Stewart who finished with 47 yards on 10 carries and had a 1 yard touchdown run in the second quarter. “It's been rough for us this season but when you see something like that happen to somebody, it puts everything in perspective and we just know that we need to be there for coach.”
The Stingarees grabbed a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter when Stewart scored from a yard out but the Falcons (1-3) tied it when quarterback Cristian Martinez, on fourth-and-10 from the MHS 12, scored on a perfectly executed quarterback draw as time ran out in the first half tying the game at seven.
Miami High took the second half kickoff and marched 57 yards in eight plays, taking a lead it would never relinquish on quarterback Isiasa Castellon’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Travon Shannon. Castellon went on to finish his night 12-of-23 for 151 yards and one touchdown.
After Rioldan Azucey recovered a Falcon fumble, Arlen Narravo nailed a 39-yard field goal to make it 17-7 late in the third quarter.
“I always tell my kids now to always enjoy what you’re doing because in life you never know when it’s going to be your last play,” said Rosales. “And to appreciate and enjoy every day they have. Now we have our first win and need to keep pushing forward from here. I’m just grateful to all the support I’ve gotten from everyone in the Miami High family and so many other people as well."