After making the postseason as a district runner-up each of the last two seasons, Mater Academy moved one step closer to its first district championship on Monday afternoon when the Lions traveled to Goleman High School and turned in a 21-0 shutout of the Gators in a key District 16-7A matchup.
The Lions (5-1, 5-0) remained undefeated in district play and with only Miami Springs, Westland Hialeah and Sunset left — games they will be heavy favorites in — Mater is in the district driver’s seat.
At halftime, there were no guarantees that would happen as the game was scoreless and Goleman had controlled most of the first half with its patented ball control rushing offense but lost three fumbles including one near the red zone.
“We hadn’t played in 17 days and it showed in that first half,” said Mater coach Rocco Casullo, whose team had a bye week after its Sept. 23 win over Doral and didn’t play last week due to the Hurricane Matthew threat. “We were leaving the ball on the ground and sloppy. I made sure they realized the sense of urgency at halftime and they listened.”
As it turned out, it was two big special teams plays that sparked the Lions. First Travon Roberts returned the second half kickoff 53 yards to the Goleman 18 giving the offense a short field. Three plays later Daniel Doriscar went in from two yards out to make it 7-0.
On the very next series, Mikel Jones broke through down the middle and blocked a Goleman punt which Jarrell Knight scooped up at the five and scored to make it 14-0.
Doriscar then slam dunked things for his team when he bolted 87 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter.
“We just realized we had to come out with a sense of urgency because we wanted to stay undefeated in our district,” said Doriscar who finished with 121 yards on 11 carries. “Those special teams plays were big and really got us going.”
Goleman fell to 4-3, 4-2 and the Gators will have to turn around in just a few days and face Doral Academy Thursday. A Goleman win would force a three-way tie for the runner-up spot in the district with Doral and Reagan while a Doral victory would virtually assure the Firebirds the runner-up playoff spot.