Coral Gables knows its defense can perform at the highest levels.
The Cavaliers also know they can run the ball well.
And whenever they can put both together they become one of the most dangerous teams in Miami-Dade County.
Gables did it just enough Thursday night at Tropical Park to secure a 21-7 victory over Southwest.
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Coral Gables (8-1) defeated Southwest (7-2) for the fourth consecutive time in the Turkey Bowl series and improved to 48-3-1 all-time. The football rivalry game, which began in 1958, draws its name from its early days when the game was played on Thanksgiving Day.
The Cavaliers will face North Miami Beach in a Region 4-8A quarterfinal next Friday. Southwest will play at Southridge in another quarterfinal next Thursday at 7 p.m.
“We want to be a dominant team at something,” Coral Gables coach Roger Pollard said. “I think if you look at our team right now, we’re winning games, but we don’t have an identity yet as far as us being completely dominant at something.”
Jamar Thompkins ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns and Johnny Ford totaled 141 yards and added another score.
“If we can get Ford and Thompkins healthy, it’s a dangerous backfield,” Pollard said. “We need to get them operating at their potential and it could be something special.”
Thompkins broke two big touchdown runs, the first of which came late in the first quarter from 20 yards out.
His 64-yard breakaway run up the middle late in the third quarter gave Coral Gables the lead again after it had fallen behind 7-6 before halftime. Kevin Romer took a pitch on a reverse and threw it to tight end Jason Abril for a two-point conversion following that score that put Gables in front, 14-7.
Gables defense, which had one interception and three sacks, stopped Southwest on three possessions from that point on.
Ford then sealed the outcome with a 41-yard touchdown run with 55 seconds left.
Quarterback J.J. Jaramillo gave Southwest its lone lead with a 15-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter. Jaramillo threw for 102 yards and ran for 54.
Eagles running back Te’Cory Tutson only ran for 28 yards, but did more damage as a receiver, catching 10 passes for 72 yards.