Mater Academy’s football program has made great strides in only two seasons.
Senior running back Daniel Doriscar has been at the heart of that Lions turnaround.
On Thursday night, Mater’s speedster was back in typical form racking up 183 yards and scoring three touchdowns to help the Lions race past Cooper City for a 35-21 win in a Region 4-7A quarterfinal at Milander Park.
Doriscar missed five games this season due to a sprained ligament in his ankle.
“It was very frustrating not being able to be out there with my team,” Doriscar said. “It felt great to finally get back out there.”
Mater Academy (9-1) won its ninth consecutive game and will host either Doral Academy or McArthur next Friday at Milander. Those two teams play each other Friday night at McArthur.
The Lions have compiled a 19-3 record over the past two seasons since Rocco Casullo became their coach and won three playoff games during that span.
“This whole administration and this school have been outstanding,” Casullo said. “They hire Shakey Rodriguez to coach the basketball team; the baseball team was a state champion not long ago. They’re in it to win it at this school, and the support has been outstanding.”
Cooper City (4-6) is a team itself trying to build a winning tradition.
The Cowboys made some strides this season by making their first playoff appearance since 2011 after securing the runner-up spot in District 15-7A.
And on Thursday night, Cooper City had its own workhorse running back in Tyler Brown, who led the Cowboys with 166 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries.
Cooper City overcame the loss of 11 key players to injuries on its way to the postseason.
“Our goal was to make the playoffs and we did, so I’m very proud of the way they fought all year,” Cooper City coach Brandon Walker said. “Tyler is going to be hard to replace just from his heart and desire. Getting to the playoffs was huge for this program.”
Brown gave Cooper City a 7-0 lead after one quarter as the Cowboys continually moved the ball well early.
But Mater Academy’s advantage in athleticism and speed showed when Doriscar broke loose up the middle for a game-tying, 30-yard touchdown run.
Senior quarterback Kaywon Hanna, who ran for 65 yards and passed for 108, found senior receiver Travon Roberts for a 19-yard touchdown late in the second quarter that put Mater ahead for good.
Doriscar did the rest, scoring two more touchdowns.
“That’s how that kid works — he wants the ball and he keeps going,” Casullo said. “I thought the guys buckled down and fought overall.”