After seeing their season end at the hands of Miami Central four of the previous five years, the Bucs of Daytona Beach Mainland were hopeful that perhaps a different team from Miami-Dade County with different colored uniforms would bring an end to that trend.
But it was more frustration for Mainland, the No. 1 ranked team in Class 6A as the Chiefs of Miami Carol City made the four hour trip north and delivered the same knockout punch that Central has produced over the years, defeating Mainland in shockingly easy fashion 33-7 in a Region 4-6A final at Municipal Stadium.
The win advances Carol City (8-3) into next week’s state semifinal where the Chiefs will travel to the west coast to take on Punta Gorda Charlotte marking the team’s first state semi appearance since 2004. Mainland entered the game unbeaten and finished 11-1.
“Just a great job of our kids coming up tonight in a hostile environment and just taking care of business,” said Carol City head coach Aubrey Hill. “We understood how good a team Mainland was so to come up here and get this done in the fashion we did speaks volumes for everyone from my coaches on down to the kids”
If there was a hero that stood out amongst others for the Chiefs it was running back Camron Davis. Just one month after a devastating fumble in the final minute that cost his team a district championship title against Northwestern, Davis has been on a mission ever since and delivered another big effort on Friday as he rushed for 156 yards on just nine carries and three touchdowns.
His 72-yarder to the end zone early in the fourth quarter salted things away for the Chiefs as the sideline began its celebration.
“Last month was definitely tough for me but I was determined to come back and help my team to a state championship and now we’re two wins away,” said Davis. “Now we want to bring it all home.
Carol City stunned Mainland with two quick touchdowns in the first four minutes of the game and built up a 27-7 halftime lead before turning it over to the defense in the second half as they held the Mainland offense, minus its best player, quarterback and Western Michigan commit Denzel Houston who left the game in the second quarter with a leg injury. Houston returned briefly in the third quarter but he was severely hobbled with the injury and left the game soonafter.
The Chiefs could not have ordered up a better start as they took the opening kickoff and marched 82 yards in just five plays, Davis bolting 29 yards for a score to make it 7-0 just two minutes into the game.
When Carol City forced a three-and-out on Mainland’s first possession, they got more than that as the punt went high over the punter’s head giving the Chiefs the ball at the Bucs 19. On their very first play after that, Marlon Smith tossed a short slant to Kevaughn Dingle who broke free for a score and just like that it was 14-0.
After Mainland scored to slice the Carol City lead in half, the Chiefs answered right back with a 70-yard, seven play drive, Davis going over from two yards out to make it 21-7 with 9:51 left in the second quarter.
By far the biggest play of the first half came on the Chiefs next offensive series. Faced with a third-and-17 his own three, backup quarterback Lorenzo Floyd dropped back and found Dingle down the middle for a catch-and-run 60 yard play to the Bucs 37. Two plays later Terrence Horne Jr. bolted around the left side for a 27 yard touchdown and 27-7 Carol City lead following a blocked extra point.
With linebacker Yasir Abdullah leading the way with two sacks and a fourth down fourth-and-one no-gain stuff in the third quarter, the Carol City defense dominated Mainland holding the Bucs to just 49 yards of offense in the second half.
“I thought getting out to that quick lead was huge because it really allowed our kids to settle down and sent a message to our opponent at the same time,” said Hill, “This is a great win for our program moving forward and now we want to keep it going at Charlotte next week.”