A gloom hung over Miami Northwestern on Saturday.
The Bulls finished their long day with a 21-0 road loss to IMG Academy, USA Today’s No. 2-ranked program filled with star high school players from across the country. But the defeat was secondary to the problems the coaching staff and players faced throughout the day.
Bulls coach Max Edwards suffered a health emergency several hours before the game, one that forced him to go to a hospital in the Bradenton area, Bulls interim head coach Verne Louis said, but called the team after the game to tell his players that he was fine.
“Major [impact],” Louis said. “Major. Because that was on their minds.”
Bulls defensive end Demetrius Mayes Jr. agreed and took blame for Edwards’ incident, saying he and two teammates had gone to the hotel swimming pool when they hadn’t known they weren’t supposed to. Edwards’ health scare, Mayes believes, was tied to his being upset.
Bulls wide receiver Kiaryn Davis started his day by burying his father and then arrived at the game about 90 minutes before it started and played, Louis said.
“We had to hold him up,” Mayes said. “We had to be here as a brother to him, to help him battle. Whether your mom pass, your dad pass, we’re here for you as a family. It impacted us, too, just as much as it impacted him. He’s good though. He’s good.”
The Bulls (3-1) started poorly, as could be expected under such circumstances.
They committed four false start penalties on their first possession and allowed IMG (4-0) to score a 12-yard rushing touchdown on its first series. The Ascenders added a 24-yard receiving touchdown in the second quarter and a 1-yard touchdown run in the third for the final margin.
Bulls quarterback Tutu Atwell, one of the few bright spots for the Bulls offense early, fell to the ground with 6:27 remaining in the third quarter after a long run and was attended to for several moments. He came out of the game and didn’t return with what Louis described as a hip injury.
Bulls defensive back Divaad Wilson also suffered a left arm injury and was attended to for a few minutes on the sideline but described himself as fine after the game.
Those would be two big injuries as the Bulls move into District 16-6A play with a game against Hialeah-Miami Lakes at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
St. Brendan won the Estero Wildcat Invitational Gold Division, going 5-0 without dropping a set this weekend.
Senior setter Camila Treptow led the Sabres with 92 assists, 31 digs and 11 aces for the tournament. Senior middle blocker Alexis Dow had 25 kills and 13 blocks, sophomore middle blocker Julie Lentz added 23 kills and 15 blocks, senior outside hitter Marcela Fernandez had 23 kills and sophomore outside hitter Emily Diaz had 16 kills.
▪ Gold finals — St. Brendan d. Port Charlotte 25-21, 25-22: Treptow 17 assist, 4 digs; Alexis Dow 5 kills, 7 blocks, 5 digs; Lentz 5 kills, 5 blocks; STB 12-4.
▪ Gold semifinals — St. Brendan d. Canterbury 26-24, 25-23: Treptow 23 assist, 11 digs; Fernandez 9 kills, Diaz 7 kills, 4 digs
▪ St. Brendan d. Cypress Lake 25-11, 25-15: Treptow 14 assist, 8 digs; Bianka Solorzano 6 aces, 5 digs; Lentz 4 kills.
▪ St. Brendan d. Lely 29-27, 25-17: Treptow 19 assist, 3 aces; Fernandez 6 kills, 6 digs; Diaz 5 kills.
▪ St. Brendan d. North Fort Myers 25-13, 25-7: Treptow 19 assists, 6 digs; Lentz 7 kills, 6 blocks, Alexis Dow 7 kills.