For Carol City and University of Miami-bound running back Camron Davis, it was more about quality over quantity on Monday night.
With the Chiefs taking their first big step toward defending their 6A state title in the now vaunted “district of death,” Davis led his team to a 21-0 victory over Norland at Traz Powell Stadium in a rescheduled game due to the Hurricane Irma disruption.
Davis ran for 45 tough yards against a stingy Norland defense but also turned a simple swing pass in the flat from Marlon Smith into a 68-yard catch and run touchdown pass in which he juked two Viking defenders and then turned on the Jets down the sideline outracing everyone else.
One series later, he took another screen pass from Smith and literally leaped over a crouching Norland defender as the crowd reacted. Unfortunately Davis didn’t realize “hurdling” is illegal in high school and the play was called back. Somehow, UM head coach Marc Richt won’t mind looking at that one on tape one bit, penalty or no penalty.
“I didn’t realize it was a penalty, I’ll make sure I don’t do that again,” said Davis. “Tonight was an important win for us and we knew we needed to come out fast and strong and we did that.”
The win moved the Chiefs to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the district. They will host Southridge on Friday at Traz in a non-district contest before bracing for their two biggest games of the year against Northwestern and Central on Oct. 13 and Oct. 27, respectively.
For the hard-luck Vikings, the loss came just four days after they dropped a 23-12 decision to Central, dropping them to 0-2 in the district, pretty much putting them behind the eight ball in a district where you can’t afford two losses.
After Carol City built its 21-0 lead in the first half, they turned it over to their defense which sacked Norland quarterbacks six times, Daequan Nelson and Malcolm Ray recording two apiece as Norland managed just 87 total yards on the night.
“I try not to think about any of that,” said Davis when asked if he looks at his performance these days as more a less an audition for Canes coaches. “Right now, my focus is on the immediate task at hand and that’s to come out here and help my teammates win each week and try and get back to state and repeat as champions.”
“Cam’s a leader on this team and wants to win a state championship,” said Carol City coach Benedict Hyppolite. “The way he looks at it, if you just focus on the week to week stuff and ultimately winning a state championship, all the other goals as far as making first team all-county and moving on to the Unversity of Miami, those things will all eventually fall into place and take care of themselves. He did the job out there tonight coming out early and helping us set the tone.”
▪ WESTERN 29, HALLANDALE 8: Senior wide receiver Jordan Smith had a pair of touchdown receptions from quarterback Harrison Story to lead the Western Wildcats over Hallandale 29-8 in a nondistrict game on Monday night.
Smith, who has offers from Akron, West Carolina, N.C. State, Syracuse and Temple, scored from 19 and 25 yards as Western improved to 5-0.
It marks the first time since 2012 Western has opened the regular season with five consecutive victories.
“Smith looked fantastic tonight,” Western coach Adam Ratkevich said. “Smith and Harrison have a great connection.
“We were off some tonight, but at the end of the night we’re 5-0.”
Senior running back Keshaun Clarke had an effective first half, rushing for 50 yards on 10 carries, including a 9-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter for a 12-0 lead. He finished with 84 yards on 17 carries.
Following Smith’s second touchdown, the Wildcats added a safety and a Dannie Sanders 20-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Tahjae Bryant scored on a 7-yard scoring pass from quarterback Nathaniel Williams in the fourth quarter for the Chargers (1-4).
Through five games Western has 17 shutout quarters in its 20 played this season.
▪ Columbus 21, Booker T. Washington 19: Columbus made an unplanned two-point conversion and Booker T. Washington failed on its planned try, which would have tied the score with 4:12 left in the game.
That was the difference as host Columbus held off Booker T. Washington.
Columbus (4-1) got two touchdown runs from Henry Parrish Jr., two field goals by Chris Estevez and the two-point play — a pass from quarterback Anthony Arguelles to wing blocker Diego Ramos. For Ramos, a senior who made a diving catch on the play, it was his first career points.
BTW (2-3) rallied from an 18-2 second-quarter deficit by getting two touchdown passes from Daniel Richardson, two safeties and a field goal by Andres Borregales. But their final two-point conversion failed when Willie Davis dropped a pass in the right flat. Had he caught the ball he could have walked in the end zone.
On the last play of the game, after BTW had driven deep into Columbus territory, Richardson was intercepted in the end zone by Courtney Holmes.
▪ South Dade 20, Homestead 0: The annual Battle for Lucy Street has been a one-sided affair in recent years.
Heading into Monday night, South Dade hasn’t lost to Homestead since 2011, winning five consecutive games in the District 16-8A rivalry.
Both schools came into the game unbeaten, but South Dade’s dominance continued as the Buccaneers (4-0, 1-0) bested the Broncos (3-1, 1-1) with a victory at Harris Field.
Opening up district play with a victory also helps South Dade recapture the momentum they enjoyed before Hurricane Irma.
“This win brings us one step closer to where we want to be,” South Dade coach Nate Hudson said. “Our guys know there’s a bigger picture.”
The Buccaneers defense shut down and frustrated Homestead all night long, holding the Broncos to just 72 yards of total offense and keeping them out of the red zone for the entire game.
“Our defense is the catalyst of everything we do,” Hudson said.
Homestead wasn’t without opportunities, especially in the opening minutes of play. Back-to-back South Dade fumbles on punt returns gave the Broncos three consecutive chances to take an early lead but to no avail.
South Dade quarterback Torrey Morrison threw for one touchdown — a 29-yard strike to Frank Ladson in the second quarter — and ran for another in the fourth quarter to lead the Buccaneers.
▪ Mater Academy 27, Miami Springs 21: Mater Academy gambled twice on Monday afternoon and it paid off both times.
Faced with a pair of fourth downs from midfield, the Lions went for and hit pay dirty both times as quarterback Sean Delaughter hit Alejandro Alvarez for a 47 yard third quarter touchdown and John Cooper with a 40 yarder with 3:30 left in the game to clinch it.
Mater improved to 2-3, 2-1 in the key District 16-7A matchup at Miami Springs High School. Springs fell to 2-2, 2-1.