With his brand new high school head coaching career only four games hold, North Miami head coach Pat Colon was already soaking wet from a rainy night. So when his players nailed him with another water cooler at the end of Tuesday night’s huge rivalry game with North Miami Beach, he didn’t mind one bit.
That’s because he was all smiles as he watched his Pioneer players celebrate, hoisting up the Inter-City Championship Trophy following their big and shockingly lopsided 37-14 victory over the previously unbeaten Chargers in a key District 13-8A showdown at Milander Stadium.
“This was awesome tonight,” said Colon. “Obviously this means a lot to the community of North Miami, the biggest game of the year and these kids had worked all summer, overcome a lot of adversity and really earned and deserved this moment. This is really sweet but we have to keep it moving. Not much time to celebrate.”
Indeed as North Miami will have to turn right around and square off against Palmetto on Friday.
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At the forefront of the celebration and the one proudly holding the trophy was quarterback Isaiah Velez who certainly did his part.
Velez was outstanding all night, dicing up the NMB secondary for 266 yards on 14-of-25 passing and three touchdowns, two of those big first half strikes of 59 and 65 yards to Ronald Fanfan as the Pioneers (2-2, 2-0) jumped out to a 22-0 halftime lead.
“This was major tonight, I came to this school to try and do something like this,” said Velez who transferred over from Central over the summer. “I just kept my head focused the whole game and went to my go-to receiver in Ron (Fanfan) when I needed him. We really felt like we could come out throwing the ball tonight.”
“These kids call him Tom Brady because he’s actually asked me for No. 12 a couple of times,” said Colon. “I’m not big on giving out numbers but I guess I may have to now. He’s a cool customer and earned it tonight. He didn’t start the year off as our starter but was patient, waited for his opportunity and has obviously seized it.”
The swing moment in the game came midway through the third quarter. After NMB (3-1, 1-1) had scored to cut its deficit to 22-6, the Chargers were back in the red zone threatening to score again and building momentum.
That’s when Gary Britt picked off NMB quarterback Wendell Morrison at the goal line and returned it 80 yards. Two plays later, Velez dropped back and found Alvin Johnson III for an 18-yard score to make it 29-6.
“That was big,” said Velez. “They were starting to come back on us and that got things turned around back in our direction again.”