In an era where many of the nation’s best high school football programs earn the opportunity to play in nationally-televised games, few have had the success of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The win was the biggest win for the ‘Canes (2-1) since their 21-12 win over the Patriots two years ago in the state playoffs.
“They really went after it and did what we wanted to do. The defense held it together for us all night, put points on the board. You can’t ask for anything more than that,” Northeast head coach Donnell Bennett said.
But this one was all defense as the ‘Canes failed to do anything offensively. The ‘Canes jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second quarter on a perfectly read interception by Zeffery Clark who returned it 32 yards for a touchdown.
After giving up a field goal which cut the lead to three, Northeast appeared to be ready to give the lead up before the end of the half, when Stacey Coley came up with the play of the season. He picked off a tipped pass at the five yard line, ran up the Northeast sideline, picked up a couple of blocks and cut it across the field at about the 50-yard line.
Coley took it down the Miramar (1-2) sideline where he picked up another block and cut back at the end to beat the final Miramar player for a 95-yard interception return for touchdown giving the ‘Canes a 13-3 lead with 11.9 seconds to play in the first half.
“Phenomenal. That kid is just growing up on a continuing basis and I am proud of what he’s doing for this team. We just got to keep going,”
Bennett said of Coley’s play.
That was all Northeast needed as the Patriots offense could never get on track and kept on running into the ‘Canes “Black Hole” defense.
Even a 1 hour and 20 minute lightning delay with 2:18 to play on the clock couldn’t stop Northeast. Miramar had one final chance, but after moving the ball 51 yards, with no timeouts and only 15 seconds to play from the Northeast 16-yard line, Alex Lee was swallowed for a seven-yard loss on a screen pass and the clock ran out.
“They came to play. That’s all I teach, all out reckless abandon. Let’s go hunt. I talk about the National Geographic all the time where you see the lions and tigers going to hunt. They don’t let the guys walk away wounded.
They take their prey out right away and that’s the type of mentality we have as a defense,” Northeast defensive coordinator Fred Flowers said.