After sleepwalking to another slow first half while managing a one-touchdown lead, host Everglades rallied for 184 total yards in the second half, pulling away to a 47-21 victory against Hollywood Hills on Thursday night.
Running back Saibyn Ruff, who gained 64 yards on 15 carries, including a 5-yard score, made the game-sealing play with four minutes left when he returned a Hollywood Hills onside kick for a 57-yard touchdown to help the Gators improve to 2-1.
“We’ve started slow every first half, and that’s something we’ll have to work on,” first-year coach Art Taylor said. “But we’ve had strong second halves, and that’s what championship teams do.”
The Spartans (1-2) had come to within two scores at 35-21 following Darius Greene’s third touchdown pass of the game, a 13-yarder to Rodney Holmes with 4:24 remaining.
Following Ruff’s big play on special teams, Gators substitute Diamond Eady capped the scoring in the final with a 29-yard touchdown run on his second carry of the game.
Holmes led all rushers in the losing effort for Hollywood Hills with 121 yards on 16 carries.
Everglades’ Xavier Love had 93 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown.
He also had two catches for 38 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Elric Ruff.