Hollywood Hills coach Al Lang and his staff challenged their players — in the midst of a two-game losing streak — to drink a gallon of water each day. Lang saw a team that hadn’t played a complete game through the season’s three contests.
Down by a point with two minutes until halftime, the Spartans scored 22 unanswered points on three consecutive drives for a 34-13, District 15-7A victory over South Broward on Saturday night at McArthur High School.
“In the second half we took over,” Lang said. “We felt that maybe they were a little winded or tired. I challenged the O-line at halftime that we had to take over, and they did.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Spartans (2-2) scored a touchdown on their first drive of the second, which consisted of nine plays and 53 yards.
Junior quarterback Darius Greene and junior receiver Winston Job connected three times, including twice on third down. An illegal shift penalty made it third-and-13 from the 29, but Job’s third reception was a touchdown with 7:03 remaining. A bobble on the extra-point hold forced sophomore kicker Matthew Scherrer to try a pass that fell incomplete.
Almost four minutes elapsed before sophomore Ronald Clayton called for a fair catch but fumbled senior Jalen Burns’ punt. The Bulldogs (0-4) took over from the 19-yard line. Two plays later, Burns ran the ball in untouched with 3:30 to put his team ahead,7-6.
Special teams proved costly for South Broward when the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds. Taking over from the 35 line with 2:31 to go in the half, Hollywood Hills got a quick score.
After a 7-yard rush, an incompletion, a conversion on third-and-3 and a 15-yard personal foul penalty, Greene’s 31-yard touchdown to junior wide receiver Miguel Montanez plus sophomore Shaddrick Lowery’s two-point conversion made it 14-7 at halftime.
“[The running game] helped a lot because you have to start out with the run to execute the pass,” said Greene, who went 12 for 21 with 172 yards and two touchdowns. “We started out rough, but we had to get it and we got it.”
In the second half, the Spartans recovered an onside kick and capitalized six plays later on Lowery’s 6-yard touchdown run with 9:17 left in the third.
On the following drive, Lowery found the end zone again — this time from 1-yard out — as all 43 yards during the possession came on the ground. Hollywood Hills tallied 245 rushing yards as a team.
South Broward finally answered on its next drive, which took six plays, culminating on Burns’ second rushing touchdown of the game from the 1-yard line with 8:15 to go in the fourth. Burns also went 10 of 22 with 113 yards as a passer.
Hollywood Hills sophomore Donavan Henderson, who finished with a game-high 133 yards on 17 carries, collected his first touchdown from 16 yards out with 3:26 remaining in the game to cap the scoring.
“It means we’re 1-0 and tied for the district,” Lang said. “We’re tied with Plantation in districts. It feels good. We’ve got two weeks to prepare for them.”