Hallandale safety John Battle says he and his Chargers teammates have the same goal every week.
“We want to hit 70,” said Battle, a 6-2, 180-pound senior committed to LSU since late June.
The Chargers didn’t score 70 points Thursday night at Coconut Creek. They didn’t put up a 50-spot either — something they did in their first four victories.
But Hallandale (5-0, 2-0 in District 15-6A) came close, using a 25-point outburst late in the first half to produce a 46-13 victory over the Cougars (2-3, 0-2) despite turning the ball over five times and being penalized for 145 yards.
“For us to be spoken about with the elite teams in Dade and Broward County, we’ve got to clean up those mistakes,” said coach Dameon Jones, whose team is averaging 52.8 points a game, more than any other team in South Florida.
“The penalties — some of them have been phantom and some of them we have to work on. But I’m proud of our kids. We just got to keep fighting. We’re young.”
Hallandale sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley, who battled his way through a decent freshman season (90 of 190 for 1,305 yards, 12 TDs ,11 INTs), once again lit up the scoreboard. He opened the game with a 49-yard touchdown pass to junior Richie Cooper on the very first play and finished 5-of-13 passing for 209 yards and four touchdowns.
Cooper caught two of those TD passes and sophomore Nshaka Neru (5-11, 170) caught the other two, scoring on 44- and 62-yard pass plays.
Through five games Huntley is 45 of 71 passing for 982 yards, 19 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
“Being able to play as a freshman and then this year, everything has slowed down for him,” Jones said.
“I’ve been planning a good start since the off-season,” Huntley said. “I’m ready to throw more. Sometimes we stay after practice to work on our timing with the receivers. I just try to be efficient, make sure our guys are running the right routes. No mistakes.”
Despite the hot start, the score was tied at 7 with under five minutes to play in the first half when a few Cougars mistakes helped open the flood gates.
Coconut Creek punter Alain Blair bobbled a snap and Hallandale linebacker scooped it up and returned it 26 yards for a scored. Leading 13-7, Hallandale got the ball right back and scored easily when the Cougars lined up without a cornerback to cover Neru. He caught the ball in the flat and raced to the end zone untouched.
The half closed with Battle catching a deflected pass at his own 10-yard line and racing 90 yards downfield for a touchdown as time expired in the first half.
“That’s how it’s been every week. We come out flat and then the doggone switch comes on and it’s boom,” Jones said. “Being young I’m trying to get to the point where we just come out with that boom from the start.”