Quarterback Melissa Jara stepped back in the pocket and fired fast to the left, with a beautiful lob over the shoulder of Gabriela Middleton for a 60-yard touchdown Saturday in Archbishop McCarthy’s 24-0 regional final flag football victory over Everglades.
The loss was the Gators (12-1) first this season.
“We just have to stay mentally tough, and focused and just take it one game at a time,” Mavericks coach Chris Cormier said. “The pressure was a big difference in the game. Our team was watching the quarterback’s eyes and rotating, and rolling with the quarterback and when the ball was in the air, we went after it.”
The Mavericks (11-4) led 6-0 at halftime on the strength of Alexis Rivera’s shovel-pass reception. Middleton opened the second half with an interception for a touchdown from the middle linebacker position.
“It was a big play,” said Middleton, who had two interceptions in the game. “The coaches say come out and just play hard and that’s what happened.”
Jara also had a touchdown pass to Christina Harrison in the victory.
The Mavericks play at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Mater Academy for a chance to go to the state quarterfinals.
“We have played mistake free football and been aggressive on defense all season,” Gators coach Steve Bounoutas said. “We gave up our first touchdown in the District 30 championship game to Cypress Bay. Today they moved the ball and picked us apart.”
Senior Deja Coney led the way with three touchdowns, two rushing and one on an interception return, to Creek’s record unblemished at 15-0.
The Cougars will host Delray Beach Atlantic in Tuesday’s Round of 16 at 4 p.m.
“Our heads weren’t in the game early,” Coney said. “Jordin [Gomes] and I had to tell the girls to wake up.”
The Colonels (10-4) delivered the flash knockdown on their first posession after Creek failed to gain a yard in the game’s opening series. Bethany Desarme’s 33-yard pass to Chantel Pivotte, plus Charity Simpson’s catch on the extra point gave Plantation a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
Creek committed a turnover on the ensuing possession before settling down and eventually shutting down Plantation the rest of the way.
“We haven’t experienced too much adversity during the season,” coach Robert Carradine said. “They need to know it’s going to get tougher as we get deeper [into the playoffs].”
Gomes put Creek on the board when she took a lateral from QB Ambresha Long and went 16 yards to the right corner, and Gomes also scored the extra point on the reception for the 7-7 tie.
With Plantation pinned deep in their territory, Rawls picked off a Dasarme pass in the middle and only had to go 4 yards to the end zone for the 14-7 lead, which the Cougars never relinquished with 1:28 left until halftime.
“I think it was a case of our team being happy just to get here,” Plantation coach William Banks said. “We finally won districts last week after finishing runner-up the previous two years. We just couldn’t regain our focus after our score.”
Going with a run-dominated game plan, Rawls capped the scoring with rushes of 2 yards and 1 yard to complete the rout.
The Cougars overcame the absence of standout Kristen Gomes, who was representing the school in the state track meet in Jacksonville.