Thanks to a huge first half from junior quarterback Jhakari Harrison, Coconut Creek put itself in the thick of the District 15-6A race by blowing out host Dillard 46-16 at Otis Gray Memorial Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
Although Dillard — the defending district champion — took the initial lead, Harrison quickly turned things around by throwing three first-half touchdowns while running in another as the Cougars led by 19 at halftime and weren’t really threatened.
Coconut Creek, which has won three in a row by a combined 170-40 since dropping its opener, scored 33 unanswered points before Dillard got a 6-yard run from Elgrin Oates late in the third quarter to keep the running clock at bay.
Harrison quickly rallied the Cougars (3-1, 1-0) after they fell behind 7-0. Harrison moved Creek 65 yards in just three plays, capping the swift drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Greene.
In the second quarter, Harrison and Trayvon Mullen hooked up for a 35-yard touchdown to give the Cougars their first lead of the night.
Dillard (2-2, 0-1) moved downfield, but on third-and-4 from the 20, senior quarterback Jason Collins — whose 1-yard run gave Dillard the initial lead — was picked off by Erkine Joseph, who raced up the right sideline. Collins saved the touchdown by shoving Joseph out at the Dillard 16. Harrison plunged in from the 1 just four plays later.
Harrison closed his first-half scoring on Creek’s ensuing possession, hitting Binjimen Victor from 48 yards out with 32 seconds remaining before halftime.
In the opening half, Harrison completed 10 of his 17 passes for 204 yards. Harrison ended up passing for 350 yards and accounted for six touchdowns.
It has been a rough stretch for Dillard as it has lost two in a row after a 2-0 start — including last week’s humbling 61-0 loss at Bradenton’s IMG Academy. Although last week’s loss to the IMG all-star team didn’t affect Dillard’s playoff hopes, Friday’s defeat might have been lethal.
With Hallandale and Boynton Beach still to come, the Panthers needed a win over the Cougars.
Knowing this, Dillard came to play and struck first late in the opening quarter as Collins connected with Deonta Nelson for a 23-yard gain to the 1. Collins polished off the drive by charging up the middle.
Coconut Creek dominated the rest of the first half and remained in control of the game in the second. On Dillard’s second possession of the third quarter, freshman Marquis Williams picked off Collins at the 25 and worked his way into the end zone.
Although Dillard countered with a touchdown of its own with 4:41 left in the third, Harrison wasn’t done as he and Mullen hooked up for another touchdown — this one from 55 yards out.