The “Hydroelectric” cover to the Miami Herald Broward County high school football preview section seemed fitting from the rain and lightning that delayed the start of Flanagan’s Friday night game to the way the Falcons defense played for most of the night.
The adjective could also describe the way Coconut Creek nearly made a miraculous comeback, scoring twice with under four minutes to play when down by three possessions and emotionally out of it.
It all culminated in a 21-14 victory for Flanagan (2-0) at home in an early-season meeting between two of Broward County’s most talented teams.
Down 21-0 and with a usually upstart offense silenced, Coconut Creek (1-1) finally began putting it together in the final minutes. The Cougars’ first scoring drive ended with quarterback Jhakari Harrison finding Binjimen Victor at the pylon with 3 minutes 49 seconds remaining.
Never miss a local story.
Following a quick stop, Creek was pinned down to the 3-yard line on a well-placed punt, but Harrison launched a pass to Trayvon Mullen that he took 97 yards for a touchdown down the left sideline.
The Cougars’ onside-kick attempt failed, but going to the Wildcat offense, Flanagan had one snap go over the quarterback’s head and could not gain a first down on the next two plays.
The Falcons were forced to punt and turned the ball in to Coconut Creek with 44 seconds remaining and Harrison starting at his own 10-yard line.
The Cougars went as far as the 50 before Harrison’s final heave was intercepted by Jahvari Bourdeau with 0.9 seconds left.
Outside of the late scare, Flanagan flexed its muscles defensively.
Led by Devin Bush Jr., the vaunted “Dirty Birds” defense was ferocious, living in the Coconut Creek backfield, recording nine sacks, intercepting Harrison twice and recovering an early fumble.
Jordan Eubanks and Nikholi Jahgai combined for six of those sacks, and Jahgai forced the fumble that Dennis Jackson recovered.
Stanford Samuels, who normally would play cornerback on that defense but has had to fill in at quarterback for the injured Kato Nelson, scored the game’s first touchdown on the opening drive, scampering for 4 yards through the left side.
Samuels finished with 31 yards on 13 carries while going 4-of-16 passing.
Running back Anthony Johnson’s 28-yard touchdown run appeared to end it with seven minutes remaining before the Cougars went on their late run.
For Coconut Creek, it was the same disappointment it felt while last season — with three U.S. Army All-Americans and several other college prospects — while going 4-6.
Receiver Binjimen Victor had some highlight-reel receptions and a touchdown in his five-catch, 113-yard performance. Mullen, mostly playing cornerback, caught three balls for 121 yards. Harrison threw for 298 yards.
The night started with Samuels jawing back and forth with Mullen during team stretches. There was a distinct tension between the two teams before kickoff, which was delayed 55 minutes because of lightning.
Earlier in the week, the Coconut Creek football Twitter account released a picture of a bracket showing the Cougars defeating Flanagan in the championship round of an offseason 7-on-7 event hosted by UM, with the caption “Already did it once.. Let’s go ‘back to back’ for ppl that didn’t get the message!”