Archie Banton passed for four touchdowns to lead Plantation over South Plantation, 46-7, in the annual Mayor’s Cup game Friday night at Sandra Darr Athletic Field. Banton finished the night completing 10-of-17 passes for 118 yards with no interceptions.
“Archie is really starting to become a complete quarterback,” Plantation coach Steve Davis said after the game. “He is starting to grow into his own person and he makes the right adjustments at the right times.”
Plantation (7-3) will travel to American next week for the first round of the playoffs.
Davis believes that his team is peaking at the right time.
“It’s all starting to come together for us and it could not have happened at a better time,” Davis said. “I anticipate a good week of practice coming up and these kids will be ready for anything that comes their way.”
The Colonels (7-3) set the tone early as running back Maurquise Flowers scored on a 24-yard run on their second play from scrimmage. Flowers scored two touchdowns on the night and lead both teams with 181 yards on 15 carries. Plantation rushed for 329 yards as a team and dominated the line of scrimmage.
“My offensive line held their blocks and the coaches called a good game that let me do the most that I could do for my team,” Flowers said. “After last week’s game (a loss to St. Thomas), we needed this type of win heading into the playoffs.”
South Plantation tied the score at 7-7 on its next drive, but would get no closer. Johnny Huntley scored on a brilliant 10-yard pass from senior Mike Mele that saw Huntley wrestle the ball away from cornerback Justin Lyle. The drive was set up initially by Ronald Kennedy’s 65-yard kickoff return that put the Paladins deep in the Colonels’ red zone.
Banton responded on the next drive with a 14-yard strike to Antuan Haynes to make the score, 14-7. On the next drive, Banton hit Yvon St. Louis in the end zone with a 6-yard pass to put the Colonels in control at 20-7, still in the first quarter.
St. Louis would only catch two passes on the night, but they both went for Plantation touchdowns.
Shortly thereafter Mele was sacked by the Colonels’ front seven and the ball was recovered by Jaquan Bush, who rambled 28 yards and scored a defensive touchdown for Plantation. The two-point conversion failed and the Colonels held a commanding 26-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Colonels relied on the big play as they scored on a 61-yard run and a screen pass that went for 48 yards to lead 40-7 at the intermission.
Jordan Johnson, who gave Flowers a breather early in the second quarter, took the hand off from Banton and raced for the Colonels score. Finally, Banton tossed his third score of the first half when he found Flowers on a middle screen that resulted in the touchdown. Flowers outran the entire Paladin secondary.
“I saw that end zone and all of that green grass and I was not going to be denied,” Flowers said. “Once I caught it, I knew I was taking it to the house.”
Banton said that it was a designed play that they worked on this week in practice.
“I tried to draw the linebackers in and make it look like a bootleg of some type,” Banton said. “When I drew them in, it left Maurquise wide open in the flat and I knew that they would not catch him.”
In his final game, Mele completed 14-of-24 passes for 132 yards and a score. He was also intercepted in the third quarter.
Huntley was South Plantation’s leading receiver on the night as he caught eight passes for 96 yards.
The Paladins (4-5) were also led by Ronald Kennedy who rushed for 61 yards on 14 carries.