Coral Gables coach Roger Pollard said his team is still learning how to handle success.
But with Greg Howell running the ball the way he has been and their defense continually shutting down opponents, the Cavaliers are finding ways to win even without playing their best football.
Howell ran for 207 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, and Coral Gables recorded its third shutout of the season with a 35-0 victory over South Miami at Tropical Park on Thursday night.
Coral Gables (5-0, 2-0 in District 14-8A), ranked No. 16 in the Miami Herald’s South Florida Top 20 poll, did not allow a touchdown for the fourth time this season.
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“We’ve been stressing to the kids that chasing success is easy, but keeping it is the hardest part,” Pollard said. “Our effort wasn’t where it needed to be at the start of this game. We might have been looking ahead a little bit, but we ended up where we wanted to be.”
Coral Gables committed 15 penalties for 152 yards and sputtered on its first drive.
Howell didn’t let South Miami (3-2, 1-1) slow him down, rushing for 107 yards on 15 carries in the first quarter and breaking a 29-yard touchdown run to give the Cavaliers a 14-0 lead. Howell later added an 11-yard score.
Howell has rushed for 839 yards and seven touchdowns on 114 carries through five games ranking him No. 1 in Miami-Dade County heading into Friday’s games.
“We have to recognize that if we do everything we’re supposed to be doing no one can stop us,” Howell said. “We have to stick to what we do.”
Coral Gables defense did the rest sacking South Miami’s quarterbacks Patrick Coats and Oscar Piloto a combined six times.
Mark Wynn had a 55-yard interception return that set up a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Kadeem Norris also scooped up a fumble and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown. Dijion Smith and Mike Keino each had touchdown runs.
Gables’ receiver Antiwone Johnson had a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown nullified by a penalty but finished with a game-high five catches for 63 yards.
The Cavaliers take on Killian on Thursday at Tropical Park.