Southwest has reversed plenty of bad football history in recent years with two district titles and three playoff appearances in its past five seasons.
The Eagles are on pace to get one more of each.
But they are starting to look like a team built for more.
Southwest dominated South Miami on Wednesday night at Tropical Park from the outset of its 48-7 victory to remain undefeated.
Should they win District 15-8A, the Eagles (6-0) are hoping to become the first team from the district — comprised of southwest Miami/Kendall-area teams since 2005 — to win a playoff game.
“This win shows how we’ve built this up as a family,” said Southwest junior quarterback D’Undre Pickett-White, who threw five touchdown passes Wednesday. “We’ve been working hard for three years and we’re ready to make a run in the playoffs.”
Last season, the Eagles lost this same matchup to the Cobras in overtime — their lone regular-season loss.
Southwest is playing like a team that has moved up to another level.
It jumped an upset-minded opponent immediately behind Quindale Corker’s 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Corker, a junior, is part of a defense that has not allowed any of its opponents to score 20 points or more this season. He does his best work on that squad, intercepting a pass on South Miami’s first drive that led to the Eagles’ first offensive score.
That offense is where Eagles’ coach Tim Neal said is the biggest difference.
“Last year, a big problem for us was our offensive line,” Neal said. “We brought in a new coach, Jason Hill, and he’s done a tremendous job working with the kids and helping them get stronger.”
Pickett-White totaled 197 yards, completing 9 of 14 attempts and ran for 61 yards on nine attempts.
A player capable of playing several positions on the field, Pickett-White has blossomed at quarterback, throwing for 1,113 yards and 16 touchdowns to only three interceptions this season.
Then there’s junior Trevon Sands, another versatile player, who on Wednesday showed it by returning a punt 79 yards for a touchdown and catching two of Pickett-White’s touchdown passes to finish with 64 yards receiving.
“The biggest thing my kids showed is their poise and handling all the taunting and showing they are ready for the playoffs,” Neal said. “Pickett-White and Sands are veterans now, and with the improvement of our offensive line, it has made us that much better.”
SOUTH MIAMI 7
SW-Corker 82 kickoff return (Romero kick)
SW-Sands 15 pass from Pickett-White (kick blocked)
SW-Sands 50 pass from Pickett-White (Romero kick)
SW-Jimenez 38 pass from Pickett-White (Romero kick)
SW-Sands 79 punt return (Romero kick)
SM-Piloto 1 run (Izquierdo kick)
SW-Flowers 26 pass from Pickett-White (pass failed)
SW-Safety. C. Brown tackled in end zone.
SW-Flowers 25 pass from Pickett-White (kick failed)
Rushing (att-yds) — SW: Patino 1-(-5), Barnes 1-2, Sands 11-30, Pickett-White 9-61, Paez 4-73. SM: Brown 16-11, Coats 8-19, Roberts 6-47, Piloto 12-82.
Passing (comp-att-int, yds) — SW: Pickett-White 9-14-0, 197. SM: Piloto 1-4-0, -1, Coats 4-11-2, 31.
Receiving (rec-yds-TD) — SW: Smith 1-10, Paez 1-24, Jimenez 2-48, Flowers 2-51, Sands 3-64. SM: Brown 3-10, Washington 2-20.