Davie University School’s football team entered Traz Powell Stadium confident it could contend with national powerhouse Miami Central.
The Rockets quickly showed the Suns otherwise.
Under an often torrential downpour, Central dominated University School behind its running game and defense to secure a 28-3 victory in the regular-season finale for both teams.
“This was a great victory before the playoffs against a team like U-School,” Central coach Roland Smith said. “It was raining a lot, but we were able to do what we do well, and that’s run the football.”
The Rockets (8-1), ranked No. 4 nationally by USA Today, thrived in the rain behind their running backs Dalvin Cook and Joseph Yearby.
Cook scored three touchdowns and ran for 136 yards on 19 carries. Yearby ran for 177 yards on 20 carries as the Suns (8-2), ranked 24th by USA Today, gave up 414 total yards (317 rushing).
Central’s only defeat this season came against Miami Booker T. Washington, the nation’s consensus top-ranked team. University could potentially face Booker T. in the second round of the playoffs.
The Suns, who open the playoffs Friday hosting Miami Gulliver Prep, played their second nationally ranked opponent in the past three weeks.
The glaring deficiency in each game has been an inability to stop the run.
Against Bradenton Manatee, University allowed nearly 300 yards rushing.
“We feel good about our team because we kind of smell the playoffs now,” Smith said. “We counted this one as a playoff game, really.”
Central’s defense made life just as difficult for University’s offense.
The Rockets allowed only 100 yards, including 29 rushing. Suns senior quarterback Sean White was limited to 7-of-22 passing for 71 yards and an interception. Star running back Jordan Scarlett managed only 48 yards on 12 carries.
That turnover came early in the fourth quarter when Olin Cushion recorded his fifth interception of the season, setting up Cook’s second touchdown to give Central a 21-3 lead.
Central, which opens the playoffs Friday at Traz against Boynton Beach, put constant pressure on White, sacking him four times as well.
“We just told the kids we do our talking on the field,” Smith said. “We know all the antics they do and the talking, and any time you play one of the top teams in Broward County you want to represent your own county well. This one was for Dade County.”
In addition to county bragging rights, Smith said the Rockets also played inspired football in honor of two of their coaches.
Defensive coordinator Max Edwards suffered a heart attack earlier this week. Edwards was at the game Saturday, but has been told by doctors not to coach the remainder of the season. Smith said offensive coordinator A.J. Snipes was grieving his mother-in-law, who passed away earlier this week.
“We wanted to dedicate this one to our coaches,” Smith said. “We won this one for them.”
MIAMI CENTRAL 28,
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL 3
CEN-Cook 10 run (Piraquive kick)
US-FG Dirocco 35
CEN-Reed 1 run (kick failed)
CEN-Cook 2 run (Yearby run)
CEN-Cook 13 run (Piraquive kick)
Rushing (att-yds) -- US: White 7-(-28), DiRocco 1-(-12), Hunt 4-21, Scarlett 12-48. MC: Adams 1-0, Reed 4-4, Cook 19-136, Yearby 20-177.
Passing (comp-att-int, yds)-- US: White 7-22-1, 71. MC: Reed 5-8-0, 97.
Receiving (rec-yds-TD) -- US: Bruce 1-9, Hunt 2-13, Brown 2-17, Taylor 2-32. MC: Hester 1-6, Vigille 1-7, Brown, Jr. 1-37, Phillips 2-47.