Miami Gulliver Prep senior defensive back Antonyo Sotolongo had two interceptions and returned one for a long touchdown in the Raiders’ 27-7 victory against Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna on Friday afternoon at Chaminade’s Vince Zappone Field.
Gulliver Prep’s defense turned a close game at halftime into a blowout, and improved the Raiders’ record to 2-1 with a difficult test against Clewiston next week. Statistically, Chaminade (1-2) finished with fewer than 10 yards of total offense in the second half. Turnovers were a problem for both teams, but Chaminade’s four giveaways were costly.
Sotolongo, the Raiders’ talented safety with offers from the University of Arkansas and other schools, ended the first half with an interception at the Chaminade 5. The play ended the Lions’ most promising drive of the game and protected Gulliver Prep’s 7-0 lead. In the fourth quarter, Sotolongo returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown to put Gulliver Prep ahead 27-0.
“Everyone did a good job of blocking when I needed them most,” Sotolongo said.
Teamwork was a big theme for Gulliver Prep after last week’s 38-0 loss to Delray American Heritage. Raiders coach Earl Sims stressed execution and togetherness throughout the week, and after it was all over he told his team that the impressive second half against Chaminade “should be the beginning of the rest of our season.”
Gulliver Prep converted a fourth-and-3 at its own 35-yard line near the end of the third quarter to extend the game’s pivotal offensive drive. The Raiders scored four plays later when quarterback Jowan Watson found Dontay Mayfield for a 17-yard score. Watson went 6-of-6 in the second half and finished the game 10-of-15 passing for 157 yards to go along with the touchdown and one interception.
“That loss last week really gave us an incentive to come in here as a team and come away with the victory,” Watson said. “The first half we came out flat, but the second half we came together. I saw a lot of difference in the second half.”
Set up by an impressively athletic interception by Gulliver Prep linebacker Devin Osceola, running back Robert Burns’ 17-yard touchdown run gave the Raiders a 20-0 lead with 6:10 left in the fourth quarter. It was Burns who converted the big fourth-down play in the third quarter. He had 84 rushing yards on nine carries in the second half.
“Just looking into the eyes of my offensive linemen, I knew that we were on, and we just tried to go with the momentum and we used that to push through,” said Burns, a sophomore. “Our guys were opening up those little holes, and then it was about finding them and going full speed ahead.”
Chaminade running back Andre Funchess finished with 91 yards rushing on 16 carries, but he left the game in the fourth quarter with an ice wrap around his ribs. The teams combined for seven turnovers. Speedy Marquise Brown of Chaminade gained almost 100 yards on kick returns.