With neighborhood rival and district foe Sunset High off to a 2-0 start, one Varela assistant coach said in the pregame: “We have to smack them in the mouth.”
That they did.
With Anthony Guevara running for 212 yards and four touchdowns on 13 carries out of Varela’s triple option, the Vipers (2-1, 1-0 District 15-8A) overpowered Sunset 38-12 on Thursday night at Tropical Park and spoiled what could have been Sunset’s first district win since 2010 and first 3-0 start.
“We felt that if we pounded them, we’d wear them out and they’d give in,” Varela coach Carlos Mollinedo said. “We wore them out, we controlled the clock and we made big plays.”
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Varela put Sunset (2-1, 0-1) down early, scoring on the second play from scrimmage — a 25-yard touchdown run by Guevara. Guevara then ran in three touchdowns in the second half, his final two going for 52 and 65 yards.
“He works his tail off in practice,” Mollinedo said. “He’s got good vision, and he’s got really good patience. He doesn’t look like he’s running fast, but when he gets it going, he turns it on.”
The Vipers also scored in the second quarter on a tipped pass in the end zone that ricocheted to receiver Andrew Williams.
While Guevara scored the touchdowns, Julian Harris was the workhorse, rushing 18 times for 77 yards. Varela also recovered three fumbles.
Sunset scored twice in the fourth quarter, with touchdown runs by quarterback Ludavic Saintvil, who finished with 123 yards on 11 carries.
▪ American 40, Goleman 0: A heavy preseason favorite to win District 16-7A, American made sure the message was sent loud and clear as the Patriots routed Goleman at Milander Stadium in the district opener for both teams.
American (2-1, 1-0) was led by quarterback Joshua Cartwright, who completed 12 of 17 passes for 222 yards while firing touchdown passes of 65 yards to Anthony Taylor, 50 to Darius Alexander and 20 to James Banks.
Cartwright’s 65-yard strike to Taylor came on the game’s second play, and when Jeremiah Pierce-Johnson bolted 56 yards for a score on their second possession to make it 14-0 it appeared the rout was on. But the American offense got bogged down after that and led just 17-0 at the half thanks to a Diego Arcon 30-yard field goal to close out the half.
After a safety, the Patriots started to create space midway through the third when Cartwright found Alexander for the 50-yard score and then tacked on two touchdowns in the fourth, the final score coming when Alex Garcia scooped up a blocked punt and rambled 30 yards with six minutes left to initiate a running clock.
Goleman, which fell to 0-4, 0-1, was led by running back Tory Myers, who finished with 90 yards on 20 carries.
▪ Killian 43, Coral Reef 0: The Cougars picked up a District 16-8A victory over the Barracudas at Harris Field.
Killian (4-0, 1-0) was shut out in the first quarter but scored 23 in the second. Two of the scores came on runs by sophomore Bentavious Thompson.
Jaquan Johnson scored on a 50-yard punt return late in the first half, and a field goal by Daniel Shojaeinia as time expired put the Cougars up 23-0 at halftime.
Quarterback Antwan Collier scored all three of Killian’s second-half touchdowns on short runs. Collier passed for 183 yards. Thompson rushed for 108 yards on 13 carries.
Coral Reef (1-3, 0-1) was led by Jawon Hamilton, who rushed for 38 yards.
▪ Pembroke Pines Charter 21, Coral Glades 7: Sophomore running back Javon Eaton, who sat out the entire first half, rushed for 179 yards on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns in the second half as Pines Charter defeated Coral Glades. Eaton scored on runs of 81 yards and 4 yards.
Coral Glades managed to stay in the game in the first half because of its defense. Emmanuel Lewis led Coral Glades with six tackles and three tackles for loss. He also stepped in front of a pitch and created a turnover. Santos Rivera chipped in with three tackles and a sack for Coral Glades (0-3, 0-1). Linebacker Michael Rispoli picked off a pass thrown by Kevin Gonzalez in the second quarter that killed a Pines Charter drive in the end zone.
Timothy Deater had three receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown to lead Coral Glades. Dion Gonzalez-Laporte had four catches for 23 yards, all in the first half. Michael Delello was the leading rusher for Coral Glades with 33 yards on six carries.
The start of the game was delayed almost two hours because of lightning in the area.
▪ North Miami Beach vs. Krop, ppd. (weather): The game between North Miami Beach and Krop was postponed and will be restarted at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Traz Powell Stadium. The game was suspended in the second quarter.