After previously blowing a 17-point lead against Belen and nearly surrendering a 21-point advantage over Miami High, Southwest was in a similar predicament against upstart district foe Sunset.
But Trevon Sands’ interception in the end zone as time expired lifted Southwest past Sunset 20-14 in a game that saw two lightning delays at Tropical Park.
Up 20-7, Southwest (4-1, 1-1 District 15-8A) turned the ball over deep in its own territory on a high snap and allowed Sunset quarterback Ludavic Saintvil to score on a 9-yard keeper on the ensuing play with 1:54 remaining.
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After a quick stop, Sunset (2-3, 0-2) then took over at its own 25-yard line with 29.9 seconds to go and got in scoring position with a 39-yard pass from Saintvil to Julian Noriega and a 13-yard Saintvil run to set up the final chance with 5.6 seconds on the clock.
Southwest, the preseason favorite to win the district, barely edged out a team that hasn’t won a district game since 2010.
“We’ve established ourselves as a winning program,” Southwest coach Tim Neal said. “It’s about coming together as a team, fighting together, finishing together, finishing strong.”
Southwest quarterback Deundre Pickett-White completed 7 of 18 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns after missing on eight of his first nine throws and momentarily leaving the game with a shoulder injury on his throwing arm.
Sands rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown, and Saintvil carried 15 times for 126 yards for the Knights.