What was supposed to be a big showdown for first place bragging rights in District 16-7A turned into anything but that Friday night as American blew out to a 30-point second-quarter lead and wound up cruising past previously undefeated Miami Springs, 33-14, at Milander Stadium.
The victory moved the Patriots to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the district while Springs fell to 6-1, 3-1. American is now tied for first in the district with Mater Academy who they will face off with in two weeks. Springs and Mater will meet next week in what will ultimately turn into three teams for two playoff spots.
“Coming out and executing the way we did, they (Springs) started doing a little jaw-jacking early and I tell everybody that I love it when the opposing teams talk to my guys because when that happens, my kids get really focused,” said American head coach Antony White. “We came out and everybody was focused and the kids went out and executed.”
The American offense, led by running back Jeremiah Pierce-Johnson, wasted little time impressing their coach as the Patriots took the opening kickoff and tore through the Springs defense going 72 yards in just seven plays with Pierce-Johnson carrying the ball on six of the seven plays, going the final 10 yards for a score and 7-0 lead.
Following the kickoff, on Springs’ second offensive play of the night, safety Antoine Webster jumped a rout and picked off Gerald Anderson and returned it 32 yards for a score and a two-touchdown lead.
Eventually the Patriots would build the lead to 30-0 before a late Springs touchdown just before halftime.
With the big lead, the Patriots got a little sloppy in the second half and lost their edge but their first-half offensive push proved to be more than enough.
“It was a great win because they (Springs players) were definitely talking early on and our coaches tell us all the time that an empty wagon makes a lot of noise so we just went out there, kept our mouths shut and let our play on the field do the talking,” said Pierce-Johnson, who finished the night with 84 yards on 17 carries and the one score. “We just have to keep it going. We’ve put ourselves in good position with the win tonight, but we still have more business to take care of with Mater in two weeks.”