South Dade needed a win Friday to stay in the playoff race.
Killian wasted little time eliminating the defending Class 8A state champion from the list of contenders.
Jaquan Johnson’s 58-yard touchdown sweep on the Cougars’ first offensive play exemplified Killian’s own sense of urgency and set the tone for a decisive 14-0 Killian victory over South Dade at Harris Field.
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The Cougars (8-0, 3-0 District 16-8A) secured a playoff berth and will play Southridge (6-2, 3-0) Thursday at the Spartans’ home field for the district championship.
Southridge also clinched a playoff berth with the Killian win.
“We have no room for style points here, and we’ll take wins as they come,” Killian coach Cory Johnson said. “We knew [South Dade] was going to come out with a lot of fight, and it was going to take a big effort to knock them out.”
Killian’s defense, which had five sacks and two interceptions, posted its fourth shutout of the season, and its second against district opponents.
Overall, Killian has allowed nine points or less in six games this season.
“It’s an attitude on this defense,” Johnson said. “It’s not just Jaquan. He is a leader. But we have multiple leaders on this defense. We’ve got a lot of guys that hold their own.”
Trailing 14-0 in the second half after Killian extended its lead on a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Antwan Collier, South Dade (5-3, 1-2) suffered a big setback on offense when its quarterback P.J. Coats suffered an apparent groin injury. Coats slipped while running out of bounds and landed awkwardly. He was later carried off the field by trainers.
The Bucs offense had already suffered a blow this week when star running back Johnnie Hankins’ eligibility ran out this week after going over the age limit to play.
Killian allowed only 73 yards of total offense and no South Dade rusher ran for more than 29 yards.
“I love the way these guys continue to fight, but not just our defense, but our offense, too,” Johnson said. “Those guys are young, and it’s their first year in our system.”
The Cougars had a couple of chances to add more points in the second half but missed two field goals. Killian’s special teams, however, did block a punt in the first quarter.
KIL-J. Johnson 58 run (Shojaeinia kick)
KIL-Collier 6 run (Shojaeinia kick)
Rushing (att-yds) -- KIL: Collier 6-(-16), Herrera 4-18, Johnson 2-64, Thompson 21-121. SD: Flowers 3-(-12), Wiggins 5-21, Coats 14-26, Worthen 11-29.
Passing (comp-att-int, yds)-- KIL: Collier 1-8-0, 6. SD: Coats 1-5-0, 0, Wiggins 0-1-1, 0, Durham 0-2-1, 0.
Receiving (rec-yds-TD) -- KIL: Thompson 1-6. SD: Hinojosa 1-0.