It was a foregone conclusion that Coral Gables would be playoff bound after last week’s district win against Miami High, but the Cavaliers made it official with a 54-0 mauling of winless Coral Park on Saturday afternoon at Tropical Park.
Amir Rasul ran for 195 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries, and Coral Gables clinched the runnerup playoff spot in District 14-8A. The Cavaliers (6-2, 3-1) will face District 13-8A champion North Miami in the first round.
Despite taking a step toward a coveted state title, there’s still a bitter taste in coach Roger Pollard’s mouth over losses to Columbus and Killian earlier this season.
“Honestly, it still sucks. We’re looking at two games that we feel like we were in good position to win, and we lost them,” Pollard said. “We’ve got to work on some things. We’re not crisp right now.”
If the Cavs advance past North Miami, they could see a rematch with district champ Columbus in regional semifinals and could even meet Killian again if both teams reach the regional finals.
Rasul rumbled for a pair of 5-yard scores in the first half and then had two highlight-reel touchdowns in the second half that went for 39 and 59 yards.
“I’d like to think it’s my best game,” said Rasul, a 6-foot, 200-pound junior. “The middle of the field was wide open, and once we got to the second half, I wanted to exploit it.”
Shaquery Wilson added a 40-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and quarterback Voshon Waiters had two touchdowns through the air — one to Dae’Mhun Fuller and another to Jaylin Clark-McNatte.
The Gables defense recorded its third shutout of the season.
Coral Park linebacker Rafael Rodriguez sustained a freak injury on the final play of the first half. About a quarter of his left middle finger was cut off when he got it caught in an opponent’s equipment on a crackback block. He was treated by trainers and paramedics before being taken away in an ambulance, and the portion of his finger was recovered on the field by a coach during halftime.
The Cavaliers face a quick turnaround for their final district game against Miami Beach on Thursday.
▪ Ransom Everglades 40, Miami Country Day 0:
Ransom Everglades quarterback Eduardo Garcia-Montes got the rare opportunity to play defense in his senior season and is making the most of it. Garcia-Montes threw three touchdowns and flashed his rare two-way skills by returning an interception 35 yards for a touchdown as the host Raiders beat Miami Country Day.
The pick six was the latest big defensive play from Garcia-Montes, who has two fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown, as a free safety.
Garcia-Montes said that after years of lobbying Ransom coaches to play defense, he still had to prove he could play the safety position.
“After we lost a lot of seniors last season, the position opened up for me,” Garcia-Montes said. “This year the coaches finally gave me a chance. I still prefer quarterback, but playing free safety is a lot of fun. I’m the last line of defense.”
Garcia-Montes hooked up with Spencer Williams on a 22-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring, added two more touchdown strikes, before he returned an interception to give the Raiders a 21-0 lead in the third quarter.
▪ Miami Central 23, Carol City 16: Miami Central avoided an upset and clinched the District title with the victory against rival Carol City.
The game was a back and forth affair, as no team led by more then four points till the final minute of the game when the Rockets pulled away with Beymar Piraquive’s third field goal of the day.
Da’Vante Philips was the key player offensively for the Rockets, finishing with five receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Philips was key during a crucial drive in the third quarter when the Rockets were down. He had back-to-back receptions of over 20 yards which led to Rockets taking the lead.
▪ Palmer Trinity 55, Pinecrest Prep 6: Dylan DiBello finished 10 of 12 for 227 yards and three touchdowns as Palmer Trinity cruised past visiting Pinecrest Prep.
Trinity blew the game open with a 29 second-quarter points to take a commanding 42-0 halftime lead.
Andrew Beauperthuy opened the scoring for Trinity with a 5-yard touchdown run before DiBello found Pablo Pedroso from 60 yards out. Pedroso found the end zone again, this time on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Chumbley and Trinity never looked back.
PRESEASON GIRLS’ SOCCER
▪ SunSational Pre-season Classic: University School 6, Miami Carrollton 0: Jordan Perez 4 goals.