Darryel Bethune Jr. proudly held a garnet-and-gold hammer as he walked off the field Thursday at Tropical Park.
Bethune said the tool is a symbolic reward for hard week exhibited the prior week in practice.
If Bethune keeps running the football like he did Thursday, it’s going to be hard for any other Miami Springs players to take it from him.
“The hammer is something new we brought to the school this season,” said Bethune, who has a scholarship offer to Florida A&M University. “One of our seniors, David Bradley, won it the first week. I worked hard for it this week, so it’s up to somebody else to win it next.”
Never miss a local story.
Bethune, a senior, ran for 150 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and, along with a stellar defensive effort, helped Miami Springs blank South Miami 29-0 in a rain-soaked district contest.
Miami Springs (3-1, 3-0 District 16-7A) is one of three undefeated teams along with Mater Academy (2-0, 2-0) and Sunset (2-1, 2-0), which are scheduled to play Friday and Saturday, respectively, atop the district standings entering the week.
Bethune’s father, Darryel Sr., has been the architect of a major turnaround for the Golden Hawks over the past three-plus seasons.
A 1-9 season in 2012 that capped a three-year period in which Miami Springs had only three wins.
With Thursday’s victory, Miami Springs improved to 18-6 since that season — a run that included a first-round playoff appearance in 2013. That year, the Golden Hawks snapped an 18-year drought of not making the playoffs.
Last season, Miami Springs finished third in its district behind American and Mater Academy and failed to reach the playoffs despite finishing 8-2. Following the Florida High School Athletic Association’s district realignment in January, Miami Springs joined a new nine-team district.
After a solid offseason, Springs entered the 2015 campaign considered one of the contenders for the district title.
Led by Bethune, Springs ran for 230 yards as a team on Thursday. Senior Keidon Wallace also had 52 yards and a touchdown.
“Darryel set the tone for us and along with Keidon,” the elder Bethune said. “They give us a pretty good thunder-and-lightning, one-two punch back there. Our offensive line is getting better and better.”
Its defense allowed only 26 yards and forced two turnovers.
Although the running game has been stable, coach Bethune said the team is still figuring out its quarterback situation. Springs rotated three quarterbacks — senior David Bradley Jr., sophomore Terrence Craig and junior DeAndre Miles.
Bradley seemed to give the Hawks the biggest spark, rushing for an 18-yard touchdown late in the first half that gave them a 16-0 lead.
“We’re a little young at quarterback, so we’re going to keep developing those guys and work out of our running game,” the coach said. “I like our quarterbacks, they just need to keep working hard and developing.”