Several of Miami-Dade County’s best running backs have delivered signature performances over the years by taking over a game not only on offense, but on defense as well.
James Cook did that on Friday night almost single-handedly leading Miami Central to a 26-13 comeback win over Miami Carol City at Traz Powell Stadium.
A night after Cook committed to the University of Georgia, Cook intercepted Carol City quarterback Marlon Smith in the fourth quarter three times, returning two for touchdowns.
And the one he didn’t return, set up his nine-yard touchdown run out of the Wildcat formation for a touchdown.
"He reminds me so much of his brother (former Florida State and now Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin) and played a game like his brother would have done tonight," Central coach Roland Smith said. "We think he’s the best in the state, one of the best in the nation and should be Player of the Year. To make an impact on both sides of the ball the way he did was amazing and we really needed it tonight for sure."
Cook’s first interception return covered 95 yards and tied the game at 13 with 8:36 left. After his second set up the go-ahead score, his third iced the outcome as he returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.
The win could move Central into the No. 5 seed in Region 4-6A which would mean it would travel to Fort Lauderdale to face Dillard in the first round. Carol City, if it is the sixth seed would likely have to travel either to Daytona to play Mainland in round 1 or Palm Bay to play Heritage.
PARRISH SPARKS COLUMBUS
Whenever Columbus’ offense has needed to find its rhythm usually it’s been Henry Parrish, Jr. that provides the spark.
Parrish, Jr. is only a sophomore.
But he’s already well on his way to joining the long-standing tradition of top-notch running backs in Columbus history.
Parrish, Jr. turned in another impressive performance on Friday night at Tropical Park as he rushed for 115 yards on 15 carries, ran for a touchdown and caught another to help the Explorers beat Coral Gables 21-7 and secure the District 14-8A championship.
Parrish is averaging 7.4 yards per carry this season and has 750 yards on 101 carries with 12 rushing touchdowns. Parrish is third in Miami-Dade County in yards behind only Belen’s Don Chaney, Jr. and Monsignor Pace’s Tyrone Douglas.
Parrish is also third in the county in scoring with 15 overall touchdowns behind Chaney, Jr. and Miami High’s Johnny Ford.
“Honestly, I give all the credit to my offensive linemen,” Parrish, Jr. said. “I just want to thank them and the fellowship that we have.”
South Dade cemented its playoff status and likely denied defending 8A state champion Southridge a chance at repeating as the District 16-8A champions with a 14-7 win over the Spartans Friday night at Harris Field.
The Buccaneers (7-1) forced a three-way tie with Southridge and Palmetto at the top of the district.
But unlike past years, under the new Florida High School Athletic Association’s playoff qualifying format the winner will be decided by who finishes the regular season with the highest points average.
Entering the week, Palmetto (41.71) had the highest among the three teams with South Dade (38.86) next and then Southridge (38.17). If the seeds hold, Palmetto would win the district title and likely earn the top seed in Region 4-8A.
However, the Bucs could vault Southridge and earn the fifth seed in the region. The Spartans would drop to the sixth or even possibly the seventh seed. Homestead holds the eighth seed, which would give District 16-8A four playoff-bound teams.
▪ FIFC North championship Somerset Academy 62, Boca Christian 21: Quarterback Ryle Aguila completed 21 of 30 passes for 504 yards and seven touchdowns, and ran for 42 yards and two more touchdowns. Senior Kareem Ritch caught eight passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns. Devaun Watson, Tyler Foster and Aarmando McGhee also caught touchdowns. Mathew McCausland, Joey Lancia and Watson led Somerset (8-1) on defense with 24 tackles combined. Brandon Virgilio had an interception.
▪ FIFC South championship - Palmer Trinity 36, Palm Glades Prep 24: Junior Arturo Alvarez with eight tackles and two sacks to lead the Falcons (6-3). Freshman JC Corbo and junior John Malloy each had two touchdowns. The Falcons will play Somerset Academy for the FIFC championship next Friday.
▪ American Heritage 44, Hallandale 0: Cameron Smith ran for two touchdowns and completed 6 of 8 passes for 102 yards and threw a touchdown pass. Joel Wilson had eight tackles and a sack. Nesta Silvera had six tackles and a sack and Tyson Campbell had an interception.
▪ St. Thomas Aquinas 35, Blanche Ely 6: Daniel Carter ran for 97 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Raiders (7-1). Trenell Troutman and Semar Melvin each had an interception and Al Blades, Jr. recovered a fumble.
▪ Cardinal Gibbons 46, Stranahan 6: Nik Scalzo completed 14 of 24 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown to lead the Chiefs (7-1) to the district win.
▪ Archbishop McCarthy 28, Northeast 6: Jesse Rivera completed 13 of 19 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. Bralon Brown had five receptions for 71 yards and Denzel Simmon rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown. Gino Sandora led the Mavericks defense with nine tackles.
▪ Gulliver 37, La Salle 7: David Guillou ran for 157 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Christian Hoyos made 3 of 3 field goals and all four extra points.
▪ Cypress Bay 36, Everglades 14: Justice Johnson ran for 122 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Ricky Malcolm caught four passes for 120 yards and three touchdowns. Marlon Serbin completed 10 of 14 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns.
▪ Monsignor Pace 49, Keys Gate 0: In a position to nail down their first playoff berth in seven years, the Spartans (6-1) rolled up 513 yards of offense (380 rushing, 133 passing) in the running clock rout. Pace had three different runners, Tyrone Douglas (113), Willie Floyd (103) and Ki’Sean Bullard (101) cross the century mark in rushing yards while Bullard recorded three interceptions on the defensive side of the ball.
▪ Douglas 18, Monarch 15: The Eagles ran for 241 yards as a team led by Jordan Gray’s 110 yards on 17 carries.
▪ Coral Springs 13, Taravella 6: Michael Jarrett ran for 156 yards on 20 carries to lead the Colts. David Brown had two interceptions, one of which he returned 100 yards for a touchdown.
▪ North Broward Prep 21, Pine Crest 20: The Eagles rallied from a 12-0 halftime deficit on a pair of touchdown passes from Christian Paillet to receiver Kevin Austin. Daniel Parker scored the game-winning touchdown on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter.
▪ Calvary Christian 38, Westminster Academy 13: Robbie Evans ran for 220 yards and a touchdown to lead the Eagles.
▪ More scores: Booker T. Washington 42, Orlando Evans 20; Coral Springs Charter 42, Boca St. Andrews 32; Braddock 33, Coral Reef 0; Chaminade-Madonna 70, Flanagan 0; Miami High 47, Coral Park 7; Cooper City 28, Fort Lauderdale 21; North Miami Beach 46, Hialeah Gardens 8; Ferguson 40, Varela 14; Belen 43, Southwest 0; Dillard 21, Boynton Beach 5; Boyd Anderson 14, McArthur 6; South Broward 35, Hollywood Hills 7; Jackson 20, Coconut Creek 14; Krop 12, American 8; Mater Academy 40, Westland Hialeah 6; Doral 49, Mourning 0; Reagan 17, Sunset 14; Oxbridge 69, Everglades Prep 12; HML 20, Miami Beach 18; Fort Lauderdale 35, Coral Glades 34 (OT); Westwood 7, Pompano Beach 0.
▪ District 16: Reagan’s boys and Krop’s girls each took home the district titles. Junior Christopher Pena led the Bison boys by bowling a 599. Michael Kopel led Krop’s boys, who were the runners-up, with a score of 581.