Anthony Arguelles threw for 133 yards and a touchdown and ran for 100 yards as Columbus’ running game never let up in a 28-14 win over South Dade on Thursday night in a Region 4-8A semifinal at Tropical Park.
The Explorers (10-1) advanced to play either Miami High or Southridge next Friday at 1 p.m. at Tropical in the regional finals. Those two teams play their regional semifinal on Friday night at Southridge at 7:30 p.m.
Columbus advanced to its fifth regional final in the past seven seasons. The Explorers have not faced Southridge, the reigning Class 8A state champions, this season but beat Miami High 21-20 in a close game on Sept. 29.
“Either way we have to show up and play a great game next week,” Columbus coach Chris Merritt said. “If you’re going to win a state championship, you’ll do so with your defense.”
Arguelles, a senior, is in his first year as Columbus’ starter and continues to prove himself a two-way threat in the Explorers’ offense. Arguelles, whose older brother, Andy, was the school’s star pitcher in recent years leading that program to a state title, ranks in the top five in Miami-Dade County in passing this season.
Arguelles is also a relief pitcher for Columbus’ baseball team.
“I don’t want to run him always the way we run him, but it’s a strong part of his game,” Merritt said. “He made some great reads tonight and he pulled the ball and ran it when he had to. He ran our offense well tonight and I don’t think we had a 3-and-out the whole night.”
In addition to Arguelles, sophomore Henry Parrish, Jr. continued his stellar season running for 178 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown.
Columbus had two interceptions by Demetries Ford and Courtney Holmes to stop key South Dade drives.
South Dade’s Dervon Marius recovered a fumble and returned it 5 yards for a touchdown to cut Columbus’ lead to 20-14 with 2:26 left in the fourth.
But after a failed onside kick that Columbus recovered Parrish broke loose for a 53-yard run that set up a 1-yard touchdown run on the next play.
South Dade junior Tyrique Stevenson led the Bucs (9-2) on defense with several tackles, an interception. He had a second interception nullified by a penalty that proved costly in the first half.
▪ MAST 1, Mater Lakes 0: Carmen Martinez goal, Valerie Otalora shutout. MAST (3-1).
▪ Palmer Trinity School Preseason Classic — SLAM 65, Northwest Christian 27: Marta Franco 17 points, Jannaria Sandord 11 points, Vivian Chirino 8 points.