A goal line stand with less than a minute left in the game lifted Miami High to a victory over the defending state champion Southridge Spartans on Friday night.
Trailing by six points and facing fourth-and-goal at the Miami High 2-yard line, Southridge running back Darren Davis, Jr. took the snap and went right up the middle only to be stuffed at the line of scrimmage for a turnover on downs.
Miami High linebacker Antquan Kinsey was credited with the tackle to secure the victory for the Stingarees.
“We’re a team that walks by faith and we know that someone is going to make a play. It was our turn, our chance to make a play, and we did it,” Miami High coach Sedrick Irvin said.
The Stingarees advance to the third round of the playoffs for first time since 2000 and will take on Columbus in the regional finals on Friday at 1 p.m. at Tropical Park.
Miami High senior athlete Johnny Ford flashed his playmaking ability throughout the game, scoring two rushing touchdowns and setting up the game-winning score with a 70-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter.
Ford finished the game with 112 rushing yards on 18 carries.
“He’s our LeBron James, you have to get him the ball,” Irvin said of Ford. “He’s going to make the play when you need him to.”
The Spartans, trailing 14-0 at halftime, stormed back in the third quarter with back-to-back touchdowns.
Southridge’s offensive push was led by quarterback Michael Cox and wide receiver Mark Pope, who connected for two second half touchdowns for the Spartans.
But costly mistakes, including a fumble deep in their own territory to set up Ford’s second touchdown early in the fourth quarter, ended up being too much for the Spartans to overcome.