Running back Henry Parrish scored three touchdowns, tight end Michael Cruz-Bustillo added two more and the Columbus defense made pivotal plays throughout the night as the Explorers defeated Coral Gables 36-21 on Friday night at Tropical Park to win their second straight District 14-8A title.
Columbus, which is now a perfect 10-0 in the regular season after Carol City had to forfeit its Sept. 7 win over the Explorers, jumped out to a 21-7 halftime lead bookended by a pair of Parrish touchdown runs and never looked back despite Coral Gables (5-4, 3-1) pushing to within one score twice.
On defense, the Explorers forced a safety in the third quarter and Xzavier Henderson intercepted a pass in the end zone that set up Parrish’s third touchdown of the game.
▪ Hialeah 30, North Miami 21: The Hialeah T-Breds did more than post one of the best seasons in program history under first-year coach Gary Sanchez.
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On Friday night, they became District 13-8A champions after defeating North Miami.
The T-Breds (8-1, 5-0 district) jumped out to a 20-6 halftime lead before holding off a second-half rally from the Pioneers (5-4, 4-1).
Hialeah, despite having a young team and a new coach, made a statement all year. It opened with a 42-0 shutout of Miami Springs and then, after a loss at Gulf Coast, has rattled off seven consecutive wins with only Friday’s game against North Miami being decided by fewer than 10 points.
▪ Deerfield Beach 35, Piper 0: It was a good run by the Piper Bengals this year, but District 11-8A belongs to the Deerfield Bucks.
Deerfield Beach (9-1, 5-0), an annual contender to make it to state whose lone loss this year is to St. Thomas Aquinas, made quick work of Piper (6-3, 4-1) to close out district play undefeated.
Outside of the St. Thomas Aquinas loss, the Bucks have outscored opponents 314-62 this year. That includes a 13-10 win over defending Class 3A state champion Chaminade-Madonna to open the year and a 19-14 win against annual Georgia powerhouse Buford.
▪ Belen Jesuit 56, Southwest 20: Belen wasted no time locking up its fifth consecutive District 15-8A title.
The Wolverines (7-2, 5-0) were led on Friday by Donald Chaney Jr. who ran for 284 yards on 15 carries and had 3 touchdowns. Daniel Esteban also contributed 10 carries for 124 yards and Dorian Gonzalez had 2 touchdown runs.
The Wolverines once again made quick work of their district competition, winning all five games by a combined score of 219-52. Their lone losses this year were its season opener to a good Class 3A Delray American Heritage and 8A state contender Columbus.