Dolphins High school Media day at Hard Rock Stadium
Perhaps stinging from a lopsided loss in last year’s regional final to Cardinal Gibbons and an offseason that, in a rarity, saw a few key transfers actually leave instead of arrive, the Plantation American Heritage Patriots might have been out to prove a point or two on Friday night.
Hosting two-time defending Class 3A state champion Chaminade-Madonna, Heritage jumped out to a 14-3 halftime lead and beat the Lions 20-13 in a quick game that not only featured 10-minute quarters but a running clock in the fourth quarter as well.
“We just wanted to come out here and execute tonight,” Heritage coach Patrick Surtain said. “We didn’t play a spring game, so between spring practice and summer, we’ve been going up against ourselves for a long time so the kids were excited to just see somebody on the other side with a different colored jersey.”
Although Heritage looked sloppy at times on offense, one person who did not was quarterback Edwin Rhodes. The senior played three quarters and wound up completing 10-of-15 passes for 143 yards and was responsible for all three touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground.
“We took this as a real game tonight and really wanted to win,” said Rhodes, who at the moment is a Tennessee State commit but could entertain more offers down the road. “I just wanted to go out there and ball. I’m ready to go and ready to lead my team.”
Said Surtain: “Edwin’s a four-year guy who has been here and bought into the systems and we’re expecting big things out of him this season.
“We’re giving him the keys to the Mercedes, and he certainly ran with it tonight. I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that he’s one of the best quarterbacks in Florida. He makes all the right decisions, he’s mobile, accurate and gets the job done for us. We’re only going to go as far as he takes us.”
Heritage, which will host Monsignor Pace in its regular-season opener next week, overcame some mistakes early on. After Joseph Carlson fumbled at his own 25 on the Patriots’ first play from scrimmage, the Heritage defense responded by pushing the Lions back and forcing a long field goal that was no good.
One series later, Chaminade’s Micheal Edwards broke through and blocked and recovered a Heritage punt at the 15. But, again, the Pats defense didn’t budge, eventually forcing an Andres Borragales’ 27-yard field goal and 3-0 Lions lead.
Rhodes then went to work, driving Heritage downfield and, on third-and-goal from the 20, found Jacolby Spells wide open over the middle for a touchdown.
One series later, Rhodes led his team on a 10-play, 55-yard drive, scoring from 15 yards when he couldn’t find anybody open and took off running up the middle.
After Chaminade cut Heritage’s lead to 14-10 on a 10-yard Thaddius Franklin touchdown (Franklin was the game’s leading rusher with 132 yards on 16 carries), Rhodes led the Patriots right back. On third-and-4 from the Lions’ 32, he found Douglas Emilen streaking down the left side and hit him in stride for the score and a 20-10 lead.
Another field goal by Borragales cut the margin to seven, and the Lions actually reached the Heritage 15 with two minutes left. But a sack and fumble recover by Richard Thomas ended the issue.