A showdown between two unbeaten private school football powers, one from Dade and one from Broward, was supposed to be close on Friday night.
But Gulliver Prep had other ideas.
Traveling to North Fort Lauderdale to take on Calvary Christian in front of a big crowd, the Raiders dominated from start to finish as they mowed down the Eagles 35-7. Gulliver, ranked No. 14 in the Miami Herald’s Top 20 South Florida poll improved to 8-0 on the season while Calvary, ranked No. 16, fell to 8-1.
The win was also big in another sense for Gulliver as the Raiders are battling University School for the No. 1 seed in Region 4-4A. Gulliver was No. 2 heading in to Friday’s action but with University losing to Clearwater Central Catholic, the Raiders could overtake it for the top spot.
“Just a great job by our kids of taking care of their business,” Gulliver Prep coach Earl Sims said. “We stepped up and really played well on both sides of the ball, especially on defense. Calvary is a very good football team, so for us to be able to dominate like that says a lot about how special this group is.”
Sims watched his defense, led by Gabriel Taylor, younger brother of the late Sean Taylor, hold the Calvary offense to just 156 total yards. With his team already up 28-7, Taylor picked off a pass early in the third quarter and returned it for a touchdown. Apparently he has made a habit of it this year as it was his fifth pick six of the season and sixth interception.
“Just like his older brother, he’s a really special kid,” Sims said. “Has a nose for the ball and the ability to make a big play.”
Gulliver jumped out in front quickly with two first-quarter touchdowns, a 7-yard touchdown run by Anton Hall, who finished with 121 yards on 14 carries, and an 11-yard scoring run by Sedrick Irvin Jr.
After the Eagles scored their only touchdown of the night, a 70-yard interception return by Jonathan Lane, the Raiders, led by quarterback Carson Haggard (10 of 17, 178 yards, two TDs) answered right back when he found Amin Hassan for a 59-yard touchdown. Hassan finished with four receptions for 121 yards and two scores.
If the Raiders thought they were tested on Friday night, they’ve got an even bigger challenge next Friday when they host defending 2A state runner-up Champagnat Catholic at 4 p.m.
Said Sims: “Without a doubt, next week will be our biggest challenge of the year and we’re looking forward to it.”
▪ St. Brendan 45, Westminster Christian 7: Ryan Bullard 11 carries 70 yards 3 TDs, 5 tackles; Micheal Caldwell 6 carries 40 yards 1 TD, 1 Int.; Richard 6 receptions 112 yards 2 TDs, 3 carries 44 yards; Nicholas Urbina 6 tackles, 2.5 sacks. STB: 8-1
▪ Palm Beach Benjamin 35, North Broward Prep 6: Luke Collins had one touchdown for North Broward Prep.
▪ District championship: St. Brendan d. Sunset 3-0 (25-10, 25-11, 25-11): Emily Diaz 15 kills, 6 aces; Juliana Lentz 6 kills, 7 aces; Allison Ibarria 13 assists, 4 digs, 4 aces; Nataly Hernandez 6 kills. STB: 22-4.