High School Sports

Sunset Knights win first playoff game in school history

Sunset Knights' Tariq Peters, No. 7, runs with the ball as the Knights play against the West Broward Bob Cats on Friday, Nov. 13, at Tropical Park in Miami.
Sunset Knights' Tariq Peters, No. 7, runs with the ball as the Knights play against the West Broward Bob Cats on Friday, Nov. 13, at Tropical Park in Miami. Shannon Kaestle/Miami Herald

The dream season continues for Sunset.

After sweeping through District 16-7A for the district title and making its first playoff appearance since 2008, Sunset added another accolade to its year on Friday night.

The Knights won their first playoff game in school history.

Spearheaded by five total touchdowns from quarterback Michael Cox and a do-it-all effort from Tariq Peters, Sunset took down West Broward 36-28 in a Region 4-7A quarterfinal on Friday night at Tropical Park.

It’s been a complete transformation for the Knights this season, as they went from winless in district play every season since that 2008 playoff berth to going a perfect 8-0 this season and now adding on to what’s being built.

For coach Joseph Petisco, it’s about extending the legacy of the coach at Sunset when he played for the Knights, Robert Fernandez, who died in 2006.

“I came into this job three years ago and I told myself I would honor the memory of coach Robert Fernandez,” Petisco said. “I told the guys we have mountains to climb. This is the one mountain that hasn’t been climbed in Sunset history, and I told them tonight we were going to play for him.”

Sunset (10-1), which hasn’t lost since a 41-6 defeat at the hands of Palmetto in Week 1, advances to the regional semifinals, where it will host district foe Mater Academy.

The 5-4 Peters displayed his 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash on two receiving touchdowns and also intercepted three passes defensively while playing safety. He would have had two more touchdowns had a rushing score not been called back for holding as well as a return on one of the interceptions for a block in the back.

“Even though I’m underrated, even though I’m little, I make a big impact. It’s all about here,” said Peters, pointing at his heart.

He dove for the game-clinching interception on West Broward’s final drive. Peters finished with 98 rushing yards on 13 carries and 78 yards on four catches.

Cox threw for 185 yards and four touchdowns on 11-of-15 passing. He also ran in a 12-yard touchdown on a read-option that made it a 15-point game with 2:30 remaining.

The Knights pulled through even with Javier Zunia, Miami-Dade County’s leading rusher, sidelined the entire second half with a shoulder injury.

Zunia finished with 59 yards on eight carries and had a 22-yard touchdown reception.

“We saw him on the sideline and we said, ‘We’ve got to do it for him,’ so we won the game. It was big motivation,” Cox said.

Ezekiel Scott had 79 total yards and added another receiving score.

West Broward (7-4) showed it had plenty of fight, turning Friday’s game from one that looked like it could go to a running clock early to a contest that came down to a final possession after a successful onside kick following a Matt Ruiz touchdown pass to Daniel Richardson with 23.5 seconds left.

The Bobcats reached the playoffs for the first time in school history this season.