When Chaminade-Madonna opened the preseason two weeks ago with a loss at Deerfield Beach, it turned out to be “a humbling experience.”
“We came out a little bit too confident, and they really humbled us,” Lions quarterback Henry Colombi said. “It was a good game, but we really didn’t play to the best of our potential.”
The Lions, who have their sights set on making a run at the Class 3A state title, didn’t play to the best of their potential either Friday afternoon in the eyes of their quarterback. But they still got the job done, hanging on for a 30-20 victory in their regular-season opener against North Miami Beach behind their quarterback.
Colombi ran for 57 yards and two scores and threw for 124 yards and another TD as the Lions (1-0) survived a late rally by the Chargers (1-1). Clinging to a 23-20 lead and facing a fourth-and-4 at the NMB 29, Colombi dropped back to pass, evaded the Chargers’ pass rush and raced 29 yards for the decisive score with 1:24 to play.
“We started off strong 21-6 and then coming out of halftime we didn’t come out the same way,” said Colombi, who was the state’s Class 4A Player of the Year last year at University School in Davie.
“In a big situation like that, I don’t like anyone else to have the ball but me. I trust myself to put us in a situation to win.”
Colombi’s performance was almost outdone by NMB quarterback Wendell Morrison. Trailing 21-6 at the half, the junior led a valiant Chargers’ rally with a 1-yard touchdown run at the end of the third quarter and then a 24-yard dash into the end zone with 5:42 left to play.
Morrison, who finished with 189 yards passing including a second-quarter touchdown pass to Shaide Ramirez, pulled the Chargers to within 23-20 when he found Fritz Merus on the ensuing two-point conversion try. But the Chargers defense couldn’t get the ball back.
The Lions converted two third downs on their final offensive drive before Colombi found the end zone on fourth down.
“A win is a good way to start off the season,” Colombi said. “We know we still have work to do.”