Broward High Schools

Strong second half powers Nova past West Broward

Desperately searching for an answer to a four-game skid, execution proved to be the difference for Nova.

The host Titans overcame a slow start to shut down West Broward for a 23-0 victory Thursday night.

“We went through a real tough stretch in our schedule,” said Nova coach Bill Hobbs Jr., whose team had been outscored 167-41. “Plantation and St. Thomas [Aquinas] back-to-back, and that’s no easy thing. Our kids held in there. They continued to practice hard and work hard.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Titans (2-4) took a 3-0 lead on the first play of the second.

Sophomore kicker Khalil Lavelanet’s 23-yard field goal capped an eight-play drive that began from the Nova 33. The key play came when junior quarterback Kevin Dzwonkowski found junior Alex Guerra on third-and-5 for 9 yards to keep the drive alive.

Yet the Titans couldn’t find the end zone on two first-half red-zone trips, including a pair of chances inside the 10. On the opening possession facing a fourth-and-goal from the 1, senior Malik Ricketts was stopped for no gain.

The Bobcats (0-6), who picked up a first down on their first offensive play — a 13-yard rush by senior quarterback Connor D’Orio — combined for minus-2 yards over the next 10 until their next first down with 8:19 to go in the second.

Senior Anthony McGill missed on field-goal attempts of 42 and 47 yards, respectively, on the final two drives of the first half that left the score at 3-0.

Nova’s defense clamped down in the second half, allowing just one first down.

Sophomore Dejay Ingleton led West Broward with a game-high 87 yards on 17 carries. The Bobcats completed just two passes — both in the first half.

“As you can see, we’re pretty tough on defense,” Hobbs Jr. said. “We do a good job up front in every phase of the defense. We do a great job there.”

Meanwhile, the Titans offense came to life in the final two quarters, producing three touchdowns.

Dzwonkowski and senior wide receiver Kevin Hanns connected from 5 and 30 yards. Ricketts capped the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:58 remaining in the game.

“We weren’t really communicating well,” said Dzwonkowski, who completed 15 of 24 passes for 134 yards. “A lot of key plays, easy throws, run block. Everything. The second half we expanded the playbook a little bit and started hitting every spot that we didn’t in the first half.”

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