Miramar has been known for years for its dominant “Dark Side” defense.
A potent offense has made the Patriots more dangerous this season.
But on Friday night, Miramar’s special teams played a pivotal role in keeping its undefeated record intact after a 22-13 home victory against Flanagan.
Trailing for most of the first half, Miramar junior linebacker Kaywon Davis surged through and blocked Flanagan kicker Giancarlo Bonilla’s 44-yard field goal try on the final play of the second quarter. The ball was recovered by senior defensive back Andre Godfrey, who then turned the corner and ran 70 yards for a touchdown to give Miramar a 13-7 halftime lead.
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The Patriots (8-0, 4-0) never trailed again.
“It was huge because we had to come through at that point in the game,” Davis said. “We were swarming to the ball in the second half.”
Miramar, ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 8A, dealt Flanagan (7-1, 4-1) its first loss and can clinch the District 12-8A championship with a victory next Friday at Cypress Bay.
“We knew we had to play a sound football game because Flanagan is a strong up-and-coming program,” Miramar coach Damon Cogdell said. “That blocked field goal was like déjà vu after what I saw the University of Miami do on Thursday.”
Davis and Godfrey weren’t the only sharp Miramar special teams players. Kicker David Campbell connected on all three of his field-goal attempts, including a pair of 36-yarders.
It helped the Patriots overcome what had been a rough first half thanks to Flanagan’s own defense holding its ground.
The Falcons took a 7-3 lead in the second quarter when Ryan Stanley connected with Keavon Mitchell on a 23-yard touchdown pass. Mitchell made a great effort on the play keeping his balance after catching the ball at the 5-yard line going forward and lunging toward the goal line for the score.
Leading 7-6, Flanagan looked ready to add more on its final drive of the half before its defense recorded one of its five sacks forcing the Falcons to attempt the long field goal that ended in disaster.
That pressure hampered an otherwise effective performance by Stanley, who completed 18 of 30 passes for 197 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and ran for 46 yards on 12 carries.
“We had some mental mistakes, but overall these guys are getting better each and every week,” Cogdell said.
Miramar finally got its offense going in the third quarter, sparked by quarterbacks Nick Jeanty and Gerald Hawkins.
Jeanty found Kwasim West for a 33-yard score in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Jeanty went 10 of 15 for 131 yards and Hawkins went 7 of 8 for 74 yards. West caught five passes for 116 yards.
“We have a two-quarterback system, and collectively they did a great job,” Cogdell said.