Miramar coach Damon Cogdell did not have to say much during his halftime speech Friday night.
The players took care of that.
Trailing 13-2 against Monarch, host Miramar responded after the break with a 21-point third quarter on its way to a 31-21 victory over the Knights in the Class 8A regional quarterfinals.
“Everybody said something in the locker room,” Patriots quarterback Nick Jeanty said after the disappointing first-half performance. “We all spoke up.”
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The win sets up a massive matchup between nationally ranked unbeatens as Miramar will host Deerfield Beach in next Friday’s regional semifinal.
“The way we look at it, we’re both 1-0,” Cogdell said of the Bucks. “We had to refocus [Friday night], and we’ll be focused next week as well.”
Monarch did not go away easily. Just when it seemed Miramar had gained control at 16-13, the Knights drove and set up for a game-tying field goal. But Miramar blocked it, and Tyrek Cole returned it 74 yards for the score to give the Patriots a cushion.
Early on, the Knights didn’t look like a team making its first state playoff appearance.
Quarterback Michael Harris hit Calvin Ridley on back-to-back passes on Monarch’s second drive, the last for a 15-yard score.
Monarch’s defense also held a potent Patriots offense out of the end zone in the first half and recovered two Miramar fumbles inside its own 5-yard line. The Patriots’ only points of the first half came on a safety after one of those fumbles.
“We weren’t intimidated,” Monarch coach Calvin Davis said. “We had a game plan. We just weren’t able to execute it in the second half the same way we had [in] the first half.”
Harris finished a yard shy of 200 in the air.