Broward High Schools

Miramar ends Deerfield’s season bitterly

The first state playoff game featuring unbeaten Broward County teams never lived up to the hype.

Miramar smacked Deerfield Beach from the get-go and never stopped pounding away, rolling to a 43-6 second round victory and sending a strong message to those remaining in their way on the road to Orlando.

"Our motto this week was play fast and finish faster," said Patriots coach Damon Cogdell, whose team advances to play host Palm Beach Gardens (8-4) next Friday in the Region 3-8A final.

"We did."

The Patriots (12-0) rolled from start to finish, holding the Bucks (11-1) without a first down until late in the first half and racking up 497 yards of total offense. By the middle of the fourth quarter Miramar's backups forced officials to implement a running clock.

"We had that swag, that dominance, that Dark Side feeling on defense," middle linebacker Ryan Samuels said. "And then on offense was just were clicking on all cylinders, passing wise and running wise.

"We didn't come out strong last week. We waited until the second half. We didn't wait for anything this week."

The night got off to a rough start for the Bucks on the very first play from scrimmage. A holding penalty moved Deerfield inside of its own 10-yard line and the Bucks never seemed to recover. They punted on their first five offensive possessions and actually had more penalty yards (79 on nine flags) than yards from scrimmage (45) in the first half.

Miramar, ranked 16th in USA Today's national rankings, found the end zone on each of its first three drives and quarterback Nick Jeanty had a hand in each.

He scored on a 1-yard sneak and then hit Tyler Williams on a 26-yard scoring strike to make it 14-0 with 2:54 left in the first quarter. Jeanty then led a 77-yard scoring drive, capping it with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kahlil Lewis with 8:50 left in the half to make it 20-0. Kicker David Campbell then added to the lead with a 47-yard field goal to make it 23-0 at the half.

"This is the best game all-around we've played," said Jeanty, who finished 12 of 21 for 152 yards and watched from the sideline the entire second half as backup Gerald Hawkins guided the Patriots offense.

"We started out fast like we were supposed to and stayed strong the whole game."

The Bucks, who came in averaging 39 points a game on offense, finally scored on an Aeron McNeal's two-yard touchdown run 11 seconds into the fourth quarter. But a 52-yard touchdown run by Khalil Lewis moments later, followed by a 107-yard interception return for a touchdown by junior safety Herbert Miller ended any thoughts of a miraculous comeback.

With Bradenton Manatee, the No. 1-ranked team in the state, falling on Friday night the Patriots, ranked No. 2 in the state poll, are the top remaining unbeaten team left in Class 8A. Fort Pierce Central, which knocked off Manatee 17-15, is the other at 10-0.

"We knew coming into this season we had a lot of guys coming back and we felt like we had the team to do it," Samuels said. "Seeing different teams fall like Manatee, that ring keeps looking nicer and nicer."

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