There was some awfully good football played on Friday night when Deerfield Beach traveled to Hollywood to take on Chaminade-Madonna.
That’s right, we said “night.”
At 7:25 p.m., with a truckload of alumni in attendance and a packed stadium, the lights got flicked on and the stage was set for the first ever night game at the school.
Unfortunately a few hours later, the Bucks, unintimidated by the big crowd with all the pomp and circumstance, ruined the big night for the defending 3A state champions by knocking off the Lions 13-10.
Chaminade had one last chance to score midway through the fourth quarter when Marcus Lafrance picked off Chaminade quarterback Daelen Menard in the end zone to preserve the three-point lead.
With the Bucks facing a third-and-7 at their own 29 with just under two minutes left and the Lions having just burned their final timeout, quarterback Derohn King scrambled to his left and barely reach the sticks for a first down to wrap it up.
“A big win coming in here tonight against a great program like this on their field with a big crowd and getting it done,” said Deerfield Beach coach Javon Glenn. “We hang our hats around here with our defense and they showed why again tonight. They really got it done.”
In a first half that was dominated mostly by both defenses, it was the Bucks that managed to strike for two big plays to stake themselves to a 13-3 halftime lead.
Deerfield running back and Oklahoma commit Jaylan Knighton got the Bucks on the board when he busted loose down the right sideline for a 65 yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter.
After Chaminade answered with a short 22-yard field goal by Carter Davis, the game settled back into a defensive battle.
That was until one minute remained in the half when the Lions made a calculated mistake.
With first down at their own 13, rather than run the clock out, they chose to put in the air and the Bucks made them pay when Tyronn Herring picked off Menard at the 30.
One play later, King dropped back and hit Deajaun McDougle running a fly pattern down the left side in perfect stride in the corner of the end zone. A deflating moment for the Lions who trudged off to the locker room down 10 rather than four which ultimately turned out to be the difference in the game.
That when the Lions, who struggled mightily against the Bucks defense in the second half as they managed just 35 yards of total offense, actually scored with two minutes left in the third thanks to a gift.
That coming compliments of McDougle who, as a punt was dying at his own three yard line, inexplicably tried to touch the ball. Chaminade dove on the live fumble.
Even then, it took the Lions four plays to get it in when, on fourth and goal at the 1, Thaddius Franklin, from the wildcat, faked a handoff and sprinted around the left side untouched.
“We just came in the mindset to stick it to them,” said Bucks outside linebacker and Oregon commit Gemon Eaford, who led the way with eight tackles and a sack. “Around here, we take to the motto that offense sell tickets but defense wins games and that was what we did out there tonight. Coming in here and beating a team like this on their field is big but we know it’s a long season ahead with a lot of football to be played.”
Ever since the stadium itself was finished back in 2003, the next goal was to try and get lights at Chaminade-Madonna High School, but resistance from the surrounding neighborhood was strong so the battle turned into a long one.
However, thanks to a determined Chaminade administration led by school president Dr. Judith Mucheck and athletic director Andre Torres, the deed got done 16 months ago when the city of Hollywood, by a narrow vote, gave the school the green light go-ahead.
“It feels like about three decades we were trying to get this done,” said Torres with a laugh. “Honestly, this is such an exciting night for this school, administration, alumni, it’s been a long time coming. I think the fact that we have modern LED lights that really look right down on the field with minimal effect on the outside area was the real key to getting this thing passed.”
“It took a lot of doing but we are most grateful to the citizens in this surrounding neighborhood who worked with along with the city,” said Mucheck. “This is a win for everyone tonight and we can’t be more excited.”
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