If stopping the Deerfield Beach football team wasn’t already difficult enough, adding a superb night by running back Jaylen Knighton made it more difficult.
The 5-11, 190-pound junior rushed for a school-record 348 yards on 26 carries and four touchdowns to lead the Bucks to a 44-8 victory in a District 11-8A game at Coral Springs High on Thursday.
The victory improved Deerfield Beach to 6-0, 2-0 in district and extended its consecutive victories in district play to 17 over four seasons.
The Bucks’ previous single-game record of 332 yards was set by Marc Renaud against Northeast on Nov. 9, 1991, in just one half of football.
“I want to thank my offensive lineman and team for pushing me everyday in practice,” Knighton said. “We had a lot of mistakes today that we beat ourselves with.”
Knighton broke the 27-year old school record on a 30-yard gain that put the ball at the Trojans’ 3. Knighton scored the next play for his fourth touchdown on the night.
“I didn’t even know the record. In the fourth quarter my coach told me a I needed 20 more yards to break the record,” Knighton said. “I pushed and with two carries broke the record.”
Knighton’s yardage tied him for sixth all-time in Broward history with LeCorey Robey of Flanagan set against Fort Lauderdale in 2004
“He deserves this because he has put in the hard work,” Deerfield coach Jevon Glenn said. “If you think about the incredible backs that we had here at Deerfield Beach, Renaud, Steve Feagin and Brandon Powell just recently. To set himself at the top of those names, it’s an accomplishment that I’m very proud of.”
The Bucks finished the game with 554 yards, while Taravella was held to 121 yards 25 coming on the ground.
Other than a pair of lost fumbles, Knighton’s night was special from the start. His first three carries totaled 55 yards, including the first of three first-half touchdowns.
Down 12-0 Taravella (3-2, 1-1 in district) scored it lone touchdown on a Logan Rubin 29-yard scoring pass to Vantraveous Williams. A successful two-point conversion made the score 12-8.
At one point, the Deerfield defense intercepted Taravella on four of five pass attempts in the second half.
The Buck led 24-8 at the half with two scores from Knighton of 16 and 56 yards. The other was a 26-yard pass from Derohn King to Bryce Gowdy. King also threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Raphael Williams.
Brandon Dorlus added a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Deerfield Beach has defeated the Trojans sixth straight years by a combined score of 274-43.
The Bucks will be tested next week when they host St. Thomas Aquinas on Oct. 5.