Step 1 has been accomplished.
Led by junior running back Jaylan Knighton, Deerfield Beach advanced through the Region 3-8A regional quarterfinal with a 32-14 victory over Miramar on Friday.
Knighton finished with 166 yards on 22 carries, while scoring the clinching touchdown on a 19-yard run with 3:23 to play. He finished the night with three touchdowns. The last came on a 28-yard run with 48-seconds left.
Knighton had only 16 yards on four carries in the first half.
It was Deerfield’s first playoff victory over the Patriots since 2005. They had lost the last three postseason games to Miramar, the last coming in 2015.
The Bucks (10-1) will host Plantation, a 23-12 winner over Piper, in a regional semifinal game next Friday.
Deerfield improved to 20-8 all-time in first-round playoff games, that includes a 16-4 record at home.
“We wanted to rest Derohn King tonight, even though we knew his arm was healthy,” Deerfield Beach coach Devon Glenn said. “Miramar didn’t respect our starter at quarterback Tyron [Herring] and stacked the box.
“When they began playing the deep ball we know we have an animal like Knighton that can run the ball.”
Miramar went on top 14-13 when sophomore quarterback Cedquan Smith found a streaking Carlos Hill down the middle for a 61-yard touchdown.
The Patriots moved to within 13-6 on a Clifton Miller 5-yard run with 11:12 left in the third quarter.
Miramar was driving for the apparent lead with a first down at the Bucks 3. Then an interception thrown by Smith to Bucks senior linebacker Brandon Moses ended the threat.
Three plays later with the ball at the Deerfield 22, King, who replaced Herring in the second quarter, found a wide-open Dashawn Davis for a 78-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead with 5:55 left in the second quarter.
After forcing Miramar to punt, the Bucks scored again on their first play from scrimmage, King found Donte Banton in the clear for a 29-yard scoring pass for a 13-0 lead.
Miramar (6-5) opened the season with losses to Miami Northwestern, American Heritage and Plantation, before reeling off six straight victories, before ending the regular season with a loss to St. Thomas Aquinas. All losses were to team that qualified for the playoffs.
“We’re ready and dialed in for Plantation,” Glenn said. “We’re playing some really good football right now and they have to come here to our house.”
King finished the night with 193 yards and two touchdowns for the Bucks.