The Chaminade-Madonna Lions are no stranger to victories. On Friday night, they checked off yet another win, defeating the Delray American Heritage Stallions 14-3 to advance to the Class 3A state semifinals.
The Lions defense controlled the game with three blocked passes, one sack by senior defensive end Cameron Williams and two forced fumbles, one of which came on the Stallions’ first play of the game. The Lions’ recovery on that play led to a touchdown just four downs later, and from then on it was all downhill for the Stallions.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game,” Chaminade-Madonna coach Dameon Jones said. “... Defense has been carrying us all year, so [their performance tonight] doesn’t surprise me.”
Another touchdown by Penn State commit John Dunmore gave the Lions the edge over the slow-moving visitors, but it was running backs Grantis Poole and Thaddius Franklin who did much of the offensive work. Franklin, a sophomore who has already committed to the University of Miami, saw the most touches, but Poole showed real explosiveness on a 67-yard run in the second quarter.
Although quarterback Daelen Menard struggled to complete deep passes all night, Jones said he felt that many of those balls were “catchable.”
“I’ll split it half and half between our receivers and [Menard],” Jones said. “Some of them were on him, some of them were on the receivers.”
Meanwhile, after putting up three points in the first quarter, the Stallions were unable to find paydirt again, punting six times on 10 possessions. Counting the field goal, the remaining three drives were either cut short by the Lions’ defense or bad time management at the end of the first half. Running back Dalis Small was the only bright spot on the American Heritage offense. Small rushed for 128 yards on 22 carries.
Penalties hurt both sides, but Chaminade-Madonna took the brunt of the negative yardage with ten first half flags and another ten in the second. Some were more costly than others, but the Lions’ defense remained solid even in the face of adversity.
Chaminade-Madonna advances to take on the Clearwater Central Catholic Marauders in the state semifinals on Nov. 30.