Miles Friday slipped his defender, found an opening in the secondary and was home free. Western’s senior running back stormed down the field for a 46-yard touchdown and didn’t stop celebrating until coach Adam Ratkevich wrapped him up in a bear hug and carried him halfway down the Wildcats’ sideline.
At that point, the rout was on.
Friday’s late outburst, coupled by a dominant performance from freshman quarterback Collin Hurst, was more than enough for Western to blow past the South Dade Bucs 43-20 on Friday in a Region 4-8A quarterfinal.
“The boys played fantastic,” Ratkevich said. “They did everything we asked them to do. ... That’s a very good football team. We knew it was going to be a dog fight. We kept pounding, and we did what we came here to do.”
Friday added a 13-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter to help Western pull away for the win. Friday finished with 150 yards on 12 carries and added a 20-yard catch.
But Hurst, the freshman, did a fine job carrying the offense with his four-touchdown day until his senior running back starting making plays.
Hurst had touchdown passes of 14 and 8 yards to Omar Simpson in the first half, 34 yards to Kauran St. Louis to open the third quarter and 42 yards to James Williams in the fourth quarter of his first career playoff game. His final touchdown down the right sideline to Williams — a jump ball in which Williams beat out a pair of South Dade defenders with three minutes left — sealed the game.
“The kid’s been amazing,” Ratkevich said.
South Dade, which lost four consecutive games to close the season after starting 7-0, opened scoring on a 1-yard Chezzy Mathews rushing touchdown late in the first quarter and took a 14-7 lead early in the second on a 28-yard pass from Kelvin Durham to Willie Thomas. Western tied the game 14-14 going into the half with Hurst’s second touchdown pass to Simpson and then scored 22 consecutive points to open the second half.
South Dade added a 55-yard consolation touchdown pass from Durham to Thomas with about five minutes left.
Western will face Palmetto next week in the regional semifinals. The Panthers blew past Taravella 68-0 at Tropical Park in their regional quarterfinal.