Broward High Schools

Gregori McCrae, Miramar run over South Plantation 33-10

Miramar running back Gregori McCrae looks for yards during the first half against visiting South Plantation on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.
Miramar running back Gregori McCrae looks for yards during the first half against visiting South Plantation on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. For The Miami Herald

It’s almost hard to believe that an accomplished, decorated program like Miramar could take the field when it’s not even October, yet in a virtual must-win situation.

But that was exactly the case Friday night as the Patriots, one week after getting upset at home by Plantation and facing a Flanagan team next week smarting from its own upset loss last week, was hosting South Plantation, the team that upset Flanagan to throw District 12-8A into a major log jam.

And the Patriots responded in a major way as they not only beat the Paladins, but dominated them all night long on the way to a convincing 33-10 victory and send a large homecoming crowd home happy.

Gregori McCrae, Miramar run over South Plantation in 33-10 win.

“We talked all week about how adversity creates opportunities so this was an opportunity for us tonight to step up and show everyone what Miramar football is all about,” said Miramar coach Pierre Senatus, who saw his team improve to 2-3, 1-1. “The kids had a great week of practice, the seniors showed great leadership and we responded extremely well tonight with great focus and great energy.”

They did so thanks to a pounding rushing attack and a defensive effort that lived up to every bit of their Darkside Defense reputation as South Plantation (3-2, 1-1) managed just 83 yards of total offense on the night.

Led by Gregori McCrae, who ran all over the Paladins’ defense for 187 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns, Miramar finished the evening with 356 yards on the ground. The only negative for the Patriots was the whopping number of penalties they got flagged for: 25 for 209 yards.

“Last week was a very disappointing loss and we really focused all week on not only coming out here tonight and winning, but dominating,” said McCrea, whose 50-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter put Miramar up 14-0 and really set the tone for the rest of the evening. “My O-line did a great job of opening up the holes. We’re really happy about getting this win tonight because we wanted to get that Miramar swag back.”

Following McCrea’s long score, Brian Edwards picked off a South Plantation pass to set the Patriots up at the Paladin 45. Five plays later, after McCrea bolted up the middle again for a 49-yard run only to get dragged down at the 1, Kyeshaad Pennywell scored from the 1 to make it 20-0.

South Plantation’s only real highlight of the night followed when Anthony Julmisse took the ensuing short kickoff back 65 yards for a score to make it 20-7 at the half.

But after the Paladins put together the closest thing they had to a sustained drive on their opening drive of the second half (40 yards, eight plays) that resulted in a 31-yard field goal, McCrea had a big answer.

On the first play after a 30-yard kickoff return by Korel Smith, McCrea took off up the middle again through another gaping hole and bolted 47 yards for a score to make it 27-10 and Darkside took care of everything from there.

“The Darkside Defense has been doing this for a long time and we came out here tonight determined to not give them any points,” said senior defensive captain Deshondre Pitts, who was in on a dozen tackles. “I talked to my defense [Friday] and told them let’s make things easy for our offense tonight, and we pretty much did that as we only gave up three points.

“Every game for the rest of the year is going to be like a district game for us now. It’s win or go home is the way we have to look at it and now we have to get ready for Flanagan next week.”