Things got off to an ominous start in a crucial District 12-8A matchup between rivals Flanagan and Miramar on Friday night at Miramar High School.
The Patriots were assessed an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for not shaking hands following the coin toss. After the game, neither team did so after combining for 45 penalties and 480 yards in a sloppy performance.
With senior quarterback Kato Nelson playing the entirety of the game for the first time this season, the Falcons cruised to a 31-6 victory.
“It was a crazy game,” Flanagan coach Devin Bush said. “Too many penalties. Real sloppy game. Really sloppy. A lot of stuff we have to clean up and go back and watch the film and make a lot of corrections. This game is just halfway too sloppy.”
Flanagan (4-1, 2-1) jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead with relative ease.
Nelson, whose torn meniscus in his left knee kept him out until last week, connected with junior Clevan Thomas for touchdowns of 14 and 13 yards. Nelson did, however, show rust as he — at times — overthrew open receivers. He added 44 yards on the ground.
When a drive stalled in the second quarter, senior kicker Angel Trujillo knocked a 26-yard field goal.
Junior cornerback B.J. Samuels capped the first-half scoring with a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown with 3:40 left. It was the second of three forced turnovers for the Falcons.
“My knee is not 100 right now,” said Nelson, who finished 15 of 24 with 153 yards and two scores. “I’m having scar tissue. I’ve been in pain. I’m taking pain pills, and I’m getting this compression on it. For the first half it was fine for the most part, and the second half it started hurting. I wasn’t able really to play how I usually play. I made some mistakes I shouldn’t have. It’s my first game back since last year at Champagnat when I broke my nose.”
The Patriots (2-4, 1-2), who were regional quarterfinalists last season but had to vacate their place after self-imposing sanctions, avoided the shutout with 8:10 remaining.
Miramar capitalized on a fumble by Nelson, taking over from the opponent’s 27-yard line. Eight plays later, sophomore running back Davonne Kendrick found the end zone on fourth down from the 1.
“The referees never had control of the game, unfortunately,” said Miramar coach Pierre Senatus, whose team had two ejections. “They made the game less fluid than it should’ve been. It should’ve been more offense. We should’ve gotten more offense. It should’ve been more for both teams, and the referees never controlled it.
“Instead of letting the kids compete and the coaches manage it, they tried to take over and, unfortunately, it’s very sad how they tried to manage the game. I was very disappointed in the officials. They have to do a better job. [Flanagan’s] staff did a very good job preparing their kids. We had a good plan and couldn’t execute it.”
The Falcons, last year’s district champion and state semifinalist, entered the season nationally ranked. South Plantation upset them 13-12 two weeks ago.
A stout Flanagan defense led by senior linebacker Devin Bush Jr. limited Miramar to just 110 total yards.
The Falcons have outscored opponents 141-40 through five games.
FLA - Thomas 14 from Nelson (Trujillo kick)
FLA - Trujillo 26 kick
FLA - Thomas 13 from Nelson (Trujillo kick)
FLA - Samuels 52 INT return (Trujillo kick)
MIR - Kendricks 1 run (2 pt NG)
FLA - Metellus 12 run (Trujillo kick)
Rushing (att-yds) -- FLA: Bush Jr. 1-(-1), Johnson 3-(-1), Hart 1-0, Pearson 1-1, Bishop 1-5, Metellus 1-12, Nelson 12-44, Snelson 1-59. MIR: Kendricks 3-1, Pennywell 6-5, Henley 1-8, Jenkins 4-10, Fulford 6-15, McRae 13-47.
Passing (comp-att-int, yds)-- FLA: Samuels 0-1-0, 0, Joseph 0-1-0, 0, Nelson 15-24-0, 153. MIR: Fulford 10-24-2, 35.
Receiving (rec-yds-TD) -- FLA: Marucci 1-3, Goetz 2-10, Pearson 3-21, Collins 2-21, Snelson 2-34, Thomas 5-64. MIR: McRae 4-(-9), Henley 4-22, Anthony 2-22.