Pembroke Pines Flanagan quarterback Kalyn Nelson said the Falcons’ overwhelming defense gave the offense a base line for success in Friday night’s Region 3-8A playoff game against Delray Beach Atlantic.
“It’s on us,” Nelson said. “We just need to put up points. They told us if we get them three touchdowns at halftime, and we continue to put up points, the game will be over.”
Flanagan’s offense did that plus one more trip to the end zone in the first half. Of course, three points would have done the job. The Dirty Birds’ defense allowed a miniscule 29 yards of offense in completing a hat trick of playoff shutouts in Flanagan’s 35-0 win.
Now, Flanagan gets a state semifinal rematch with Columbus, likely at Traz Powell Stadium. Last year, Columbus journeyed to Broward to knock off Flanagan in a tough 16-12 game.
“I learned a lot from Columbus last year, the way they prepared, the way they approached the game,” Flanagan coach Devin Bush, Sr. said. “Hopefully, we can hold up to the task, show up, have a good showing and don’t get blown out.”
Hard to get blown out when you don’t give up points.
The brutally dominant Flanagan defense rendered Atlantic’s offense powerless and its own offense superfluous, at least in the second half. The only score by either team after halftime was Devin Gil’s 21-yard interception return with 8:46 left in the third quarter that brought on a running clock.
Four possessions into the game, the contest reached full maturity. It had its final shape and strong direction.
Atlantic: three-and-out after a sack by Flanagan’s Dwayne Boles. Flanagan: 44-yard touchdown drive with two Josh Metellus 5-yard runs covering the final 10 yards.
Atlantic: a first down, then turning over the ball on a gorgeous leaping interception of a deep post by Rocco Marucci. Flanagan: Nelson drove the Falcons 75 yards, completing an 18-yard throw to Jahcour Pearson and, on third-and-9 from the Atlantic 35, a 21-yard throw to Isiah Collins. Pearson’s 7-yard end around gave the Falcons a 14-0 lead with 3:25 left in the first quarter.
Dredrick Snelson took a wide receiver screen 74 yards, setting up Faion Hicks 6-yard touchdown run.
With Atlantic reeling before half, the Falcons struck again with a 22-yard Nelson to Clevan Thomas touchdown pass for a 28-0 halftime lead.
FLA-Metellus 5 run (Trujillo kick)
FLA-Pearson 7 run (Trujillo kick)
FLA-Hicks 6 run (Trujillo kick)
FLA-Thomas 22 pass from Nelson (Trujillo kick)
FLA-Gil 21 interception return (Trujillo kick)
Rushing - ATL: Ferguson 10-11; Phillips 7-(-10); Thompson 2-(-11); Bennett 2-3; Parrish 1-1; FL: Nelson 5-16, Thomas 1-15, Hart 3-13, Metellus 2-10, Pearson 1-7, Hicks 2-4, Snelson 1-3, Johnson 2-2.
Passing - ATL: Thompson 3-10-2-2; Phillips 3-8-32-0; FL: Nelson 13-17-200-0.
Receiving - ATL: Gammage 3-25, St. Surin 2-17; Phillips 1-(-8); FL: Thomas 7-64, Snelson 3-84, Collins 1-21, Pearson 1-18, Bishop 1-10.