Just one week after Hallandale quarterback Tyler Huntley sobbed uncontrollably following his team’s upset win over American Heritage, it was a scene that virtually repeated itself on Friday night.
But the tears were different this time. They were tears of pain, despair and disappointment. Huntley reinjured a tender ankle late in the game and was inconsolable afterward as he had led his team all the way back only to come up just short as the Chargers dropped a wild 51-46 decision to host Orlando Bishop Moore in a Region 4-5A final.
It ended the Chargers’ (10-3) deepest playoff run in the history of the program, but there was little satisfaction afterward as dejected Hallandale players trudged off to their buses for the long ride home.
“It hurts right now, but at the end of the day I’m proud of my kids and proud of my coaches,” Hallandale coach Dameon Jones said. “It was a nice run, not where we wanted to be but a nice run nonetheless.”
Jones could only watch helplessly from the sidelines as his defense was simply gashed all night long by a grinding and unstoppable Bishop Moore attack that rolled up an eye-popping 510 yards rushing along with another 134 through the air.
When the Hornets (12-1) scored on a 53-yard touchdown pass with three minutes left in the third quarter, it put them up 42-20, and the Chargers appeared done.
But Huntley, as he has so often and will continue to do so when he heads to Utah next year, put everybody on his back and kept plugging away.
A 38-yard touchdown pass to Demari Simpkins just before the end of the third quarter, a 10-yarder to Joshua Hammond with 7:04 left and then, after the defense’s lone stop of the night forced a Bishop Moore punt, another 7-yard toss to Simpkins with 3:27 left and the BM lead was sliced to 45-39.
Even after the Hornets seemingly put the game away with a 59-yard touchdown pass two plays after a failed onside-kick attempt to make it 51-39, Huntley still wouldn’t quit.
All he did was, thanks to a 56-yard bomb to Simpkins, take the Chargers 71 yards in just three plays, hitting Simpkins for a 15-yard score to cut the deficit to five with 1:53 left and the Chargers still with two timeouts.
Another failed onside-kick attempt left the defense having to try to get one last stop, but it never happened as Bishop Moore, which will travel to play Tampa Jesuit next week in a 5A state semifinal, recorded a big first down and ran out the clock.
Huntley, who reinjured his ankle on that final scoring pass to Simpkins and was on the sideline writhing in pain, didn’t want to talk after the game as he was surrounded by consoling teammates.
He finished the night 23 of 37 for 380 yards and four touchdowns.
“Tyler is a soldier,” said Chargers running back Zach Moss, who had his own productive night with 120 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns and who will follow Huntley to play at Utah.