It didn’t matter that their roster was purged in a big way over the summer. Despite losing a total of 18 players, many of them starters, the Doral Academy Firebirds never blinked.
And on Thursday night, before a Homecoming crowd, just how much better Doral is than the other eight teams in a crowded nine-team district came in to crystal clear focus.
That’s because what was supposed to be a showdown for first place in District 16-7A turned in to a total rout as Doral scored five touchdowns in the first half and then enjoyed a quick second half thanks to a running clock as the Firebirds easily dispatched Miami Springs 35-0.
The win moved Doral to 6-1 overall and a perfect 6-0 in the district. And while mathematically they did not clinch what would be their second consecutive district title on Thursday night, the Firebirds need only to beat either Goleman or Mourning over the next three weeks to lock things up.
“One word – proud,” Doral head coach Jase Stewart said. “All the adversity we faced over the summer with losing all of those kids, it actually prepared us for this week. When you deal with adversity, what’s a little more. We weren’t fazed by it.”
The adversity this week Stewart referred to was a quick audible he and his coaching staff had to call Wednesday morning when starting quarterback Juzion Wade came down with the flu. Enter backup quarterback Sedrick Lawrence onto the scene and the Firebirds didn’t miss a beat.
Lawrence, who transferred over after spending last season as Jackson’s starting quarterback, stepped right in and enjoyed a great night. He finished his evening 13-of-20 passing for 161 yards with a pair of touchdown passes, including a 47-yarder to Renato Fernandez. Lawrence ran for a score as well.
“I just thank God for this opportunity tonight,” Lawrence said. “I just had to step up and do my job. I know I have the talent and just wanted to go out there and be focused and do what I had to do to help my team win. Even though I was the backup quarterback, I always stayed positive and waited for my chance.”
Stewart added: “Lawrence did a great job out there tonight. He did everything we expected him to do and he was ready for the moment and that’s all you can ask of your backup quarterback. He lost out the competition for the starting job over the summer by a very narrow margin and he’s been craving this moment. A great attitude and great team player.”
Running back Roscoe Burton got things started early for Doral when he skirted around the right side 27 yards for a score two plays after Miguel Marquez intercepted a Springs screen pass, .
Following a Springs punt, Lawrence took his offense 66 yards in just five plays, a 20-yard strike to Shayon Walton and 25 yard run by Burton being the big plays, before he scored from 5 yards out on a quarterback keeper.
His 47-yard hookup with Fernandez made it 21-0 before Doral linebacker Andres Lehrmann rambled 25 yards for a scoop and score touchdown off a Springs fumble.
Lawrence then completed the evening’s scoring when he found Walton for a five yard score 21 seconds before halftime which prompted a running clock to start the second half.
Marquez recorded a second interception in the second half as the Doral defense held a struggling Springs offense to 61 total yards and four first downs. Springs saw its four-game winning streak come to an end, slipping to 4-2, 4-1.
“We had all the confidence in him (Lawrence) that he could go out and there and lead us and that’s exactly what he did,” said Jonathan Nunez, Doral’s leading receiver who has 31 receptions this season for over 700 yards and 11 touchdowns. “It was a tough summer for us around here. When those guys left we ignored the outside noise and just learned to lean on each other and stuck together and we’re going to be a better team for it down the road.”
▪ Gulliver Prep d. Carrollton 3-0 (25-16, 29-27, 25-19): Leah Boyd 10 kills, 11 digs, 5 blocks, 2 aces; Isabella Sakran 9 kills, 6 digs, 2 blocks, 3 acces, 1 assist; Alexis Ouellette 5 kills, 8 digs, 5 aces, 1 assist.
▪ St. Brendan Defeated Miami Springs 3-0 ( 25-12, 25-17, 25-12): Julie Lentz 12 Kills, 2 blocks; Emily Diaz 10 Kills, 8 digs; Melanie Sanchez 6 Kills, 12 Digs; STB: 17-3.
▪ Palmer Trinity 163, Riviera Prep 173, Ransom Everglades 177 at Granada Golf Course Par 36: Top individuals: Kristian Fortis (PT) 36, Juan DeAngulo (RP) 38, Stephan Baker (RE) 40, Robert Bistry (PT) 42, Alexandra Ragan (RP) 42, Morgan Powell (PT) 42.
▪ Archbishop McCarthy 149, Gulliver 190, Lordes INC at Grand Palms Par 36: Jennifer Lilly 34 (AM), Tori Hagenlocker 36 (Gul), Natalia Jimenez 37 (AM), Morgan Herring 39 (AM), Rileigh Baker 39 (AM), Erin O’Donnell 42 (AM), Allesandra Lanz 44 (Lor).
▪ Plantation American Heritage d. Cardinal Gibbons 166-193 at Largo Mar CC Par 36: AH: Katherine Schaefer 38, Alessandra Tabora 40, Lily Celentano 41, Sophia Rickers 47, Alexis Cohen 51; CG: Kaylee Ehret 45, Annie Wilson 47, Celeste Adams 47, Taylor Schembri 54.