It was anything but your average night at Traz Powell Stadium.
But in the end, the Carol City Chiefs, the top ranked team in South Florida, the state and No. 13 in the country by Max Preps accomplished exactly what it aimed to do: Beat Northwestern in the first of what will be a series of neighborhood battles over the next few weeks at Traz.
The Chiefs completely dominated Northwestern in the first half, jumping out to a 22-0 lead at the break on their way to a 28-7 victory over the Bulls in a District 16-6A contest.
They also had to overcome a 45-minute delay when, with 4:06 left in the third quarter and the Chiefs ahead 28-0, near panic ensued at the stadium.
Right after both benches nearly emptied over a fracas on the Northwestern side when Chiefs defensive back Chester Fearon got into a confrontation with the Bulls’ bench on an out-of-bounds play, fans on the Carol City side started running and diving on the ground in a fear that gunshots had rung out.
Players, coaches, referees and even reporters all hit the ground as well, not sure what was going on.
A minute later, both teams were rushed off to their respective locker rooms where the game went into a 45-minute delay before resuming.
The panic ensued apparently over a fight in the stands and verbal threats that might have been made.
Miami-Dade Police Department detective Lee Cowart told the Miami Herald in an email that no shots were fired and that North District officers from the Miami-Dade Police Department responded to a male with a laceration and a female cheerleader suffering from an asthma attack.
Once back on the field, both teams finished the game but play was a little choppy and the energy from the game was gone as the Bulls and Chiefs struggled to get refocused.
“I think it was a lot for them to process over the delay in the game and then having to find a way to get refocused and we really didn’t do a good job of that,” said Carol City head coach Benedict Hyppolite. “But make no mistake about it, I’m very pleased over what happened tonight because this was a district game and winning doesn’t come easy against a team like this so I’ll take it any way I can.”
Make no mistake about it either. The Chiefs came out from the opening whistle and made sure they let the Bulls know who was boss, especially on defense.
By the time halftime arrived, Northwestern went to the locker room with minus-1 yard of total offense. Bulls quarterback Isiah Velez was running for his life all night as the Carol City defense, led by defensive end Malcolm Ray, sacked him eight times for 50 yards in losses.
“We’ve been bringing it all season long so tonight was just another night for our D,” said Ray, a University of South Florida commit. “We had a good game and felt like we were doing whatever we wanted out there. This is great show going on here right now, don’t miss it.”
Meanwhile while Ray and his defensive teammates were playing shutdown ball, Chiefs quarterback Daniel Richardson led the way for the offense, completing 8-of-16 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
But it was Chiefs running Nay’quan Wright who did the most damage as he was in on all three first half touchdowns.
He got things going on the Chiefs’ second possession when he bolted up the middle for a 46-yard touchdown with 5:31 left in the first.
The Chiefs (7-0) took their next possession from their own 20 and 12 plays later, on third-and-six from the NW 28, he took a backwards pass from Richardson in the flat and fired a strike to Michael Bucknor for a 28 yard score.
One possession later, on fourth-and-14 from the Northwestern 17, Richardson dropped back and found Wright wide open over the middle for the touchdown which was followed by a successful two point conversion.
“This whole week we were talking about tempo, tempo, tempo and we did that tonight and got the job done,” said Richardson, who transferred during the offseason from Booker T. Washington, the Chiefs’ next opponent next week on Thursday at Traz. “We got a little sloppy in the second half and we’re going to have a lot of things to clean up. [The delay] definitely had an effect and kind of slowed the process down but that’s on us to find a way to overcome something like that.”
Carol City got its fourth touchdown early in the third quarter when Greg Reddick broke through and blocked a Larry Robbins punt and Earl Pope fell on it in the end zone.
The Bulls (4-4) avoided the shutout with 4:18 left in the game when Velez found Dwight Jackson for a 16-yard score.
Miami Herald staff writer Monique O. Madan contributed to this report.