Sophomores are supposed to be rattled in big games, but with his team trailing and down to its final drive against American Heritage on Friday, Mainland quarterback Denzel Houston said his confidence never wavered.
And, perhaps most impressive for the Buccaneers, his teammates said they never doubted their young star would carry them to victory.
“Never,” receiver Kaylo Hannah said. “We knew that he would do it.”
And, he did, leading the Bucs (5-0) to a 42-30 win over the Patriots (2-2), who began the season with a national ranking and rolled into the game ranked second in Class 5A.
Houston delivered the big blow — a 17-yard touchdown strike to Will Collins — with just 36 seconds to go. That did away with American Heritage’s 30-28 lead. And the Bucs’ defense, which began the scoring with a 19-yard fumble return for touchdown by Kyle Oliver in the first quarter, closed it out when Jachai Polite recovered a loose ball off a desperation lateral in the end zone on the game’s final play.
“From the coaches all the way down, that is a great job,” Mainland coach Scott Wilson told his team. “That is one of our most historic wins against a renowned high school program. You guys deserve everything you get. You just made a statement.”
Oliver’s touchdown return was the only big highlight of the opening quarter, but the second turned into a track meet.
American Heritage got it started with a 2-yard touchdown run by Shadderick Lowery on the first play of the quarter.
▪ Flanagan 41, McArthur 6: Ryan Stanley threw two touchdowns, and the Falcons’ ground game logged 255 yards in a victory at home.
Stanley completed touchdown passes of 29 and 49 yards to Keavon Mitchell and Emonee Spence on Flanagan’s first two drives.
Then the Falcons’ ground attack took over. Mitchell, on his only rush, scored a 47-yard touchdown to give Flanagan a 19-0 lead just before the end of the first quarter.
▪ Cardinal Gibbons 44, Northeast 0: Quarterback Tyler Monaco threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Deon McIntosh rushed for 145 yards and three scores as the Chiefs (5-0) cruised to a homecoming victory.
Monaco was 10 for 14 for 118 yards and two touchdowns in one quarter and 30 seconds of work. He finished 11 for 15. McIntosh had 106 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.
▪ Champagnat Catholic 36 Somerset Academy 0: Kato Nelson ran for a touchdown and threw three more, connecting for two with Darnell Saloman and one with Steven Claude as the Lions (3-1) cruised at Chapel Trail.
Nelson completed 15 of 19 passes for 300 yards. Salomon had four receptions for 119 yards while Claude had three catches for 39 yards. Michael Fredrick had seven carries for 40 yards and a touchdown, while catching three passes for 54 yards.
▪ Pompano Beach 24, Ransom Everglades 14: Zack Good rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown, and Eric Alexis returned a block punt 30 yards for a touchdown to lead host Pompano (3-2) to a win over Ransom Everglades (3-1). Good and Alexis each had an interception in the second half interceptions.
▪ Knight Invite Tournament— Pool A: Cypress Bay d. Coral Glades (25-10, 25-13). Nova d. Deerfield Beach (26-24, 26-24). Cypress Bay d. Deerfield (25-9, 25-10). Nova d. Coral Glades (25-17, 25-20). Deerfield d. Coral Glades (16-25, 25-16, 15-7). Cypress Bay d. Nova (25-6, 25-15). Pool B: Monarch d. South Broward (25-14, 25-14). Cooper City d. McArthur (25-20, 25-14). Monarch d. McArthur (25-18, 25-8). Cooper City d. South Broward (25-18, 25-27, 15-11). McArthur d. South Broward (25-20, 25-16). Monarch d. Cooper City (25-19, 27-25).
▪ Coral Reef d. South Dade (25-10, 25-16, 25-15): Kristine Rios 7 kills, 10 assists, 5 digs. Janel Kemp 7 kills. Danielle De Souza 15 digs. CR 10-0.
▪ Miami Springs d. Hialeah Gardens (25-21, 25-13, 25-22): Melissa Rojas 26 assists, 9 digs, ace, kill. Leslie Romero 18 digs, 2 kills. Kira Bennett 15 digs, 7 blocks, 8 kills. MS 7-2.
▪ Lourdes d. LaSalle (25-10, 25-15, 25-11): Brittany Bilotti 11 kills, 5 digs, block. Carolina Garcia 15 digs, aces. Maegan Cuesta 24 assists, 2 aces, 2 kills. LOU 7-3.
▪ Ransom d. Chaminade-Madonna (25-23, 25-18, 25-19): Sydney Bent 12 kills. Caroline Sklaver 8 kills. Annie Elkin 12 assists, 2 aces. Stephanie Bent 2 aces, 9 digs.
▪ TERRA d. Edison (25-7, 25-8, 25-9): Nikki Dequesada 5 kills, 2 aces. Grace Cope 11 aces, 3 kills, 2 digs. TER 9-3.
▪ Palmetto d. Southridge (25-8, 25-7, 25-11): Alexis Ceballos 8 kills, 4 aces. Erika Jacobs 6 kills, 3 aces. Natalia Ucros 18 assists, 3 aces. PAL 10-6.
▪ Calvary d. Seminole Ridge (25-21, 25-13): Jodie underwood 5 kills 2 blocks.
▪ Calvary d. Archbishop McCarthy (25-18, 25-21): Nicole Decker 10 kills 7 digs. Cal 10-1.