Since their rise to football prominence more than two decades ago, the Northwestern football program has won a lot of close games in a lot of different ways.
But Saturday night’s miracle win over Pompano Beach Blanche Ely at Traz Powell Stadium might be at the top of the list.
Trailing Ely by three points with one second left and lining up for a potential game-tying 32 yard field goal, Northwestern coach Eddie Brown rolled the dice — really rolled them.
Holder Xavier Bailey sprung off the ground with the ball, rolled to his right, and even though nobody was really open, heaved it toward the middle of the end zone into a crowd.
And out of the crowd emerged Northwestern’s Jacquez Garrison with the ball, and Northwestern had a wild 23-20 victory to go 4-0 to start the season.
“It was a designed play, I called it,” Brown said. “I called it because they [Ely] were bringing everything off the edge. Nobody was over there. I told my holder we’ve got a 6-6 basketball player over there and to throw it up and he’ll go get it, and it worked.”
Said Bailey: “Before the snap I looked at my coach and he gave me that signal and we executed. Nobody was really open so I just threw it up for grabs and just glad somebody came down with it.”
Said Garrison: “I saw him come out and saw the ball in the air and just got in there and got my arms up and went after that ball. I knew he saw me and when I got my hands on it, no way was I letting it go.”
The was the last miracle. The first one was that the Bulls even had a chance at it.
Trailing 17-14, Ely (1-3) mounted a desperate late drive that resulted in a 2-yard Arthur Forrest touchdown with 36 seconds left. But the extra point was missed, leaving Northwestern’s deficit at three.
When Marion Alonzo’s last-second 52-yard field-goal attempt fell short, Ely players emptied on to the field in celebration. But Dennis Brayboy had run into Alonzo on the kick and was penalized, giving the Bulls another 15 yards and another chance, setting up Brown’s big gamble.
▪ North Miami 48, Miami Beach 12: The Pioneers came away with their third consecutive win as they defeated Miami Beach at North Miami Stadium. North Miami capitalized on Miami Beach High miscues that were caused by intense rain. Hilton Joseph passed for 148 yards, including an 81-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Dorvil. Joseph also led the team with 75 yards rushing and a touchdown run.
Senior linebacker James Bell forced three fumbles, recovering two, and scored a touchdown for North Miami. Beach High was led by Randle Jones, as he led all rushers with 105 yards and scored a touchdown.
▪ American 50, Westland Hialeah 0: American wasted little time in displaying its dominance over Westland Hialeah at Milander Park.
Shammond Williams scored on a 62-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, and the Patriots (3-1) were off and running. Eight players accounted for scoring plays, including two Josh Cartwright touchdown passes.
American’s Jawuan Lewis forced a fumble on the first kickoff in the second quarter, and James Banks scooped it up and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown that gave the Patriots a 30-0 lead. The Patriots held the Wildcats (0-5) to minus-18 yards in total offense.
▪ Westminster Academy 54, Boca St. Andrew’s 0: The host Lions gained 417 yards (and finished with 20 first downs) and had six takeaways — all leading to touchdowns — to remain undefeated against the Scots.
Wideout Ryan Moore led Westminster Academy (5-0) with 166 receiving yards on seven receptions, including three scores. Quarterback Joseph Vairo completed 15 of 24 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns.
▪ LaSalle 42, Archbishop Curley 0: Emmanuel Readon caught three touchdown passes from Alejandro Utset as the visiting Royal Lions rolled over Archbishop Curley. Montrel Thomas led a Lions defense that held Curley to 28 totals yards with a 2-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown for the opening score.
Readon hauled in a 29-yard touchdown pass from Utset and closed the scoring with a 33-yard touchdown catch in the fourth.
▪ Calvary Christian 42, Benjamin 0: Nick Holm passed for three touchdowns, including two to Parker Collins, as the Eagles rolled at home. Collins finished with seven receptions for 149 yards. Massi Gamble led the Eagles’ rushing attack with 118 yards and three touchdowns.
▪ Palmer Trinity 46, Everglades Prep 20: Everglades Prep opened the scoring on a 65-yard touchdown pass but it was all Palmer Trinity after that. The Falcons scored 21 first-quarter points and Guillermo Bonet and Dylan DiBello hooked up on four touchdown passes.
▪ Belen 10, South Fort Myers 7: Belen (3-1-0) scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to cap off a comeback victory for the second week in a row. With 10:49 left in the fourth, Jake Ramirez made a 15-yard field goal for the winning score. The kick came at the end of a 10-play drive.
Belen quarterback Daniel Hernandez was 5 for 10 for 146 yards and Frank Battle had four receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown.