Stranahan waited eight long years to finally make another postseason appearance.
When the Dragons trudged off to the buses Saturday, they probably wished the wait had lasted longer.
That after two-time defending state champion Northwestern made roadkill out of the Dragons, scoring 48 in the first half en route to a 63-0 rout in a first round Region 4-5A quarterfinal contest at Traz Powell Stadium.
The Bulls (9-2), ranked No. 3 in the Miami Herald’s South Florida Top 20 poll will host Killian next Fridayat Traz in a regional semifinal. They and No. 3 ranked Plantation American Heritage, which will host North Miami Beach, are now both just one win away from a highly-anticipated “game-of-the-year” regional final showdown Nov. 22.
“It’s just a situation where you obviously know that you’re much better than a team but I don’t know how to tell the kids to fall down so you just keep playing,” said Northwestern coach Max Edwards, who emptied the bench late in the first half and played a number of junior varsity players the rest of the way. “We did what we could tonight to just come out early on and look sharp and now it’s just about trying to get better each week and just get ready for Killian next week.”
This one was a mismatch from the pregame coin toss as the Bulls offense seemingly scored at will while the defense sacked Dragon quarterbacks Ritchcard Antoine and Jullian Lewis eight times for negative-40 yards before the game even reached halftime.
The running clock was instituted when the third quarter began and the second half, thankfully for Stranahan, moved quickly. Stranahan finished with just two first downs on the night and one of those was by penalty.
“Even though we knew they weren’t going to be much of an opponent, right now we’re still just trying to stay focused week by week,” said defensive end Wati Huggins, who had three of those eight sacks along with a forced fumble in his first half of work. “We know Hertitage is out there and everyone is talking about it, but we’re just trying to block out that noise and like I said, take things week to week.”
Quarterback Taron Dickens finished his abbreviated night 6 of 9 for 70 yards and two touchdowns, while running back Kemani Brown had a 43-yard touchdown run.
Besides Huggins, defensive end Karon Johnson had two sacks and a fumble recovery, while defensive back Kamren Kinchens had two of his team’s three interceptions. Terrence Lewis had the other.
“I’m just working to keep them focused on our next opponent and not so much about American Heritage,” Edwards said. “We played Killian early in the year and beat them easily, but they are a much different team and will be ready for us so we’re going to need to be ready for them.”