Neither of these teams were headed to the postseason, but both of them played up to the heated rivalry that was both punishing and penalty-laden.
At the end, in a game called roughly 2 minutes 20 seconds early because of excessive unsportsmanlike penalties and a potentially dangerous brawl that never really developed, Hialeah Gardens beat Goleman 26-16 at Milander Park.
The teams combined for 286 yards in penalties, with 25 flags thrown and more that were unsettled when officials decided to end it early.
Andres Menahem’s 69-yard run with7:54 left in the second quarter set up Gabriel Almeidas’ 1-yard run that put Hialeah Gardens (4-6) ahead for good in a game that got exciting with a little less than nine minutes to play.
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Frank Serna caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from John Correa with 8:51 to play to pull Goleman (2-8) within two at 18-16 after Tory Myers ran in the conversion.
But Menahem, who rushed for 116 yards, scored from 4 yards out after Gladiators quarterback Yhostin Diaz scampered 35 yards with less than four minutes to play.
Correa threw two touchdown passes for the Gators.