University of Miami recruit Jaquan Johnson intercepted a pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown and also had a fumble recovery to lead Killian (12-0) past Belen (8-4) with a 31-0 victory in a Region 4-8A semifinal played at Tropical Stadium.
Johnson, a defensive back, keyed a secondary that also got interceptions from Sheldrick Redwine and Shamar Munroe, helping the Cougars earn their sixth shutout of the season.
In a game played under wet and rainy conditions, Killian’s special teams produced a pair of safeties, and its offense got touchdown runs from quarterback Antwan Collier (30 and 2 yards) and Bentavious Thompson (40 yards).
The result was the second year in a row that Killian has eliminated Belen from the playoffs. On Friday, Killian will play Columbus (11-1) for the right to advance to the state semifinals. The last time Killian made it this far in the playoffs was 2012, when the Cougars lost 36-19 to Columbus.
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Killian is three wins short of matching its 2004 team, which won the school’s only state title. But it will be facing a Columbus team that hasn’t allowed an offensive point in four consecutive games.
Killian dominated Friday’s first half, scoring on a safety — Belen’s long snapper sailed one out of the end zone — and on a 30-yard run around right end by Collier.
But Belen’s defense hung tough, stopping Killian on downs three times, including once on an 18-yard march.
Killian got a safety to start the third quarter when Belen’s kick returner was tackled in the end zone.