North­west­ern stuns Cen­tral to reach semis

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - Sports - BY JOR­DAN MCPHER­SON jm­cpher­[email protected]­ami­her­ald.com — BILL DA­LEY — DAVID WIL­SON — DAVE BROUSSEAU — BILL DA­LEY — BILL DA­LEY — KYLIE WANG

Isiah Velez had time on the clock and a chance for redemp­tion.

His North­west­ern Bulls were down by three with un­der six min­utes left in the Re­gion 4-6A fi­nal to dis­trict ri­val Cen­tral. The sea­son came down to the se­nior quar­ter­back, who had strug­gled for most of the game.

Five min­utes, thir­teen plays, and one touch­down pass later, the Bulls stormed off the field with a 19-15 win at Traz Pow­ell Sta­dium on Fri­day night to ad­vance to the state semi­fi­nals.

Velez com­pleted 10-of-12 passes for 88 yards on that gamewin­ning drive, over­com­ing a 17-yard penalty mid­way through the se­ries and con­vert­ing a fourth-and-2 af­ter Velez mis­tak­enly spiked the ball on third down to stop the clock with about a minute left.

The clincher: A 12-yard fade to Romello Brin­son in the left corner of the end zone with 37 sec­onds left in reg­u­la­tion. It was Velez’s sec­ond touch­down pass of the sec­ond half to his sopho­more re­ceiver. The first was a 40-yard catch and run late in the third quar­ter.

Car­di­nal Gib­bons 35, PlanA tation Amer­i­can Her­itage 7: It didn’t mat­ter that very few peo­ple gave Car­di­nal Gib­bons a shot on Fri­day af­ter los­ing the heart and soul of their team, quar­ter­back Nik Scalzo, to a sea­so­nend­ing knee in­jury.

Nope, when it was all over, there they were, cel­e­brat­ing wildly with their hys­ter­i­cal fans fol­low­ing a shock­ing rout of Plan­ta­tion Amer­i­can Her­itage and punch­ing the Chiefs’ ticket to next week’s 5A state semi­fi­nal where they will host Tampa Je­suit.

It hap­pened thanks mainly to a re­mark­able de­fen­sive ef­fort. Led by line­backer Tre­vis Robin­son and de­fen­sive end Khris Bogle, the Chiefs played shut­down de­fense all night. Robin­son re­cov­ered a fum­ble on Her­itage’s first snap and re­turned it 10 yards for a touch­down. One drive later, cor­ner­back Michael An­toine in­ter­cepted a pass and re­turned it to the Her­itage 8, setting up an­other Gib­bons touch­down.

The Chiefs cruised from there.

St. Thomas Aquinas 35,

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Dwyer 0: For just a mo­ment, St. Thomas Aquinas ap­peared vul­ner­a­ble. The Raiders’ first drive against Dwyer at Brian Pic­colo Me­mo­rial Sta­dium lasted only three plays and went back­ward quickly with a pair of sacks on Curt Cas­teel.

Not much went wrong the rest of the way for St. Thomas Aquinas. The Raiders re­sponded with an­other dom­i­nant per­for­mance for the fi­nal 41 min­utes of a dom­i­nant win.

Ju­nior Mar­cus Rosemy fin­ished with four catches for 134 yards and two touch­downs. The four catches came on the first four pass at­tempts of the game for Cas­teel, who fin­ished 6 of 8 with 159 yards and a touch­down, plus 22 rush­ing yards.

The shutout was St. Thomas Aquinas’ sec­ond in a row and eighth of the sea­son.

Deer­field Beach 21, Palm

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Beach Cen­tral 6: The theme for Deer­field Beach’s run at a Class 8A state ti­tle is be­com­ing clearer with each game: de­fense and run­ning back Jay­lan Knighton.

The com­bi­na­tion was again suc­cess­ful as the Bucks de­feated Palm Beach Cen­tral in a Re­gion 3-8A fi­nal at Deer­field Beach High.

Knighton fin­ished the night with 130 yards on 23 car­ries and two touch­downs. The ju­nior run­ning back and Ok­la­homa com­mit now has 2,045 yards and 28 to­tal touch­downs this sea­son. He helped seal the win with 55 yards on six con­sec­u­tive car­ries late in the fourth quar­ter.

De­fen­sively, se­nior line­backer Bran­don Moses was ev­ery­where with a fum­ble re­cov­ery, a 35-yard

in­ter­cep­tion re­turn and a sack.

Univer­sity School 45,

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Glades Cen­tral 14: Af­ter spend­ing the past 51 weeks fret­ting over an op­por­tu­nity lost, the Univer­sity School Sharks will get their shot to right a wrong next week.

Fol­low­ing a rout of Belle Glade Glades Cen­tral in a Re­gion 4-4A fi­nal at their field, Univer­sity will hit the road next week to take on Co­coa in a 4A state semi­fi­nal, the same team and the same field that saw them re­turn home 49-14 losers a year ago.

The op­por­tu­nity is there be­cause the Sharks (11-1) got qual­ity per­for­mances from a host of play­ers.

Sopho­more quar­ter­back Nick Vat­tiato com­pleted 13-of-22 passes for 389 yards and four touch­downs. Two of those scores went to two-way player Chris­tian Wells. who fin­ished with four catches for 139 yards and made key pass breakups at de­fen­sive back.

Five-star run­ning back Kenny McIn­tosh rushed for 155 yards on 15 car­ries and one score.

The Sharks jumped out to a 14-0 first-quar­ter lead, led 28-7 at half­time and were never threat­ened.

Cham­pag­nat 21, Moore

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Haven 10: A team that doesn’t even have a home field and plays all road games was once again right in its com­fort zone on Fri­day night.

The Cham­pag­nat Lions came through against No. 2 seed Naples St. John Neu­mann, win­ning in a Re­gion 4-2A fi­nal.

With that, the de­fend­ing 2A state cham­pi­ons have caught their stride at the per­fect time and will now travel to St. Peters­burg next week to take on Ad­mi­ral Far­ragut in a 2A state semi­fi­nal.

And no mo­ment was big­ger the Lions when, lead­ing 14-10 with less than five min­utes to go and fac­ing an fourth-and-3 at their own 30, the head coach made a gutsy call and ac­tu­ally went for it.

Daryn “Duke” Jones re­sponded with 12 yards and a fresh set of downs. Five plays later, quar­ter­back Ma­lik Rutherford took off on a per­fectly ex­e­cuted quar­ter­back draw for a 25-yard touch­down with 2:45 left to seal the win.

Cham­i­nade-Madonna 14,

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Del­ray Amer­i­can Her­itage 3: The Cham­i­nade-Madonna Lions are no stranger to vic­to­ries. On Fri­day night, they checked off yet an­other win, de­feat­ing the Del­ray Amer­i­can Her­itage Stal­lions to ad­vance to the Class 3A state semi­fi­nals.

The Lions’ de­fense con­trolled the game with three blocked passes, one sack by se­nior de­fen­sive end Cameron Wil­liams and two forced fum­bles, one of which came on the Stal­lions’ first play of the game. The Lions’ re­cov­ery on that play led to a touch­down just four downs later.

Re­ceiver John Dun­more scored Cham­i­nade’s sec­ond touch­down.

GAS­TON DE CARDENAS For the Mi­ami Herald

North­west­ern wide re­ceiver Romello Brin­son dives for the goal line and scores a touch­down on a 40-yard catch and run against Cen­tral on Fri­day night at Traz Pow­ell Sta­dium. Brin­son scored two TDs in the win.

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