Univer­sity squan­ders 14-point lead in loss

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - NBA -

Univer­sity was un­able to hold on to a two-touch­down sec­ond-half lead as the Sharks fell to Co­coa 32-31 in the teams’ Class 4A state semi­fi­nal con­test late Fri­day night.

“Some­times that’s the way foot­ball is,” said Univer­sity head coach Daniel Luque. “It’s a great game. It makes men. It builds char­ac­ter and we’re go­ing to use this mo­ti­va­tion for next year.”

It appeared early in the sec­ond half as though the Sharks might make their third trip to the state cham­pi­onship game af­ter scor­ing two touch­downs in 27 sec­onds.

The first score came courtesy of a

28-yard touch­down re­cep­tion by McIn­tosh from Nick Vat­tiato that gave the Sharks a 24-17 lead. Co­coa then sub­se­quently fum­bled the kick­off and on their first play of the next drive, Chris­tian Wells scored on a 31-yard touch­down re­cep­tion from Vat­tiato that helped put the Sharks up 31-17.

But Co­coa was able to work their way back into the con­test. They drew to within a score on a 29-yard scam­per by quar­ter­back D.J. Ar­royo with

3:56 left in the third quar­ter. Af­ter they fum­bled near the goal line, Co­coa was able to re­group and tal­lied two points when Vat­tiato was tack­led in the end zone early in the fourth quar­ter.

The Tigers took the lead for good in when Ja­mari Wil­liams caught an

18-yard touch­down pass from Ar­royo with 3:17 to go on third-and-goal.

“The safety, it ended up com­ing back to bite us in the butt by one point,” Luque said.

The Sharks un­able to re­spond as McIn­tosh lost a fum­ble on their first play from scrim­mage on the en­su­ing drive. The Sharks had one fi­nal chance af­ter get­ting the ball back in their ter­ri­tory with a lit­tle more than a half-minute to go but were un­able to get into field goal range.

Univer­sity started what was a see­saw first-half strong as a 1-yard plunge by McIn­tosh gave the Sharks a 6-0 lead. The Tigers re­sponded how­ever, with D.J. Ar­royo find­ing Caziah Holmes on a 16-yard touch­down to put the Tigers in front 7-6 early in the sec­ond quar­ter and they added to their lead by way of a 26-yard-field goal by Alex Petruzzello later in the half to go up 10-6.

But Univer­sity was able to re­take the lead at the start of a wild se­quence to end the first half, with an in­cred­i­ble one-handed catch by Sharks wide re­ceiver Chris­tian Wells on a

23-yard pitch-and-catch giv­ing the Sharks a 13-10 lead.

Co­coa re­sponded with just about a half-minute left in the first half though as Wil­lie Gaines’ 28-yard touch­down re­cep­tion put Co­coa up

17-13. A late 26-yard field goal by John Can­non trimmed the Tiger lead to one point at the half.

McIn­tosh, a com­mit to the Univer­sity of the Ge­or­gia, fin­ished with

155 to­tal yards and two touch­downs in his fi­nal game with the Sharks.

“Kenny McIn­tosh has been amaz­ing. He was the Broward County Of­fen­sive Player of the Year for the SunSen­tinel,” Luque added. “He’s re­ally go­ing to be missed. He’s U-School’s all-time lead­ing rusher and not only a great kid but a great fam­ily but I wish him great things at Ge­or­gia.

Co­coa ad­vances to Thurs­day’s Class 4A state cham­pi­onship game, where they’ll meet Jack­sonville Raines, the de­fend­ing state cham­pi­ons in the clas­si­fi­ca­tion.

— CHRIS BONANNO Mi­ami Colum­bus re­ceiver Xza­vier Hen­der­son is tack­led in the open field by Deer­field Beach CB Keyon Martin dur­ing the sec­ond half.

Colum­bus out­classes Deer­field Beach in 8A

Colum­bus run­ning back Henry Par­rish car­ried 25 times for 177 yards and three touch­downs as the Ex­plor­ers cap­i­tal­ized on three turnovers and costly penal­ties to pull out a 49-21 win over host Deer­field Beach in the Class 8A state semi­fi­nal late Fri­day night.

Par­rish’s fi­nal score, a game-seal­ing 61-yard run with 2:08 re­main­ing in the game sent Colum­bus to the state cham­pi­onship game on Dec. 8 at Camp­ing World Sta­dium in Or­lando where they will play Man­darin, a

45-31 win­ner over Sara­sota Riverview.

Deer­field Beach proved to be a gra­cious host in the first half with seven penal­ties and two turnovers as Mi­ami Colum­bus turned that into a 28-7 lead and the Bucks were un­able to re­cover.

Colum­bus’ Bran­don McDuf­fey threw two touch­downs, while Par­rish ran for one score and Elias Mo­rales re­turned a Derohn King in­ter­cep­tion 42 yards for a touch­down to give the Ex­plor­ers (14-0) the early ad­van­tage. King’s sec­ond pick-6, a

20-yard re­turn by Kalani Nor­ris with

5:52 iced the game at 42-21.

“We fought,” said Deer­field Beach coach Jevon Glenn. “What peo­ple have to un­der­stand is we have a young team and we have to learn from this as we carry this into the off­sea­son. I am proud of my team and my se­niors that gave ev­ery­thing they have for four years.

“We did ev­ery­thing you can not do when you are try­ing to win a ball game,” said Glenn, whose team was pe­nal­ized 16 times for 93 yards and had four costly dropped passes, in­clud­ing two sure touch­downs. The Bucks also had a TD whis­tled back on a penalty.

Colum­bus hit dou­ble dig­its for the

24th straight play­off game and scored on their first three pos­ses­sions of the game.

“I mean just the mis­cues, the lack of fo­cus,” Glenn lamented, “I don’t want to take any­thing away from Colum­bus, they cap­i­tal­ized on our mis­cues and our let­downs. A lot of them weren’t given away, they were forced. They are a hel­luva foot­ball team and I am hop­ing they go up there, rep­re­sent South Florida and bring that ti­tle back.”

Deer­field Beach (12-2) saw its sixgame win­ning streak come to an end with the loss. The other set­back was a

38-6 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas. King fin­ished 14 of 34 for 193 yards pass­ing and three in­ter­cep­tions while run­ning back Jay­lan Knighton, who en­tered the game with 2,045 yards rush­ing and 28 scores, was held to just 44 yards rush­ing. It equaled his season low which came against Aquinas.

Deer­field fell to 1-7 in state semi­fi­nal games with the de­feat. The lone win came in 2005 when they reached the state fi­nal and lost to Palm Beach Gar­dens, 49-29 at Dol­phin Sta­dium, now known as Hard Rock Sta­dium.

—GARY CURRERI

MICHAEL LAUGHLIN/SUN SEN­TINEL PHO­TOS

Mi­ami Colum­bus run­ning back Ni­cholas Maza is tack­led by Deer­field Beach safety Ty­ron Her­ring on Fri­day.

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