By Hector Gonzalez
On a hot Saturday afternoon at Vincent Torres Memorial Park, the Ft. Lauderdale Hurricanes advanced to the semifinals after defeating visiting Miami Gardens Vikings 20-8, in the 90lbs division.
Head Coach Christopher Roach, was confident before the game, proclaiming his backfield which included ; #2 Vincent “ Orange & Green” Davis Jr. ; #4 Jaylan “ Rooster” Knighton ; #3 Tyler “ Tin-Tin” Davis, would live up to the expectations.
“ Oh yea, were bringing a “ three headed monster” backfield into this game,” Hurricanes coach Roach said.
Indeed, rightly so, his young squad ranked # 1 in conference throughout the regular season, had defeated Miami Gardens Bulldogs on Nov. 13, to face off with the Vikings, who passed their test versus NW Broward Raiders on the same day to set-this match up.
But what neither of these young squads expected was three quarters of stingy defenses, in which there was pound-for-pound, hit-after-hit, and run stopping tackles, in which neither of them would come close from any red zone action.
The first quarter resulted in a fumble by the Hurricanes, courtesy of a Vikings defense, but Miami Gardens could not get their young 10-year-old running back # 4 Michael Harris going, as Ft. Lauderdale controlled the line-of scrimmage, and closed up all lanes.
The Hurricanes next drive resulted in the same, three-and out, with one pass attempt by quarterback # 1 Gerard Nesbitt going incomplete, and a turnover on downs.
Ending the first period 0-0.
In the second quarter, Miami Gardens still found itself searching for ways to get #4 Harris loose, and Ft. Lauderdale continued to struggle with penalties, fumble, and no room to run. Back-to-back hits by the Hurricane’s # 33 Ernest Felder on defense forced a Vikings punt, therefore bringing the half to a close scoreless.
Coming out of the break both teams repeated their performance for all the entire third quarter mostly with shut-down defenses, having everyone feeling this game would end up in overtime.
But my, how the tables would turn.
In the fourth quarter, with time winding down, and each side nervous, knowing one mistake could mean the season, Ft. Lauderdale’s #4 Knighton broke the game free with a 20-yard touchdown run, they would miss the extra point taking a 6-0 lead.
The young Hurricanes were just getting started.
With 3:43 remaining in the game, Ft.Lauderdale’s #9 Douglas Emilien came up with a huge-interception, a costly mistake by the Vikings, then Hurricane’s speedster #2 Davis Jr., swifted through the line, breaking tackles and exploded 70-yards down the sideline for potential game winning score.
“ I am really proud of him, hard to describe the feeling,” a smiling father Vincent Davis Sr, said after seeing his son’s touchdown run.
So there it was 1:23 in the fourth-quarter, and the Hurricanes with a 14-0 comfortable lead.
However, the Vikings were not going without a fight, # 4 Harris shook off-tacklers, broke one of his own for 60-yards, and cutting down the deficit 8-14 in favor of Ft. Lauderdale with under 1:00 left.
On the ensuing kick-off, the dagger for the Vikings, as #4 Knighton caught the ball, and ran untouched 55-yards for a touchdown, with Hurricanes side going crazy, and the game in the books.
As regulation expired, both sides lined up, Miami Gardens hearts were broken, players teary-eyed as their season ended.
“ It was tough season for us from the start, but these kids fought hard,” Chantele Harris mother of #4 Harris said, “ We are very proud of them, and I am extremely proud of my son, we always teach them never to give up, and play four quarters.”
For the Ft. Lauderdale Hurricanes, they advance to the third round , after a long-battled game.
“ It was a good defensive game, but my kids buckled down, and played hard-good nosed football,” a happy Hurricanes coach Roach said.
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