By Hector Gonzalez
In the early-wee hours of a Saturday morning, the Plantation Wildcats ( American football League), and Miami Gardens Ravens ( South Florida Youth league) squared-off for state bragging rights.
In a game that exchanged leads, back-and-forth, the winner was Plantation, who defeated the Ravens 24-19 at Miramar Ansin Sports Complex, in the 75lbs weight division. The Wildcat advances to next week’s finals for the ” best-of-the-best” crown.
Plantation’s #20 Simon Khaheim made his presence felt early in the contest gaining 29-yards on 3 & 23 — as his team were called for multiple delay of game penalties backing them up on the game’s first offensive drive, however, the Ravens defense tightened up — #3 recorded a sack for Miami Gardens forcing a Wildcat punt.
It wouldn’t be long until Plantation was given another opportunity, with the Ravens going three-and-out, they put the ball in the hands of #47-who gained similar number to his jersey’s- 47-yards on second down of that drive, leading to #20-scoring for a 1-yard touchdown run, on third-and-goal to take a 8-0 lead. An onside-kick caught Miami Gardens off-guard, as the Wildcats recovered, but a stingy Ravens defense shut-down their momentum.
On the very next play– Raven’s #1 Katravis Geter Jr.,displayed blazing speed, catching the punt–Geter Jr. started to his left-then quickly changed directions, and it was off-to the races…a 78-yard return for a touchdown, #2 scored the extra point conversion.
Plantation, still wondering what might-have hit them on previous play, fumbled on their next drive, but the defense resisted any Raven attack, therefore hanging on to a one-point lead at the half 8-7.
The start of the second half began the same for the Wildcats, as they fumbled for the second time, Miami Gardens took over, and grabbed a commanding lead thanks to #2 Kem Williams, who burned Plantation for a 70-yard touchdown run, #1 Geter Jr. ran in the extra point that made it 14-8 in favor of Miami Gardens.
Plantation, was then given a taste of their own medicine, as the Ravens decided to go with an onside kick, and recovering, catching the Wildcats off-guard, but Miami Gardens was shut-down by Plantation’s defense, who vowed to give their offense the ball-back to redeem themselves.
They were right on time.
The young Wildcats ran with power, behind #20 Khaheim who bulldozed his way for a 27-yard touchdown score, changing the scoreboard again…#2 kicked the extra-point making it 16-14 — Plantation ahead.
But the Raven’s #1 Geter Jr. would slash through the Wildcats defense once more, this time a 50-yard run to the end zone, a missed extra point only gave them a 19-16 edge, in the fourth.
With under 5:00 remaining in the game, Plantation had their sights on the lead again, #20 Khaheim was in a zone, as he broke-free for 47-yards on the ground on 2 &12 …his teammate #6 capitalized with the go-ahead score, and # 2 who was efficient all game kicked the extra point, the Wildcats regained the lead, and the game 24-19.
The Ravens, would take one-more jab at it, but fell short, as they were met by a host of Plantation defenders, and on fourth-and-long their quarterback was sacked closing the contest.