BY HECTOR GONZALEZ
Miami, Fl – On a rainy Saturday afternoon under the anticipation of a tropical storm, Florida Youth Football League was still being played at West Little River Park with one of youth football’s marquee match ups.
It was the Miami Gardens Vikings (175lbs) led by coach Todd Walker in an impressive 20-0 shutout of the Northside Panthers (175lbs) coached by Carlton Dickson.
” Hard work pays off,” Scott Lakes’ quarterback #15 Darius Nelson who’s on the Gennexxt Youth Football Heisman watch said afterwards, ” We are an understated team, and did what exactly what they didn’t expect us to do. Our offensive line blocked, our wide receivers and team were precise.”
In the end it was venomous for the Panthers (0-1), they faced a deadly Vikings (1-0) running attack led by #22 Travis ” Black Mamba” Edwards who rushed for 106-yards on 9 carries to go with two touchdowns. Miami Gardens opened up the game right behind their workhorse with the help of an offensive line responsible for producing 11.7 yards per carry.
Northside came out sporting an old school fashioned wish bone offense, but the Vikings’ aggressive 5-3 defense wasn’t having any of it, as they kept the Panthers’ running back #6 Jamaurrie Freeman in check for all four quarters. The Vikings’ first score came early in the second quarter after driving the entire field. Miami Gardens’ offensive coordinator, Matt Vincent called a fake off tackle play, which freed up the fullback #34 Martin Crue to score a five-yard touchdown run right up the gut.
The Panthers, wanting to get some pay back of their own, executed with intensity on special teams sealing all their blocks expect one, as Northside’s #6 Freeman almost returned a kickoff for a TD, streaking down the sideline for a 51 yard return before he was ran down from behind by the speedy Scott Lakes’defender,#1 Deandre Wilder.
Northside set up their offense on the Vikings 35 yard line, but again the drive was halted by a turnover- fumble- giving the ball up back into the hands of their opponent. After two quarters of football, the Vikings lead the Panthers, 6-0 at the half.
Vikings’ defensive end, #1 Deandre Wilder would continue to make his presence felt as he ripped through the line a scrimmage and tackled Northside’s running back for a six yard loss at the start of the second half.
Vikings’ defensive coordinator, Coach “Heavy”, turned up the Vikings’ intensity by dialing up all out blitzes which forced the Panthers into another punting situation. That’s when Travis” Black Mamba” Edwards took his first bite out of the Panthers’ defense – exploding for the first of his two-touchdowns, this one a 65-yard race to the goal line. Vikings increase their lead to 12-0.
“It was supposed to go to the outside, but I just cut it back inside and took it to the house!” Vikings running back #22, Travis Edwards said.
At that point it seemed as if Northside might have checked out of the game, down 12-0, struggling to gain any offense firepower to answer the Vikings ground and pound offense. A delay of game penalty and a false start flag, to go with no room from escaping a host of Vikings’ defenders ended in sack and turnover on downs.
The Vikings #8 Keidon Wallace sealed the deal with a 20-yard touchdown run with time running out in the fourth quarter. “I just saw the open field and took advantage of it. Our offensive line really was aggressive all day; I knew it was just a matter of time before they helped me break one open.”
Vikings’ Head Coach Todd Walker said in a post game interview, “It was a good win, but we have a lot of room for improvement. We’ll get better, every week, you can trust that.”