The 2017 Coral Shores High School Hurricanes. DOUG FINGER/ Contributed
CORAL SHORES: Outlasting the Storm
The 2017 Coral Shores Hurricanes Varsity football season will be remembered for many reasons – most glaringly, the four games canceled due to Hurricane Irma and recovery. Beyond that, the team has shown its true grit, first facing down a literal storm, then becoming its namesake and churning up yards on offense to finish its regular season strong. Chalk the success up to its coaching staff, which Hurricanes players say is the best in the nation.
After a tough two game skid, including a 6-3 loss in double overtime and loss to Marathon High School, the Hurricanes’ record sat at 1-2. However, the team responded in its Homecoming game against Miami Christian, winning 38-7 in what was largely a statement game.
The offense’s ground attack was led by senior Aiden Hawkins’ 151 yards on 22 carries. Using multiple running backs in a committee-style approach helped the offense immensely, said Coach Alphonso Bryant.
“We went back to what has been successful in the past and worked out of the I-formation,” said Bryant.
The offense put up a whopping 470 yards of total offense. On the other side of the ball, the defensive line and linebackers applied pressure, utilizing different blitz packages that allowed the defensive backs coverage time. It lead to big sacks and forced turnovers by Conner Rhyne and Hawkins.
Following the big win, the Hurricanes looked to keep the momentum against Keys Gate.
After a hard-fought first half, the Hurricanes led 14-6 going into the fourth quarter. Just when it looked like Keys Gate was going to inch closer, senior Jay Kubida came down with a batted ball for a red zone interception.
Defensive end Isiah Edwards said the individual work that players put in to disguising their blitzing packages confused defenses. The turnovers are the result.
Later in the quarter it was Kubida again with an almost identical tipped-ball interception on the other end of the field.
“It happens naturally on the field, but that’s why you practice every single game situation,” said Kubida.
Led by Hawkins, the ’Canes utilized their powerful running game behind the blocking of seniors Isiah Edwards and Dustin Chamberlin to charge downfield. Hawkins credits the offensive line’s ability to push around defenders as the reason he’s been productive. The drive ran down much of the remaining time, and sealed the Hurricanes’ 21-6 victory.
Now at 3-2, the season isn’t quite over yet for the team and its 14 seniors. The Hurricanes host Florida Christian on Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. Coach Bryant is also trying to work out one last game by rescheduling the team’s season opener against rival La Salle High School.
MARATHON: Winning season on the way
The Marathon Dolphins are on pace to wrap up their first winning season in 10 years. Including the preseason, the Dolphins’ record sits at 5-2.
“We’ve confirmed that we’re going to have a winning season,” said Coach Anthony Davis. “It shows the program is moving in the right direction.”
Davis credits his players’ mental toughness for the success this year, adding that their ability to deal with adversity and play at an elevated level has given a hurting community a lot of hope. Some seniors have demonstrated that sort of commitment dating back to their freshman season, says Davis.
All year, the offensive approach has been a balanced attack. When quarterback Jackson McDonald isn’t slinging the ball downfield, a committee of running backs has carried the brunt. The defense has been more than reliable thanks in part to the Dolphins’ defensive backs primarily operating in man-to-man coverage.
Going into the final stretch of the season, Davis said he has one goal – “Go out on top and give them a conference championship.”
The Marathon Dolphins’ remaining games are both scheduled against Ransom Everglades on Friday, Oct. 27 and Friday, Nov. 3. As the top teams in the conference, the second meeting will determine who will be crowned champions.