SPORTS WRAP: ’CANES & CONCHS FOOTBALL DOMINATE

ELLA HALL/Keys Weekly

Key West

The outcome of Key West’s Sept. 16 game against the Crusaders of Dade Christian became obvious in the first quarter, during which the Conchs scored a record 30 points. The domination began on the Crusaders’ first offensive possession when Jakari Blackman intercepted the ball and the Conchs’ offense quickly capitalized with a James Reynolds touchdown run. The pick and subsequent score put Key West on the scoreboard before most fans had even settled in.  

The Conchs’ defense played well all night, effectively stopping Dade Christian’s attempted air assault. The Crusaders threw the ball 18 times in the first half with zero runs, adding only one attempt on the ground in the second half.

The Conchs’ offense reached the end zone every time they touched the ball, scoring at will in a variety of ground and air attempts. The Crusaders had no answer for Blackman’s speed, Clerf Alexandre’s resilience, or James Reynold’s brute force. Adrian Mira threw well, with one touchdown pass in the game, but left the contest early with an ankle injury. While coach Johnny Hughes said there was no fracture found, he described the idea of heading into a game with nationally-ranked Cardinal Gibbons with a starting QB whose play is questionable at the moment as “not an ideal situation.” 

Fortunately for the Conchs, backup quarterback Jaden Fox held down the QB spot for much of the final three quarters, connecting with Zentavious Carey for one of the Conchs’ six scores on the night. The Conchs scored early and often, with both teams agreeing to running clock – standard when a point deficit reaches 35 – early in the second quarter. The Crusaders managed to score late in the second quarter as Key West gave ample play time to underclassmen. It would be their only score of the game, though, as Key West rumbled to a 44-6 win via six touchdowns and a safety. Marco Davila had a perfect night kicking, converting all six PAT attempts and putting the ball into the end zone multiple times on kickoffs.

The Conchs hope to carry the momentum forward into this week’s matchup against the undefeated Chiefs of Cardinal Gibbons. Hughes says the Conchs are “stoked to have the opportunity” to play a team he described as talented, deep, disciplined and well-coached, stating, “We need to play our perfect game if we want to win. We can’t beat ourselves.”  Key West kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23 in The Backyard.

Coral Shores

The Hurricanes made the most of their only road trip this season, soundly beating Miami Sunset 35-0. Coach Ed Holly said he was “so proud of the team for understanding the importance of travel and overcoming the struggles of a road game.” He elaborated that in addition to the regular trials of a long bus trip, the ’Canes had to endure well over an hour delay prior to kickoff due to bad weather. 

When the game did finally start, it was sloppy in every way except for one: the play of the Hurricanes. Holly praised center Hugh Connolly for the perfection in his snaps despite the conditions and described the win as “a team effort.” Cornerback Alex Gutierrez played with impeccable coverage the entire game, shutting down big plays, while defensive ends Xavyer Arrington and Victor Franchini stopped the short game. Franchini had two sacks to his credit during the contest.

Offensively, quarterback Yemcel Moreno had a pair of passing touchdowns, one to Derek Smith and one to Isaac Holmes, along with one rushing TD. Chuck Jacobsen added a pair of touchdown runs to make the final score 35-0.  

Overall, Holly said the team executed well and they are excited to play Everglades Prep on Friday, Sept. 23 in Coral Shores’ homecoming game. The 3-1 Hurricanes hope to topple the 1-2 Panthers in the neon-themed celebration to top off the “Dancing Through the Decades” festivities. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Marathon

Marathon spent their bye week preparing for their Sept. 23 game against Ransom Everglades.  The Fins seek to avenge their loss last season against the Raiders. The matchup appears to be a fairly even one, despite the 54-0 score last time the teams met. This time around, Ransom will travel to Marathon, whose student section asks that fans take part in their spirit theme, “Ridin’ in Style” by dressing up in rodeo gear. 

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Tracy McDonald fled to the Keys from the frozen mountains of Pennsylvania hours after graduating from college and never looked back. She is a second generation coach and educator, and has taught in the public school system for over 25 years. She and her husband met at a beginning teacher meeting in 1997 and have three children born and raised in Monroe County. In her free time, McDonald loves flea markets, historical fiction and long runs in the heat.