The No. 1-ranked South Dade Buccaneers found themselves in the biggest hole they have faced all season trailing Carol City 21-3 in the third quarter.
The Buccaneers cut the deficit to 10 in the fourth, but ultimately came up short falling 33-17 behind Carol City’s potent rushing attack with 255 yards and two long touchdown passes by freshman Keyone Jenkins.
"We had good practices and our focus was good, but they were just the better team tonight,” South Dade head coach Nate Hudson said. “You have to give them credit. Carol City was prepared and were desperate to play.”
South Dade (7-1) entered the game averaging 32.9 points and 303.1 yards of offense, but fell short of both of those marks against the Chiefs (4-5). The Bucs finished with 286 yards and an even split between rushing and passing.
Quarterback Kelvin Durham was not as efficient as he has been, completing 12 of 26 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown, and adding 61 yards and a score on 19 carries.
Leading rusher Chezzy Mathews was held to 58 yards on 14 carries and leading scorer Trevon Sanders was held without a catch, had a two-yard run, and threw two incomplete passes including an interception late.
“We just couldn't get things going the way we needed to,” Hudson said.
Willie Thomas was a bright spot for the Bucs with seven catches for 97 yards and a touchdown to go with three carries for 22 yards.
Diego Navia gave the Bucs an early lead with a 22-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Carol City responded with a 13-play, 71-yard drive, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Lemmie Faulk, who had nine carries with a 13-play, 71-yard drive, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Lemmie Faulk, who had nine carries for 60 yards on the drive.
"A lot of missed tackles,” Hudson said. “That really hurt us defensively and it extended drives."
Jenkins found Duane Thomas for a 39-yard score to give the Chiefs a 14-3 lead at halftime despite South Dade having more yards at the break 165-136. Two lost fumbles by Durham and Mathews halted drives for the Bucs.
Carol City stretched its lead to 21-3 on a one-yard touchdown plunge by Willie Floyd.
Tempers boiled over onto the next possession as four players were ejected. South Dade’s Tyler Ladaker and Carol City’s Richard Lawson traded punches and were tossed. Carol City’s Isaiah Joseph and Daeron Hicks were also ejected.
The incident resulted in the Bucs advancing the ball to the Carol City 34 and eventually Durham found his way into the end zone for a one-yard score. The two-point conversion attempt failed with South Dade trailing 21-9.
Jenkins’s second long touchdown strike of the game, a 45-yarder to Maxeau Joseph, kept the Chiefs out in front 27-9 in the fourth.
Despite the deficit, the Bucs charged back as Durham found Thomas for a 23-yard touchdown and Durham ran in the two-point conversion, cutting the lead to 27-17 with 8:08 left.
Sanders’s interception and Geter’s 47-yard touchdown run sealed the victory for Carol City.
"We put ourselves in a bad situation and we tried to dig ourselves out, but it just didn't work out for us,” Hudson said. “I did like the fight in us. We did close the gap, but unfortunately we came up short."
Carol City (4-5) 0 14 7 12 - 33
South Dade (7-1) 0 3 6 8 – 17
South Dade - Navia 22 field goal
Carol City - Faulk 2 run (Pope kick)
Carol City - Thomas 39 pass from Jenkins (Pope kick)
Carol City - Floyd 1 run (Pope kick)
South Dade - Durham 1 run (run failed)
Carol City - Joseph 45 pass from Jenkins (kick failed)
South Dade - Thomas 23 pass from Durham (Durham run)
Carol City - Geter 47 run (kick failed)
RUSHING: Carol City: Geter 12-100, Faulk 9-60, Nelson 5-41, Cash 6-35, Jenkins 3-31, Jean 1--1, Thomas 2--5. South Dade: Durham 19-61, Mathews 14-58, Thomas 3-22, Sanders 1-2.
PASSING: Carol City: Jenkins 4-9-0, 101. South Dade: Durham 12-26-0, 143, Sanders 0-2-1, 0.
RECEIVING: Carol City: Joseph 1-45, Thomas 1-39, Pope 2-17. South Dade: Thomas 7-97, Mathews 2-17, Ladaker 1-16, Bruce 1-13.