The game had six lead changes including three during a rain-soaked fourth quarter.
In the end, it was Everglades Prep, behind 154 rushing yards by senior Sirr Daye, which came out victorious with a 28-22 win over Palm Glades Prep giving first-year head coach Mark Revere his first win over his former team.
“My first win as a head coach is pretty special,” Revere said. “Against my former team is even better.”
Diego Rodriguez, Ja’maree Thomas, Travon Donaldson, and Angel Mercado scored rushing touchdowns for the Panthers (1-3) to help back a strong performance by Daye.
“I’m not happy with the win because to me we almost lost to one guy,” Daye said. “We should have played better as a defense, but I still like the way that everybody played their heart out until the end of the game.”
Senior Devin Carswell led the Eagles (1-3) with 150 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and returned a kickoff 88 yards for a score. Sophomore Antonio Fisher also scored a touchdown.
“We couldn’t stop Devin,” Revere said.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Eagles, who watched sophomore Carrion William taken off the field by a helicopter in the second quarter after sustaining a hard hit while on defense attempting to make a tackle. William initially did not have feeling on one side of the body, but was released from the hospital later that day as he regained feeling. He sustained L1 and L2 spinal fractures.
“He’s great,” Palm Glades head coach Jonathan Jimenez said. “He’s in a sling, but he’s OK. The seriousness of an injury where you can’t feel extremities, everybody is scared of paralysis, but he’s blessed to be walking and talking today.”
From the time the game was stopped with William laying on his back to the time he was loaded into a helicopter was 42 minutes.
“It was hard for our team to come back from it,” said Jimenez, whose team led 14-8 at the time. “We have a young group built mostly with freshmen and sophomores with a few seniors peppered in and I’m really proud of the way they fought until the end. Our mental errors came back and bit us in the butt.”
Everglades Prep went ahead 28-22 with 7:28 left in the game on a 1-yard touchdown run by Mercado followed by junior Lester Mora’s two-point conversion run.
The Panthers had to hold on with the Eagles (1-3) driving late in the fourth. Carswell led the drive into the red zone. A holding call forced a 4th-and-22 from the 30. Carswell stepped back and calmly found sophomore Darius Hunter-Henley for a long pass, which appeared to be enough for a first down.
However, a poor spot marked Hunter-Henley down at the 9, turning the ball over on down, allowing the Panthers to run out the clock in the final minute for the win.
“From where I was standing on the 25 it was definitely a first down,” Jimenez said.
Revere said: “That was a big catch and a big hit. I’m glad we came down on the other half of that.”
The game was tied at 14 going into the fourth quarter. Travon Donaldson gave Everglades Prep a 20-14 lead with an 11-yard touchdown run up the middle on the first play of the quarter.
Carswell countered with a 58-yard touchdown run and ran in the two-point conversion giving Palm Glades a 22-20 lead.
A 28-yard run by Daye helped set up Mercado’s game-winning score.
Despite the loss, Jimenez was pleased with his team’s effort.
“My coaches worked their (butts) off, they came to my house for five, six hours on the weekend, watched film, and game-planned,” he said. “Definitely we are not the most talented team, but our guys are the hardest-working though.”
Everglades Prep (1-3) 8 6 0 14 – 28.
Palm Glades (1-3) 14 0 0 8 - 22
Palm Glades – Fisher 8 run (run failed)
Everglades Prep – Rodriguez 11 run (Rodriguez run)
Palm Glades – Carswell 88 kick return (Bethel run)
Everglades Prep – Thomas 2 run (run failed)
Everglades Prep – Donaldson 19 run (run failed)
Palm Glades – Carswell 58 run (Carswell run)
Everglades Prep – Mercado 1 run (Mora run)
RUSHING: Everglades Prep: Daye 15-154, McCollum 3-36, Donaldson 2-22, Mercado 5-15, Mora 1-11, Thomas 1-2, Hightower 1--2. Palm Glades: Carswell 15-150, Hunter-Henley 2-20, Fisher 8-11, Bethel 1--5.
PASSING: Everglades Prep: Mercado 6-9-1, 57. Palm Glades: Carswell 1-2-0, 21.
RECEIVING: Everglades Prep: Mora 4-34, Hightower 1-23. Palm Glades: Hunter-Henley 1-21.