Needing a win to stay in the Southeast Florida Football Conference championship picture, the Coral Shores High football team came in focused on the task at hand during the Monroe County rivalry matchup against Marathon High as the Hurricanes created four turnovers en route to a 38-8 victory on Friday at the Middle Keys campus.
“I think we are learning how to play together and finish the plays,” said Bryant. “It’s just a matter of fine-tuning at this point.”
Coral Shores never took its foot off the pedal during the win, as quarterback Isaac Holmes had a majority of his 134 passing yards come in the second half, finishing with two touchdowns on five completions.
“As the game progressed he got better, which is to be expected from a very young player,” said Bryant, noting Holmes is a sophomore. “He’s going to be our future at that spot, so for every game going forward he has to get better at that spot. I think he is going to be a true jewel in years to come.”
That’s not to say senior starter Zippy Lekso has lost is position, but a leg injury kept the signal caller out of the lineup for the second straight game — although he was dressed on the sidelines so he can be ready to return as soon as possible.
“His toughness is not ever a question,” said Bryant. “I love his tenacity and even though he’s not quite ready yet, I love that he is more than willing to be out there. That spoke volumes as the first-class senior where he is.”
In the end, Lesko was not needed against Marathon, despite the senior wanting to be on the field in the conclusion to his rivalry with the Dolphins, as the Hurricanes scored on five of eight possessions, including three straight to open the game — one of which was an interception returned for a touchdown by Robert Dube, sandwiched by a pair of Chris Cooper 1-yard touchdown runs.
“We were just able to take advantage of what Marathon gave us,” said Bryant. “We were just happy to play right and play fast.”
Marathon would block a 30-yard field goal attempt before the half, as well as knocking down three other extra point attempts by Coral Shores, but the Dolphins had trouble holding onto possession, as in the span of seven plays during the second quarter the teams fumbled the ball three times — twice by the ’Fins and once by the ’Canes.
The second fumble recovered in that short span was also the second of the game for Willem Godtel, who added a half sack in the victory, while defensive captain Dominic Monteagudo was all over the field racking up nine tackles in the winning effort. Xayver Arrington had the other fumble recovery as part of his three tackles and sack.
“I think our defense played with a chip on their shoulder,” said Bryant in reference to the 25-6 loss the previous week to Ransom during which the Coral Shores defense allowed a season-high in yardage and points. “They knew what they were going to face and came out hungry to make some plays. They were certainly up for the challenge.”
Coral Shores would allow Marathon to gain only 154 total offensive yards in the game, while the Hurricanes tallied 320 yards on just 21 plays. In the first half alone, Cooper had 82 rushing yards on eight carries, and with the Hurricanes in front by 25 at the break, the senior was conserved for next week as he did not get a touch in the final two quarters. Ozzy Vega added 47 yards on four totes, Holmes also had 47 rushing yard, while two of his passes when to Dantay Diorio for 50 yards and a score, while Orlando Pera had one reception for 22 yards and a touchdown.
In the fourth, with Coral Shores still protecting the shutout, Anthony McGuire rattled off a 51-yard touchdown run and Malachi Hawkins punched home the two-point conversion to make it the 30-point difference in the end.
“I think every year we play Marathon, it’s a rivalry,” said Bryant. “We had our down seasons and those years it was still important for us to try to beat Marathon. Now it’s Marathon who is rebuilding and we know they will be back soon. But either way, a lot of the kids knew each other and it’s always special when you play that type of game.”
The Hurricanes has won three straight against the Dolphins but now Coral Shores’ focus is on winning, for the first time this season, two straight in order to remain in the SFFC postseason chase.
“We wanted to come out and make a statement and we felt like we did that against a very fired up Marathon team,” said Bryant. “We are now facing another big game against True North, which is a team getting better with every game and are tops in the conference this year, so we must be ready because that’s going to be a big night for ’Cane Nation.”