8A Regional Quarterfinal: Seminole Ridge 35, Park Vista 31
Friday, November 16, 2012
by Matt Porter
Anyone who watched Park Vista and Seminole Ridge play over the past few seasons probably felt that their Class 8A regional quarterfinal game would be a tight one.
Anyone who left Callery-Judge Stadium late Friday night probably wondered whether they had ever seen a better high school football game.
Seminole Ridge senior Omar Pierre-Louis grabbed a 45-yard touchdown pass with 18.1 seconds remaining, hauling in a deep ball in double coverage that went through Park Vista's hands. He secured a 35-31 win for the Hawks (7-2) and a date with Palm Beach Central in the next round.
"I've been coaching football for 26 years and played for 10, and that was the best game I've ever been a part of," Hawks coach Matt Dickmann said.
Park Vista (8-2), which took down Ridge 21-7 on Sept. 7, is done for the season despite nearly sealing a win with less than three minutes left. Ridge's Silas Spearman, the best player on the field up until then, fumbled at the 3-yard line as the Hawks were about about to take the late lead. Senior Tevin Homer grabbed it and raced 97 yards for a touchdown.
"I was distraught," said Spearman. With bullish power, he finished with a game-high 135 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. He broke three tackles on a 40-yard touchdown and created a 57-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter.
However, the lone mistake he made was wiped out on a block in the back penalty. Park Vista turned it over on downs, and the Hawks took over on their own 30, down 31-28 with 1:50 left.
Junior Zach DeCosta entered the game having thrown for just 159 yards on 27.6 percent passing, with one touchdown and seven interceptions. Despite his struggles, he had the trust of his coaches. The Hawks, known for their running attack that features Spearman, junior E.J. Elien (12 carries, 91 yards) and several others, put DeCosta in position to complete 8-of-13 passes for 205 yards and four touchdowns.
Ridge's season began with flooded streets in Loxahatchee after Hurricane Isaac. With the season on the line, DeCosta called a play that sent Pierre-Louis to the end zone.
"Everything was drawn up like I'm used to," Pierre-Louis said.
The variable was two Park Vista defenders, who tried to seal him off. One of them bobbled it. Pierre-Louis stayed on-balance and took it away. It was the end of Park Vista's season.
Cobras senior LeKraig Bens (five carries, 71 yards) had two touchdowns and junior Qwad Martin (16-of-29, 214 yards) threw touchdown passes to juniors junior Marques Gayot and Jametrius Bentley. They put up 349 total yards against a defense laden with Division I talent.
"If you'd told me before the game we'd score 31 points on that defense, I'd have told you we were winning the game," Park Vista coach Brian Dodds said.
Until the waning moments of the game, he would have been right.
seminole prep football 111612f---Park Vista quarterback Qwad Martin throws under heavy pressure as they visit Seminole Ridge High School on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. photo by Scott Fisher