Glades Central 20, American Heritage 18: Benjamin helps Raiders escape
Friday, September 17, 2010
by Matt Porter
Allen Eyestone / Palm Beach Post
With top-ranked Glades Central holding a tenuous lead late over No. 5 American Heritage in the fourth quarter, attempting to avoid an upset at home, Kelvin Benjamin was there when his team needed him most.
The senior wide receiver had missed several drives in the third and fourth quarters with a leg injury, suffered when he took a reverse and was brought down hard.
But Benjamin hobbled off the sideline with the Raiders needing a first down. On fourth-and-5, Benjamin caught a Jamarious Rowley pass and broke tackles for a first down. The Raiders punched in a touchdown to give them a 10-point lead and eventually a 20-18 win over the Stallions.
"He just wanted to gut it out," Raiders coach Jessie Hester said of Benjamin, who had five catches for 93 yards. "He called that play. I told him he'd better make it."
Benjamin's reception set up Tyrone Page's 3-yard touchdown run with 2:12 left in the game.
American Heritage (1-2) hurt itself with penalties, but gave Glades Central (3-0) a scare not unlike a year ago today, when the Stallions held a two-touchdown lead on the Raiders before falling 33-14.
"I told them all in all, they have to be satisfied with this win," Hester said. "Because there's no question in my mind they should have lost that game."
American Heritage coach Doug Socha saw his team penalized 17 times for 125 yards. He said afterward that his team could have - and should have - won.
"Great effort, but we pride ourselves on that," he said. "Terrible execution."
The first half was sloppy, and a Troy Manheimer field goal had American Heritage leading 3-0.
That led to a third-quarter frenzy. Rowley (11-of-15 attempts for 214 yards) had a rough first half, losing one fumble and taking three sacks from Stallions junior DL Mike Wallace. But he got into a rhythm in the third, throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Robert Burgess.
Stallions senior Nestor Lantigua returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a TD.
Rowley scored on a 2-yard run with seven minutes left, before the Raiders' next drive sputtered. That was where Benjamin came in. And despite his heroics, Glades Central almost lost its grip.
After Page's touchdown, the Raiders went for an onside kick, but American Heritage recovered at the Raiders' 40. A penalty brought the Stallions to the 30, and Marcus Davis found Cameron Posey for a 25-yard touchdown with 1:43 left. The two-point conversion made it 20-18.
Glades Central's David Bailey recovered the onside kick and took a huge hit, but the Raiders set up at the 50-yard line with 1:41 to go and then ran out the clock.