CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – The annual Swamp Bowl between Coral Glades (2-3) and J.P. Taravella (2-3) is marked by years of bitter rivalry and, of course, swamp water. The principal of the losing school is “swamped” by a bucket of mud at the game’s conclusion, and it appeared that Coral Glades principal Steven Carruth would make it out of the game clean. However, Taravella escaped with a 20-13 road win over the Jaguars to keep their streak intact.
THE INFO: The Jaguars received the opening kickoff, but were unable to advance the ball when their rushing attack was blocked up front, as it was most of the night. Taravella took over on the 40-yard line but running back Jevaughn Brown coughed the ball up on the second play of the drive, setting up the Jaguars with excellent field position that they were unable to capitalize on.
Quarterback William Woolridge got the Trojans offense going on their next drive, connecting with Tyrik Foster for a 25-yard pass. Woolridge picked up a 15-yard gain on the ground on the next play. A sack and an offside penalty against Taravella set the offense back, but a completion to Moses Snell Jr. on second-and-long moved the chains. Brown capped off the drive with a 20-yard carry up the gut to put the Trojans ahead 7-0 halfway through the first, following the point after.
Taravella maintained their momentum on their next drive. Following a punt return that set up the offense in enemy territory, the Trojans scored in just two plays on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Tyrik Foster to go ahead 13-0. The Trojans attempted a two-point conversion which came up short, allowing the Jaguars to potentially take back the lead with just two scores.
Late in the second quarter, the Jaguars offense abandoned the run game and turned quarterback Cameron Brooks loose against his former school. Brooks led the drive down the field, connecting with Anthony Spoto and Donovan Samuels to set up Coral Glades in the red zone. With just ten seconds left in the quarter, Brooks rolled out to his right and connected with Ricky Williamson in the end zone, his first receiving touchdown since week 1. The Jaguars headed into halftime trailing 13-7.
The third quarter was characterized by a series of failed third down conversions and punts between the two teams, but the end of the fourth quarter had every fan on their feet as the rain began to fall.
The Jaguars threatened to take the lead driving downfield in the final quarter. A crucial fourth down conversion on a slant route from Brooks to Spoto kept the drive alive. The very next play took the life out of the Coral Glades crowd – a defensive end broke through the offensive line and delivered a huge hit on Brooks, who released the ball as he was hit, and Calijha Williamson intercepted the ball for the Trojans.
It appeared the Trojans could just run out the clock on their way to victory, but two tackles for losses and a huge sack pinned the Trojans inside their own 10-yard line on fourth down. With the punter kicking from his own end zone, Coral Glades was set to have great field position, but the ball never got to Samuels Jr., the Jaguars punt returner.
Dedrick flint broke through the offensive line and got a hand on the ball, and seconds later, two hands on the ball as he recovered the blocked punt in the end zone to tie the game at 13.
Split the uprights and the game is virtually over. Coral Glades kicker Noah Baratta, perfect on the season on field goal attempts and extra points, headed to the line of scrimmage. The snap to Brooks was too high and Baratta never got the chance to take the lead as Brooks fell on the botched snap with the game still tied at 13 and the rain coming down harder than ever.
The Trojans let the clock trickle down to zero, mentally and physically preparing for overtime.
Taravella got the first chance to score, taking over on the 10-yard line. Brown carried the ball on back-to-back plays for the Trojans to begin the overtime period and punched it in on the second attempt, Taravella led 20-13, putting the pressure on Coral Glades.
After two failed plays, Brooks hit Dion Gonzalez-Laporte for a screen, but he was stopped short of the end zone. On fourth down Brooks rolled out to his right and tried to thread the needle to force a second overtime. The ball was deflected and hit the ground. Game over.
The streak lives on.
KEY PLAY OF THE GAME: Worn down by four full quarters of football, Taravella workhorse Jevaughn Brown got his number called once again. After being stopped for a short gain on first down, Brown punched it in for his second touchdown of the game – a touchdown that gave propelled his Trojans to victory.
QUOTABLE: “It’s just about pride, about keeping this tradition alive,” Taravella coach Charles Hafley said. “Coming in and getting a win for these seniors, keeping the tradition of winning in the Swamp Bowl and that’s what it’s all about. Hats off to coach Baldwin and Coral Glades, they came out and they fought. But at the end of the day, our kids wanted it better and we just made one play more than they did.
WHAT’S NEXT: Next week, the Trojans travel to Hollywood Hills to take on the Spartans (1-3) who are coming off of a loss to the Cooper City Cowboys on Sept. 16. Coral Glades will make the trip down to Pembroke Pines to take on the Pembroke Pines Charter Jaguars (0-4) looking to put an end to their three-game skid.