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South Dade defeats Columbus 12-10

Akilah Laster | 9/5/2013, 9 a.m.

The South Dade Buccaneers narrowly skirted a loss to the Columbus Explorers in a 12-10 victory Friday night at Harris Field in what may have been a preview of a post-season regional battle come late November.

In the competition laden with “first game” mistakes, the two Class 8A teams, who both had a tough stand in last seasons playoffs —South Dade lost in the regional semifinals and Columbus (0-1) in the state semifinals— both teams, despite miscues and hiccups, look poised to return to the post season.

Unfortunately, a miscue in game one cost the Explorers a win; after a jumbled snap on what would have been a 22-yard field goal forced Columbus to run the ball on a fourth down ended with a loss of yards and Buccaneers retaking possession.

Though Columbus controlled the momentum by early putting points on the board first with a 40-yard field goal by junior Joseph Tolgyesi, South Dade (1-0) resiliently responded with a 45-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kahlil Render to receiver C.J. Worton-both seniors. After a scoreless second quarter and nearly a third, the Explorers regained the lead on a 1-yard push into the end zone by senior back Oshton Armstrong with 1:24 left in the third.

After several second half fumbles and a pair of sacks, South Dade seemed to be unraveling. However, the Render-Worton formula proved golden early in the fourth after Worton came down with a 8-yard reception-and winning play- in the corner of the end zone over Columbus’ secondary with 10:43 remaining.

“It was a lot of drama, but it ended our way,” Worton said. “I was on my knees and prayed to him like five times today.”

South Dade moves forward to face non-distric rival Carol City (2-0), who defeated Killian (0-1) South Dade’s district and regional rivals 27-0. Killian put the Bucs out of the playoffs last season. A win against Carol City could portend District 16-8A’s most anticipated rematch on October 26th at Tropical Park. Killian has a lot to overcome with a hard-loss of premiere player Jaquan Johnson to injury.