Coral Reef remains undefeated

stops Killian 21-20 in overtime

Akilah Laster | 9/26/2013, 9 a.m.

Coral Reef looked playoff ready after an emotional overtime win against district rival Killian last Friday afternoon at Southridge. Coach Chevas Clements embraced senior receiver Jacob McCrary in a post-game celebration after beating last year’s district 16-8A runner-up 21-20.

Undoubtedly seeking redemption from the previous season’s 37-22 loss, Reef (3-0) willed itself at the poised play of senior quarterback and Duke commit, Nico Pierre, who thrust himself on a 1-yard push into the end zone on the fourth down of a sudden death overtime. That led to the clinching extra-point kick by Christian Jacquemin. Pierre finished with 188-yards passing and McCrary earned 143 yards on four completions.

“We grew up this week,” said Clements, whose team came off of a 49-0 loss to Central. “This put us in the driver’s seat.”

But it took some true strategy to get into the driver’s seat. Killian was ahead the entire game after an expressive score by junior Jaquan Johnson, who was expected to be out for the season after a back injury during pre-season.

“To see Jaquan get his moment for me as a coach was just amazing,” said Killian Head Coach Cory Johnson. “I’ve never seen a kid that excited.”

Unfortunately, the excitement paled in comparison to the game’s result.

“There’s no on answer to why we’ve struggled,” said Johnson, referring to Jaquan’s return and the lack of experience on his team. “We’re going to take our lumps to get better.”

No doubt the additions of veteran coach Billy Rolle and veteran player Lamont Green to the Reef coaching staff helped.

“It was a no brainer,” said Clements about hiring Rolle and Green. “Coach Rolle is my mentor and having both of their experience is invaluable.”

But even with “a championship caliber staff” as Clements referred to them, overcoming Killian’s Wing-T offense was not easy. The Cougars (1-3) undoubtedly inspired by Johnson, held Reef scoreless until the fourth quarter when Reef came back to score twice and send the game to overtime tied at 14. Their fatal mistake came on a tipped extra-point attempt in overtime that fell short.

Killian, who only loss two games last season, will need to win the remainder of their district games to be playoff contenders. They will face Homestead Friday at Harris Field at 7 p.m. Coral Reef next faces 8A regional opponent Coral Gables (2-1) at FIU South.