The playoffs ended for Coral Gables High School football team Friday night with a stunning 35-0 shutout against their division rivals, Columbus High School in the FHSAA Class 8A Region Semifinal playoff round. The story of the night was at many times during the game, both teams committed pre-snap penalties (false start, encroachment) but Coral Gables committed six unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that allowed Columbus drives to keep going and wore out their defense. The team came apart in terms of their discipline at the worse time and perhaps, they took Columbus too lightly. Coral Gables beat Columbus on October 30 by a score of 20-10 and won District 14-8A so the team and fans could only be energized at their chances.
The parking lot in front of Tropical Park stadium was littered with patrons headed to the annual Santa’s Enchanted Forest fair and festival and with Cavalier tailgaters ready for a great start to the weekend. Fans filed in with smiles, shaking hands as they sat in the bleachers before game time and when kickoff happened, stands were filled and people were hyped to see their teams do well. Columbus got started quickly with a C.J. Henderson 35 yard touchdown run in the game’s first minutes. Coral Gables RB Amir Rasul had early success on running plays but the Columbus D began to figure that out quickly when Coral Gables couldn’t complete a pass downfield and for the rest of the first half, it was a war of attrition with both sides entrenched in committing penalties which set their drives back and made them stall. When QB Voshon Waiters did attempt a deep pass downfield to a receiver, it was intercepted and never again did they try to pass the rest of the night.
At the end of the first half, Columbus QB Alejandro Ros began to have time to pass in the pocket and hit receiver after receiver on a drive that started at the Columbus 11. They ate chunks of the field on quick passes and scored with four seconds left in the half to go up 14-0 on a 15 yard TD pass by Ros to #14, Daniel Courtney who fought through three Coral Gables tacklers to score. At the start of the second half, neither team could move the ball but Coral Gables offense couldn’t go anywhere, going three and out on drive after drive. Ros threw another TD pass at the end of the third quarter and at 21-0, the score seemed like it was 35-0. After it was 28-0, the loud, raucous Coral Gables fans became quiet and filed out silently, accepting the loss. The student section which at one point in the game shouted, F**k Co-lum-bus, were standing up (as they had all game) but now quiet and talking amongst one another silently. The rivalry will continue next year but for now, Columbus advances leaving the Gables team wondering about missed opportunities.