As the rain drops came down on a cool Friday night, the Key West High School Conchs were determined to do one thing and one thing only: win. The southernmost football team won in dominating fashion crushing the Pembroke Pines Charter (PPC) with a final score of 61-7.
The Jaguars (1-4) started the game on offense and minutes later the Key West defense would force an early game fumble. Within the first couple plays, senior Mekhi Sargent would find a hole in the defense and run for a gain of 15 yards and a first down. The very next play, quarterback Michael Cleaver would call a reverse run and hand the ball off to wide receiver Alvin Howard. Sprinting across the field, Howard would put the first points on the board on a 20 yard rushing touchdown. The Conchs would hold a 7-0 lead with 8:23 left in the first quarter.
On their second possession of the game, Pembroke Pines Charter would find little success and be forced to punt away. The triple option offense would be too much for the Jaguars defense as Sargent would burst out of the backfield and take off for a 59 yard rush taking the ball all the way down to the red zone. Inside the red zone and driving, Cleaver would connect with wide receiver Damon Taylor on a short screen pass that would turn into another touchdown giving the Conchs a 14-0 mid first quarter.
Back on offense, the Jaguars would pick up some yardage. However, the suffocating Key West defense would stop Pembroke Pines forcing them to punt again. With 3:53 left in the first quarter, Sargent once again would explode for a big run. This time the senior would rush for 79 yards and would score on a 1 yard rush the following play. Key West would take a 21-0 lead.
Turnovers would be the culprit of the Jaguars struggles on the night. Minutes later and punting for the third time in the first quarter, PPC would bobble the punt and the Conchs would take over. The very next play, Key West would cough the ball up and give it right back to PPC. However two plays later, Alvin Howard would show off his athletic ability and intercept the screen pass and Key West would score on a Kolby Kelleher rushing touchdown the very next play.
Still second quarter, Pembroke Pines Charter would yet again be unable to hold onto the ball as Key West would recover the fumble on the Jaguars 22 yard line. The very next play Sargent would make history with a 22 yard touchdown for the Conchs. Sargent now holds the school record for most career touchdowns for Key West High School.
Carson Hughes would take over as center for the Conchs and immediately find success. Hughes would air the ball out to Damon Taylor and score on an 88 yard passing touchdown. The next possession, Hughes would connect with Kelleher with a small screen pass that would turn into a 55 yard touchdown. At the half, Key West was leading 47-0.
In the second half Key West would continue to control the game. Two touchdowns later and late score from the Jaguars, the Key West Conchs would advance to .500 on the season defeating Pembroke Pines Charter 61-7.
With the win, Key West is now second in the Gold Coast Conference standings, only behind none other than the Archbishop McCarthy Mavericks. Last night, Mavericks (6-0) defeated Glades Day (Belle Glade, FL) 34-7 and travel to North Broward Prep who the Conchs defeated 44-30 earlier in the season. Key West has the week off but play the Mavericks in two weeks at home on October 16th.
The results of the next two games for both teams will determine who has home field advantage in the Gold Coast playoffs. Last season, the teams clashed on the field twice—once in the regular season and the other in the post season. Key West picked up a 47-35 win on the road last year and in the second round the playoffs they escaped with 42-31 victory over the Mavericks.
Currently the Conchs high powered triple option offense are second in the whole state with 2,095 rushing yards, third in scoring with 241 points through six games and are first with 2,657 total yards on offense. Now the question is, will the fast paced Key West offense be able to continue its trend against Archbishop McCarthy in two weeks under lights at Tommy Roberts Memorial Stadium? This is Florida football of course so anything could happen.
One thing is certain, the game will have high scoring. McCarthy is averaging 34 plus points per game while the Conchs are averaging a little over 40 points per game.
Key West has a bye next week as the Gold Coast Conference heats up heading towards the coveted postseason. The pictures below are from both the American Heritage (Delray) game and Pembroke Pines Charter game.