Bucks fall in Class 8A state semifinals, 49-21

Posted on 06 December 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Deerfield Beach football team burst on to the field following introductions in fog and smoke, unfortunately for the host Bucks, their season ended the same way, three hours later as Miami Columbus won the Class 8A state semifinal, 49-21 on Friday night.

Columbus running back Henry Parrish carried 25 times for 177 yards and three scores as the Explorers capitalized on three turnovers and costly penalties to pull out a lopsided win.

Parrish scored on a 2 yd. run and 4 yd. run early and added a game-sealing 61 yd. run with 2:08 remaining in the game that booked Columbus’ ticket to the state championship game on Dec. 8 at Camping World Stadium (Orlando) where they will play Jacksonville Mandarin, a 45-31 winner over Riverview Sarasota.

Host Deerfield Beach struggled to get out of its own way in the first half as they committed seven penalties, six were false start infractions whistled against the offense, and two turnovers as Miami Columbus turned that into a 28-7 lead and the Bucks were unable to recover.

We did everything you cannot do when you are trying to win a ball game,” said Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn, whose team was penalized 16 times for 93 yds. and had four costly dropped passes, including two sure touchdowns. The Bucks also had a TD whistled back on a penalty. “Miscue after miscue after miscue kind of wore our will down a little bit, but the kids didn’t give up on me.”

Columbus quarterback Brandon McDuffey threw two touchdowns, while Parrish ran for one score and Elias Morales returned a Derohn King interception 42 yds. for a touchdown to give the Explorers (14-0) the early advantage. King’s second pick-6, a 20 yd. return by Kalani Norris with 5:52 iced the game at 42-21. Norris also scored on a pass reception earlier in the game.

I mean just the miscues, the lack of focus,” Glenn lamented, “I don’t want to take anything away from Columbus. They capitalized on our miscues and our letdowns. A lot of them weren’t given away, they were forced. They are a helluva football team and I am hoping they go up there, represent South Florida and bring that title back. Tonight, they were the best team on the field.”

Deerfield Beach (12-2) saw its six-game winning streak come to an end with the loss. The other setback was a 38-6 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas.

King completed just 14 of 34 for 193 yds. passing and three interceptions. He has thrown seven interceptions in his last three games. Junior running back Jaylan Knighton, who entered the game with 2,045 yds. rushing and 28 scores, was held to just 44 yds. rushing. It equaled his season low which came in the team’s other loss to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Columbus hit double digits for the 24th straight playoff game and scored on their first three possessions of the game. The Explorers have been an offensive juggernaut in the postseason as they have averaged 45.75 points in wins over Coral Gables, Palmetto, South Dade and Deerfield Beach to reach the state championship game in Orlando.

The Explorers are making their fourth state championship game appearance, and its first since 2014, as they look for their first title.

I am proud of my team and my seniors that gave everything they have for four years,” Glenn said. “We want this to be where the kids get more out of it than the program does, for those kids to get a great education and go on to the next level. Their hard work is paying off and they will be able to set them up and probably their families for the next generation by getting a quality education at a university.”

With the loss, Deerfield fell to 1-7 in state semifinal games. The lone win came in 2005 when they reached the state final and lost to Palm Beach Gardens, 49-29 at Dolphin Stadium, now known as Hard Rock Stadium.

What people have to understand is we have a young team and we have a lot of guys coming back,” Glenn continued. “We have to learn from this as we carry this into the offseason.”

There is nothing for us to be embarrassed about,” Glenn said. “We fought hard. We didn’t get our ultimate goal, but truth be told, we lost to the better football team tonight. We are grinders. We are going to take a couple of weeks off and just like every year on Dec. 26, we’ll get back in the weight room and be going at it.”

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