By: Matt Rothman
For the first time since 2001, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas football team won a district championship following their dominating 52-15 win over Coral Glades Thursday night.
It is also the first time since 2007 that the Eagles will participate in a postseason game, as they have one more regular-season game left trying to remain one of the few undefeated teams in the state of Florida.
“We have worked so hard this season,” said head coach Quentin Short, who is now 8-0 in his head coaching career with MSD. “They work so hard and have been through so much. I’m so excited for the school, the community, and everyone. This is a great season so far.”
Held in Coral Springs, the Eagles’ defense continued their recent success allowing their first two touchdowns since their matchup with JP Taravella High School nearly three weeks ago. They also scored a defensive touchdown as well and recovered a fumble.
MSD was aggressive from the start staying on the field on fourth down in their zone to keep their first drive alive. After a long pass from Matt O’Dowd to Christian Higgins, running back Alex Rodriguez scored the opening touchdown of the night.
O’Dowd then took things into his own hands after his fantastic game last week. After faking a handoff, O’Dowd scrambled to his left for a 55-yard touchdown to put MSD up two scores in the final minute of the first quarter.
They would continue their dominant ground game attack with a third touchdown —each from different rushers. Nick D’Capario went untouched from 11-yards scoring the Eagles’ third touchdown of the night to make it 21-0.
If not for a questionable personal foul called on MSD, Coral Glades was finally able to make it onto the opponent’s side of the field but had to settle for a field goal.
The Eagles responded with six of their own, on a touchdown thrown from O’Dowd to his usual receiver in Higgins. Those two connected twice last week and once more today, as Higgins now has caught five touchdowns as well as thrown for two this season despite the meeting O’Dowd for the first time this past summer.
“We just have had a connection since I got here,” O’Dowd said. “We started working on routes every day. I don’t even have to give him a signal to check into the route. He already knows what’s going to happen.”
Both teams scored touchdowns late in the second quarter with Ryan Schroy picking off a pass and returning it for a touchdown to give MSD a 35-9 lead at the break.
“It’s team ball,” Schroy said. “I got my chance, and I’m just doing what I could do. All I did was catch the ball and run. It’s team defense. We are just playing our game.”
Despite the Eagles’ allowing a second touchdown, MSD closed the game out strong with a defensive takeaway from Alex Brotton and then added a couple more touchdowns and a field goal late to win a district title.
Up next, the Eagles will have one of their biggest games in recent memory with Plantation High School. They come in with just one loss on the season and have averaged 47 points per game before their shutout loss to St. Thomas Aquinas. The game will be played in Parkland on Friday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m.