Coral Shores High scored three first-half touchdowns and played dominating defense Friday to open the regular season with a 27-6 home victory over Somerset Academy-Silver Palms.
“Hard work pays off,” Hurricane head coach Alphonso Bryant told his squad moments after the final buzzer at George M. Barley Jr. Stadium. “We have a long way to go,” he continued, “but I like what I see so far.”
Defensive coordinator Jack Niedbalski agreed, “Not bad for a first game but we have a ton of things to work on.”
Senior quarterback Elijah Woods threw for three touchdowns in his first varsity start at the position, going 6-of-12 passing for 125 yards with one interception.
Woods opened Coral Shores’ scoring with a 19-yard run on a scramble in the first offensive drive of the season. Senior back Blye Hofstetter ran three times for 25 yards on the six-play, 45-yard march behind the veteran Cane offensive line. On a first-down scramble, Woods evaded Stallion defenders and broke away from tacklers for the touchdown.
A fumble recovery by defensive end Connor Rhyne at the Cane 48 gave Coral Shores its second possession. Wideout Christian Frisone caught two passes for gains of 16 and 18 yards. Woods then found Hofstetter in a seam for a lightning-quick 30-yard touchdown catch and run.
Late in the second quarter, defensive plays by linebackers Tanaris Walker, Valente Reynoso-Heaton and Hofstetter stalled a Somerset march at the Cane 7-yard line. The Stallions had started at the Coral Shores 31 after after a Cane gamble on a fourth-and-short didn’t work. Coral Shores defenders barged through to block a 23-yard field goal attempt.
On the ensuing Coral Shores possession, senior back Aiden Hawkins followed his blockers and turned a handoff into a 67-yard run down to the Somerset 21. Tight end Jay Kubida pulled in a 21-yard scoring toss from Woods down the left sideline. Dylan Walters’ second point-after made it 20-0.
Just before halftime, Woods ran for a 20-yard gain and delivered a short pass to freshman speedster Ralph Williams who made it a 49-yard catch and run to the Somerset 11. Time ran out on the second quarter with the Canes holding a 20-0 lead.
A scoreless third quarter ended with a short punt and return, giving the Stallions good field position on the Cane 30. Somerset quarter Kai Vargas hit a 14-yard pass that set up his one-yard scoring plunge on the first play of the fourth.
Coral Shores answered with an apparent interception return by Williams on a Somerset pass tipped by linebacker Hawkins, but flags for interference and celebration erased the score. Three plays later, Kubida intercepted a Somerset pass that ended the threat.
Late in the fourth, the Stallions reached the Coral Shores 10-yard line, where Frisone cut in front of the Somerset receiver for an interception.
On first down at their own 20, Woods handed to Williams, who burst through the line for an 80-yard touchdown sprint at 3:08 remaining. Walters’ kick set the final score.
Coral Shores is scheduled to play Village Academy of Delray Beach in a 6 p.m. Friday game in Tavernier. The path of Hurricane Irma may change plans.
Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206