VERO BEACH – Friday night, playoffs, home field. It is what St. Edward’s undefeated season was leading toward.
It was their first playoff game since 1999 and the crowd would not be disappointed with a 44-16 win over Seven Rivers Christian. To start the game, Seven Rivers Christian attempted an onside kick, but was recovered by St. Edward’s, putting them in excellent field position. But they were unable to capitalize as kicker Dillon Benson missed a 31-yard field goal.
On St. Edward’s next possession, they found themselves on the 50-yard line with less than a yard to go. St. Edward’s faked the punt and quarterback Anderson Proctor completed a shovel pass to running back Cortez Brown for a 25-yard gain.
Six plays later, running back Jamari Williams found the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown dive. Dillon Benson hit the extra point and St. Edward’s led 7-0 with 2:35 left in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Seven Rivers Christian got their Navy option offense going.
“It is very difficult to mimic in practice,” Pirates Coach Bill Motta said of Seven Rivers’ style of offense. “It is hard to tell who gets the ball. I told the team we have to do what we do. We have to control the line of scrimmage and keep them from big plays.”
Seven Rivers was able to put together a 7-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, capped off by running back John Iwaniec’s 18-yard touchdown run. Seven Rivers was successful on their 2-point conversion when Winsor Sineus scampered in.
Seven Rivers led 8-7 with 7:07 left before halftime. With just 2:38 left, Dillon Benson hit a 38-yard field goal. Following the field goal, St. Edward’s pouched the kickoff and was recovered by St. Edward’s wide receiver Devin Kahle at the 30-yard line.
“We saw an opening in their second line and thought we could drop it in,” Coach Motta said.
Three plays later, running back J.D. McGee found the end zone on a 31-yard touchdown run.
St. Edward’s led 17-8 with 2 minutes left until halftime. St. Edward’s defense forced a three and out by Seven Rivers and used their timeouts wisely to get the ball back before the end of the half.
Following a 59-yard punt by Seven Rivers, Jamari Williams took the handoff 71 yards for the touchdown with 30 seconds left in the half.
At the end of the first half, St. Edward’s led 24-8.
In the third quarter, quarterback Collier Proctor hooked up with Devin Kahle for a 19-yard touchdown completion. Dillon Benson’s extra point was blocked, his first miss all season.
St. Edward’s defense stepped up again, forcing another three and out. Following Seven River’s punt, Cortez Brown found the end zone on a 39-yard touchdown run.
With 3:04 left in the third quarter, St. Edward’s led 37-8.
In the fourth quarter, with 10:40 left, Jamari Williams found the end zone again, this time on a 23-yard touchdown run.
Seven Rivers continued to play hard and with 1:40 left in the game, Winsor Sineus found the end zone on an 18-yard touchdown run. John Iwaniec found the end zone on the 2-point conversion. The final score was St. Edward’s 44, Seven Rivers Christian 16.
“Cortez found some holes,” Coach Motta said of his running backs. “He’s been nicked up, but continues to play hard. J.D. doesn’t get a lot of touches during practice, but he came up big tonight. Jamari never comes off the field. He works hard and he never stops smiling.”
For the game, Collier Proctor was 5 for 9 with 74 yards passing and one touchdown. Cortez Brown had 16 carries for 124 yards and 1 touchdown. J.D. McGee had 6 carries for 71 yards, 3 catches for 38 yards, and one touchdown. Jamari Williams had 11 carries for 124 yards and 3 touchdowns.
St. Edward’s continues playoffs next week, their opponent is to be determined.