By: Matt Rothman
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Eagles pulled out a thrilling victory in their home-opener during the last second, scoring a touchdown to beat Monarch High School to move to 3-0 on the season.
With the Eagles trailing by two points with just two seconds left, they set up an attempt for a game-winning field goal. After a bad snap, holder Christian Higgins rolled out to his right and found Brian Smith in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.
“We practice it all the time,” said Smith. “I just knew I had to make a play, but all the credit goes to Higgins for making that heads-up play. This is a big district win. It doesn’t get better than that.
After the disastrous start to the game on defense by allowing a 91-yard touchdown pass on the first play, MSD ran a fake punt. Despite not scoring on the drive, they were able to pin the Coconut Creek team deep in their own zone, setting up a safety from the defense which cut the deficit to 7-2.
MSD took their first lead of the game on a rushing touchdown from Smith but still trailed heading into halftime. However, right before the break, Mason Hall kicked a long field goal to get the Eagles within two points.
Despite the deficit growing in the second half, MSD scored touchdowns on three straight possessions starting with a one-yard touchdown run from quarterback Matthew O’Dowd. The Eagles took their first lead of the second half on a long touchdown thrown from O’Dowd to Jaxon Green to take a 24-20 lead midway through the second half.
After surrendering a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles marched quickly down the field behind O’Dowd, and Smith and went on for the miraculous win.
“These guys just keep fighting,” said head coach Quentin Short. “We told them it was going to be a 48-minute fight. They are so resilient. Everybody knows what these guys have gone through, so for these guys to fight and give everything they got is great.”
Up next for the Parkland team, they face Coral Springs High School on Friday, September 20 at 7 p.m. The Eagles have not lost to Coral Springs since 2014.
- Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor degree in journalism. Originally from Long Island, he moved to Parkland shortly after high school. Matt worked as the assistant sports editor for his school paper, eaglenews.com in college becoming just one of nine students in his graduation class to serve over 1,000 community service hours. His goal is to travel to every Major League Baseball stadium, and has been to multiple US Open finals. He hopes to one day to be a beat writer for a professional team.