Northwestern's suffering is now over. And the executioner? Cross-town rival Miami Central.
The Bulls, whose season has been plagued by off-the-field problems and an on-the-field brawl, were put out of their misery by Central on Friday night. The Rockets ran, threw, and sacked their way to a third consecutive victory over Northwestern in front of a raucous Traz Powell stadium.
"I had to do what I had to do," said Central running back Devonta Freeman after the 42-27 win. "The Herald predicted we were going to lose by one point. So we just used that as motivation."
(For the record, Riptidepredicted a 28-21 Central victory).
Freeman finished with 144 yards and four touchdowns, one receiving. Quarterback Rakeem Cato won the QB duel with UM-bound Teddy Bridgewater by throwing for 320 yards and three TDs on a near perfect 19-23 passing.
Bridgewater finished with a massive 436 yards passing, two rushing TDs, and two passing TDs, but couldn't quite pull the Bulls back into the game. Central's defense harried and harassed him throughout the game.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Cato began running back and forth in front of the bleachers, whipping the Central fans into a frenzy. When the Rockets pulled away in the final ten minutes, the crowd chanted "Nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, hey, goodbye" while doing the Tomahawk chop.
After a much-hyped off-season in which they were ranked #2 in the nation, the Rockets are finally beginning to look like state champs. This was the second straight year they knocked the Bulls out of the playoffs. And with last year's title winner, Miramar, losing to Northeast on the same night, the road to Orlando is wide open.
Central will play South Dade High School this Friday.
Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He has also written for the New York Times, Newsweek, the Atlantic, Chicago Magazine, Village Voice, the New York Daily News, and VQR. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.