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October 6, 2011

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

It was so succinct: "Crying tears of joy."

Miramar (Fla.) High offensive coordinator Ty Conyers used his Twitter account to sum up his emotions following a 27-20 overtime victory over Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas.

The No. 27-ranked Patriots knocked off the No. 4-ranked Raiders on the road Thursday night in a measuring stick game for both teams.

It was the first time that Miramar had beaten St. Thomas Aquinas since 1989; it was the first regular-season loss for Aquinas since 2007.

It is a win that can put a program back on the map.

"This is right up there with our 2009 state championship," Conyers said during a phone call with RivalsHigh after the game. "We haven't been getting the national recognition that we thought we deserved, but that is about to change."

Indeed. The victory certainly will send shockwaves through the national rankings when the RivalsHigh 100 is updated on Monday.

Trailing 13-7 at halftime and 20-13 late into the fourth quarter, the Patriots took advantage of rare St. Thomas Aquinas miscues to earn the overtime victory.

It was a game Miramar felt it was ready to play - and one it proved it could from the start.

Miramar opened the game with a 12-play, 85-yard drive that was capped by a 1-yard run by D'Vontis Arnold.

The Patriots went with no-huddle attack that appeared to keep the Raiders off balance and forced the top team in Class 7A into a softer defense than it is accustomed to playing. The only thing that slowed Miramar on the opening drive was mandatory water breaks and referee timeouts.

"I tweeted earlier in the week that I thought I saw some things on tape that I could use against them," he said. "This is a great feeling."

Following a missed field goal by Aquinas, it appeared that momentum was shifting to the side of Miramar.

Again out of the spread offense, Miramar gained two first downs and appeared to be moving the ball well to all areas of the field. As the drive stalled, the Patriots lined up to punt near midfield only to have the ball go straight up into the air and bounced backward for a negative-13 yard kick which set St. Thomas Aquinas up with excellent field possession.

Aquinas had to settle for a field goal and trailed 7-3, but it scored 10 points on its next two possessions to go into halftime ahead, 13-7.

The second half went back and forth.

Miramar tied it on an 18-yard pass from Cameran Hudge to Malcolm Lewis, but it missed the point after - then had a 36-yard field goal attempt hit the upright.

"We couldn't take command of the game," Conyers said. "They are a very good team, no doubt."

One that nearly took control.

Aquinas retook the lead, 20-13, when Max Lescano connected with Nico Sheppard for a 28-yard score - then was set to go in for another score when Tracy Howard, the No. 1 rated cornerback in the country, picked off a pass near the goal line (the ball was spotted at the 1).

It was all Miramar from there. It tied the game on a Devonte Mathis run, sent it to overtime when Howard blocked a last-second field-goal attempt, then controlled the overtime.

"The kids believed in what we were telling them," Conyers said. "They followed our gameplan and trusted us.

"They went out and executed."

Conyers could barely describe his joy.

"Yeah, I lost my voice," he said. "But it is worth it.

"This feeling is totally worth it."



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