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Statement game? For NMB and Northwestern, a telling result

If it's possible to make a statement in spring football, North Miami Beach did that Friday night at Traz Powell Stadium by completely dismantling defending national champion Northwestern 25-0.

Larry Blustein (who posted several details in an earlier blog below), J.T. Wilcox, Charles Fishbein, Bill Daley and I were among the media that watched the game from the sideline and marveled as the Chargers looked sharp from the beginning with quarterback Nico Flores connecting on a 75-yard pass that set up a touchdown pass to Yves Desir, one of Flores' 3 TDs on the night.

NMB's defense ripped through the NW o-line and put pressure on quarterback Wayne Times through most of the game.
The Chargers also exhibited a prolific running game led by Class of 2010 RB Nick Williams.

Williams racked up over 80 yards and WR/DB Kemal Ishmael caught two of the touchdown passes later in the game, and kept the Bulls' receivers in check on defense.

Ishmael even did something unheard of at NMB in recent years - convert an extra point.

"That might be the last one you see for a while," NMB coach Jeff Bertani said, after his team missed the next try, which made the score 13-0.

Bertani was extremely proud with his team's effort after the game, and he should be.

In typical Chargers' fashion, Bertani had 29 players in uniform Friday night. And once again, numbers meant nothing as those 29 had their way with the Bulls.

Granted, it is still the end of May, but for Northwestern's sake, this better have been a fluke. If it hopes to keep its record 30-game winning streak intact much longer, they need to play better up front.

The quarterback play wasn't great, but it could have been helped with better protection. Times had open receivers down field, but was constantly forced out of the pocket. Teddy Bridgewater came in toward the end of the 3rd quarter and made some nice plays with his feet. He looks like a promising athletic player for the future.

Bottom line, NW got beat badly at the line of scrimmage on both sides. The absence of graduated stars Terrell Killings and Brandon Washington was noticeable. On defense, the young players still had their moments, though. Defensive lineman Todd Chandler looks like the playmaker Bulls' fans expect him to be and the secondary made some big plays later in the game.

We knew the Bulls were going to be a lot younger, any one will be hurting after losing the enormous amount of talent they lost to graduation.

But if this game was a serious indication of where this team is at, then in the next 3 months, they need to get tougher and quicker up front to stand up to teams that will likely respect their passing game less, now that Jacory Harris is at the U.

As for the Chargers, this team is looking like a title contender again. It's almost like Bertani brings them off an assembly line. Youngsters like Ricky Desir (2011) and Williams give Charger fans a reason to think the trend will continue in years to come.

They were solid, disciplined and still a force to be reckoned with in what will be a tough Region 3-6A. While everyone is talking about Deerfield Beach and Cypress Bay and Miramar in Broward, the team that has gone 5-1 vs. Broward the past 2 years in the playoffs is alive and well. And with more parity in Dade County than the past three seasons, they look strong enough to make their best run yet.

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