Quarterback, defensive star led the team

Friday, December 6, 2019 0 Comments

Quarterback, defensive star led the team

Barbara Goleman Senior High’s Quarterback Anthony Hernandez was sidelined for much of the 2018 season with a broken thumb.

But this year, Hernandez’ injury had no ill effects as he led the Gators 10-1, the best record in school history and one win away from a perfect season and the inaugural Greater Miami Athletic Conference (GMAC) Independent league championship.

Even Goleman’s 24-20 championship game loss to Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High on Nov. 6 couldn’t defeat the team’s spirit.

Some players shed tears after that loss, but soon the Gators stood proud over their accomplishments.

Hernandez -- a senior from Miami Lakes who is listed as 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 165 pounds on MaxPreps.com -- had the best season of his career.

Hernandez threw for a school record 1,916 yards and 26 touchdown passes with three interceptions, according to Coach Ariel Cribeiro.

Hernandez also ran for 491 yards from scrimmage and scored nine rushing touchdowns.

“I knew this season was going to be special,” Hernandez said.

Goleman offense scored a total of 378 points in the regular season and the playoffs, averaging 34 points per game, another school record, Cribeiro said.

Hernandez said opposing teams including Krop underestimated the Gators when the season began.

But the Gators defeated Krop, 46-21, in October in the battle between the then-undefeated teams.

“It was great,” Hernandez said. “Everyone doubted us at that time.”

Anthony Hernandez

He said Krop played with more intensity in the championship game.

“This time, we didn’t quite get there,” Hernandez said.

Wide receiver Zachary Valcarcel was one of Hernandez’s favorite targets.

The 5-foot, 10-inch tall, 170-pound player recorded 729 receiving yards and scored 16 touchdowns, according to MaxPreps.com.

Valcarcel had two games with three touchdowns each against G. Holmes Braddock Senior High on Sept. 6 and against Alonso and Tracy Mourning Senior High on Sept. 11.

In the championship game, Valcarcel caught nine passes for 118 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Hernandez said the team’s success took four years to build as the players became a cohesive unit in 2019.

“The same guys played together for four years,” he said. “I felt we were going to be special this season. With that determination, we felt we can achieve anything.”

If the Gators could do it all over again, Cribeiro said he would run the same offense in the championship game.

“I wouldn’t do anything different,” he said.

Hernandez is undecided about which college he plans to attend.

He said he will focus more on his academics but wants to play football as the adrenaline from the past season is still pumping through him.

“I would love to play,” he said.

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