Terriers take a bite out of the Gators … again

BELLE GLADE — For the third time in a year, the Moore Haven Terriers beat their rival, the Glades Day Gators, this time winning in Belle Glade in front of a packed Glades Day crowd. In what seems to be a trend when the Terriers and Gators play each other, the game was a nail-biter that came down to the final minutes. Moore Haven was able come out on top 22-21.

The victory makes this the first time the Terrier football program has beaten the Gators at Glades Day High School in 20 years, and brings Moore Haven’s record to 3-1 this season.

Terriers head coach Max Manin is thankful to come away with the win after another close game, even though these last-minute thrillers might have taken a few years off his life.

“Definitely have a little bit less hair now,” said Manin with a laugh. “The toughest thing about it is, when we look at these games, a lot of it is just self-inflicted wounds. We’re making penalties and fumbling the football. The glass-half-full view of that is that you have a team that can fight and battle no matter if they’re up or down. I don’t think we’ve reached anywhere close to our potential, and the kids realize that, too. They realize we’re not playing as well as we could be. The good news is that we have another Friday to play and get better.”

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
The Moore Haven Terriers seem to have the Glades Day Gators’ number, as they’ve managed to beat them three times in a row.

The game started in a similar fashion to the playoff game the Terriers and Gators played back on Nov. 10 of 2017. Both games saw the Gators get out to an early lead against Moore Haven, and both games saw the Terriers battle back and ultimately come away with the win.
“We just hung with them,” said Manin. “It’s easy to be on the side that goes up 14-0 early in the game and then go on to win. But to be down in points on your rival’s field and to come back and win is crazy. So proud of the team.”

Despite giving up their early lead, the Gators actually had a chance to win the game in the final seconds.

The Glades Day offense marched down the field and set up for what would’ve been a game-winning field goal, but Gators senior kicker Lyn Castaneda’s attempt sailed wide right.

It was reminiscent of Moore Haven’s game against Neumann on Sept. 14 when the Terriers lost 21-20 on an extra point attempt in overtime. Manin says his team much prefers to be on this side of the heartbreaking last-minute missed kicks as opposed to what happened in the Neumann game.

Next the Terriers will have their homecoming game against the Southwest Florida Christian Kings on Oct. 5. The Kings come into Moore Haven with a 1-5 record. But just beyond Southwest Florida Christian sit the currently 5-1 Oasis Sharks, who have completely turned around their football program after going 0-11 in 2017. The Terriers will have to keep their eyes on Southwest and not overlook them for the talented Sharks team lurking around the corner.

“The thing is we’re still not playing great football,” explained Manin. “I’ve told the team that we’re five or six weeks into this and we still haven’t played a full, complete football game yet. No matter who is across from us, we control if we have false starts and we control if we fumble the football. Oasis is a really good team, so I want them to look at the film from the Southwest Florida Christian game and know that they’re going to be facing a good team.”

The Terriers will celebrate homecoming and take on Southwest Florida Christian at 7 p.m. on Oct. 5 at Joe Brown Stadium in Moore Haven.

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