Covering High School Sports in America
File photo by Marc Estrada

Joe Yearby and Central ran wild against Gainesville in the Class 6A final.

It's difficult to gameplan against one elite running back. Preparing for two is nearly impossible.

Previously unbeaten Gainesville (Fla.) learned that the hard way, as the duo of Joseph Yearby and Dalvin Cook helped Central (Miami) cruise to a 37-14 victory over Gainesville in the Class 6A finals.

Yearby rushed for two touchdowns in the first half while Cook struck in the second quarter and the third quarter, as Gainesville had few answers defensively.

After a 22-yard field goal by Emilio Nadelmen opened the scoring for the Rockets, Yearby broke loose for a 35-yard score to make it 10-0 just minutes into the game. Nadelman drilled another field goal to make it 13-0 before Gainesville finally got on the board thanks to an 80-yard touchdown run by Rapheal Webb.

Before Gainesville could establish any momentum, Cook did damage of his own. The junior, who is committed to Clemson, found the end zone from a yard out to make it 20-7 early in the second quarter. A Yearby touchdown run from 20 yards out made it 27-7 at half.

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The third quarter saw more of the same, as Cook scored his second touchdown on a 9-yard run as Central took a commanding 34-7 lead.

Gainesville got one back when Webb rushed for a 5-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to trim the deficit to 34-14. Another Nadelman field goal brought the score to 37-14, and neither team would score again.

The victory for Central caps a remarkable turnaround after the team opened its season with losses to Grayson and Manatee in two of its first three games.

Central fell short on the field in last year's Class 6A state final against Armwood. In 2010, it defeated Dr. Phillips 42-27 for the 6A title.

In 2013, Central will return Yearby, Cook and prominent offensive lineman Trevor Darling. It figures to be among the top teams in both the state and country entering next fall.