The Dr. Phillips Panthers used two big offensive plays in the first half, four interceptions in the second half, and a robust defense throughout to shutdown the Wekiva Mustangs 28-7 and advance to the state finals for the second straight season.
The Panthers shocked the capacity Wekiva crowd on the first play from scrimmage when sophomore running back Brandon Fields ran through the Wekiva defensive line, and raced for a 73-yard-touchdown. After senior placekicker Sterling Stockwell's succesful extra point, Dr. Phillips led 7-0 after only 20 seconds into the game.The loss ends the Mustangs playoff run, a 10-game winning streak, and its record-breaking season. Wekiva finished the 2017 with a 12-2 record, which was Wekiva's best in the school's history.
Then with 2:29 left in the second quarter, lightning struck again when Panther quarterback BeSean McCray took a quarterback sweep through two Wekiva defenders, followed a block, and blew past the Mustang defense 72 yards for a touchdown that gave the Panthers a surprising 14-0 lead at halftime.
Despite five trips into Panther territory, the Mustangs came away with no points in the first half. But in the second half, things got significantly worse.
Pressing to rally from a 14-point deficit, senior quarterback Brandon Williams threw three interceptions in the first six minutes, one of which Panther defensive back Brian Bell-Anderson took 40 yards for a touchdown and gave the Panthers a 28-0 lead.
Wekiva finally answered just before the end of the third quarter when Mustang senior Cayvian Holmes took a jet-sweep handoff from Williams and went 10 yards for Wekiva's only score. After kicker Oscar Salazar's kick, Wekiva trailed 28-7 with 2:28 left in the period.
It was all the offense the Mustangs could muster against the impressive Panther defense.
The loss ends the Mustangs playoff run, a 10-game winning streak, and its record-breaking season. Wekiva finished 2017 with a 12-2 record, their best in school history. They also won their first District 8A-4 title, beat Apopka and Dr. Phillips during the regular season - all firsts for Wekiva.
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