D.P.'s Daquan Isom making a name for himself as a Panther
| 9:17 a.m. October 2, 2014
ORLANDO — When Kerry Bernard broke a 96-yard touchdown run last season against Timber Creek, it figured to be a long-standing mark in the Dr. Phillips High School football record book.
That was, until senior running back Daquan Isom upped the standard Sept. 26, at Bill Spoone Stadium.
Isom, in his first season with the Panthers after transferring from Apopka High School, took a first-quarter handoff and ran 99 yards for a score to help set the tone for DP’s 49-0 victory over the University High Cougars.
Bernard is in his freshman season with the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs, after he rushed for 1,062 yards and nine touchdowns last year at DP. As for Isom, he continues to settle in nicely with the Panthers after an ankle injury sidelined him for much of last year at Apopka, where the Blue Darters made a return trip to the Class 8A state championship game.
“We’re starting to come closer as a team every week,” said Isom, who has 411 rushing yards and six touchdowns for the 5-0 Panthers.
Isom’s record-breaking run was made possible by his alert play following a shotgun snap that sailed over quarterback Rudy Norwood’s head and into the end zone. Isom picked up the ball and dodged a few University tacklers to reach the DP 1-yard line and avoid a safety, and on the next play he found daylight when the Panthers ran out of a power I-formation.
“My fullback (Jason Richards) gave me a good hole to run through, and I just saw an open field,” Isom said.
Isom finished with 113 yards on four carries as Dr. Phillips — which now has scored points in 103 consecutive games — substituted freely in the backfield en route to a 42-0 halftime lead. The second half featured a running clock, while Richards scored on a 3-yard run with6:13 left in the third quarter.
“This is our first complete game that we played all season,” DP head coach Rodney Wells said. “We had challenged (the team) throughout the week, but the scary part for the coaches was we only got one day of practice in because of all the weather and lightning.”
An electrical problem delayed Friday’s start by 37 minutes, but the Panthers hardly seemed affected as they struck for 21 points in both the first and second quarters.
Jaylon Hamer rushed for 61 yards and two touchdowns (1 and 9 yards) on eight carries, and Isom added a 15-yard TD run. Norwood completed 8 of 12 passes for 105 yards — including a 14-yard scoring toss to Jaquarius Bargnare (3 catches, 50 yards) — and Alvin Bryant had a 10-yard touchdown run inside the final minute of the second quarter.
The defense also deserved a large share of credit after recording its second shutout in as many weeks. Led in part by sophomore linebacker/defensive end Dylan Meeks — who had a team-high 37 tackles after four games — DP limited University (2-3) to 94 total yards and seven first downs.
“We might not have the star power on defense, but we’re much more deep than we were the last couple years,” Wells said. “We’re literally two-deep in every single position.”
Dr. Phillips, which remains atop the Associated Press Class 8A state poll, resumes its Class 8A District 5 schedule this Friday, Oct. 3, on Homecoming against rival Boone. The Panthers were 1-0 in district play following a 35-0 win over Colonial on Sept. 19.
Boone (2-3) lost 27-24 to West Orange in Week 1 but has wins over University and Winter Park.
“I was at the Boone and West Orange game and they (the Braves) could have won on thatSaturday morning — just a couple plays didn’t bounce their way,” Wells said. “It’s going to be a challenge, and it’s always a challenge when Boone and Dr. Phillips get together.
“It’s always a big district game, and I told the guys that since 2006 the winner of that game won the district,” he said. “Boone is very familiar with us, and we’re familiar with them, and we just have to execute and take care of the ball.”