DR. PHILLIPS The Dr. Phillips football team topped its biggest rival Friday night, securing a 10th consecutive district championship in the process.
The Panthers (6-2, 3-0 district) celebrated their Homecoming by defeating the Olympia Titans (4-4, 2-1 district) 31-10.
Dr. Phillips had led 17-3 at halftime, and then Olympia's Joe Milton found Jordan Underwood for a touchdown toss early in the third quarter and the game was suddenly a one-possession affair.
That, though, is when the Panthers turned it up a notch, as they have often done in the third quarter this season. First, Dr. Phillips scored on a touchdown run by BeSean McCray within moments of the Titans' score. Then, on their next possession, the Panthers scored on a long run by Devodney Alford.
By the time the third quarter had ended, Dr. Phillips had extended its lead to 31-10 — the game's eventual final score.
"We knew they would come back with those athletes they have over there. That group of receivers, that running back and that quarterback — I hadn't seen a group that good in a long, long time," Panthers head coach Rodney Wells said of Olympia. "They came back within seven, and within a few plays BeSean (McCray) had answered and we did a great job from there."
McCray finished with one touchdown run and a touchdown pass and was recognized as the Panthers' player of the game.
Undefeated in the district at 3-0 and with only Cypress Creek (2-6, 0-3 district) remaining as a district opponent, the win sealed a district title for Dr. Phillips, as the Panthers would have tiebreaker advantage over Olympia and Oak Ridge in the unlikely event they finished tied.
That the run of district titles for Dr. Phillips predates even Wells' time as the program's head coach is a significant achievement that is not lost on the veteran coach.
"It means a lot — it's history and it's culture and it's an expectation," Wells said. "We're big on winning the district because, that way, you're most likely to have playoff games at home ... that's the key."
Olympia will close its district schedule against Oak Ridge (4-4, 2-1 district) at home next week. The Titans likely need to win their final two games to have a chance at making the playoffs as an at-large bid via the new points system.