LAKE BUENA VISTA — Caleb McMillan ran the ball in from nine yards out with just over 20 seconds to play Sunday morning to give the Dr. Phillips Panthers Unlimited weight class team (ages 14-and-under) a 22-18 victory over Brick City (N.J.) in the first round of the Pop Warner Super Bowl at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex.
McMillan’s run came after the Panthers had received the ball with roughly a minute and a half to play, down 18-14. Dr. Phillips faced a 4th-and-20 earlier in the drive, but a pass from Thomas Furry to Derrick Mays kept the team’s hopes alive. Later, a pass from Furry to Devon Buchanon helped setup the McMillan run.
“It’s been the same all year,” head coach Tim Mara said. “This team just doesn’t quit — they somehow, some way find a way to win the football game.”
The Panthers scored three times, in total, with Jaquarri Powell taking one to the house earlier in the second half and Parker Mara tossing a touchdown pass to Buchanon in the first quarter.
The two teams were tied at 6-6 at the half before things got wild in the second half.
“It was fun,” Mara said. “I’ve coached football now, it’s now my 25th year of coaching, and that’s probably the most exciting game I’ve ever been a part of.”
Dr. Phillips will now play against the Everett Crimson Tide, hailing from Massachusetts, on Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. in the semifinals.