After opening the season with a 20-19 loss to the Braves, the Panthers dealt the previously undefeated squad a 13-6 loss to earn Dr. Phillips' 10th district title.
DR. PHILLIPS The Dr. Phillips Panthers got a chance to avenge a loss Wednesday night — and they took advantage of it.
The Panthers hosted Boone April 27 in the District 3 Championship, the teams' first meeting since the Braves topped Dr. Phillips 20-19 in the opener for both teams.
And, though Boone had entered the district final with an undefeated mark, the Panthers (11-3) ensured that the Braves left with the first — and last — loss of their season, scoring the 13-6 victory. As district champion, Dr. Phillips advances to the FHSAA Regional Semifinals and will host Martin County at 7 p.m. May 6.
"(We) just turned it on," head coach Anthony Jones said of his team, which came into the season with several inexperienced players. "They started believing in themselves and started concentrating and the quarterback (Kaylee Messina) had confidence — the rest is history."
Junior quarterback Kaylee Messina got the scoring started lated in the first half with a rushing touchdown on a quarterback scramble. Later, in the fourth quarter, Messina converted a short pass to Jordin Ferguson who eluded a pack of Boone defenders to break free for a 25-yard touchdown.
The Braves (11-1) would score a late touchdown to make things interesting, but a big first down run by Gianna Fischetti on the ensuing Dr. Phillips possession helped seal the deal and allow the Panthers to run out the clock.
The district championship is the 10th for the program and its sixth title in the past seven years.
Contact Steven Ryzewski at sryze[email protected].