A balance of explosive offense and sturdy defense helped the Panthers blowout Wekiva in a crucial game for Dr. Phillips.
Dr. Phillips (5-2) could seemingly do no wrong in its 35-7 domination of the Wekiva Mustangs (5-2) for a pivotal road win.
“I challenged them at the beginning of the week,” said Dr. Phillips Head Coach Rodney Wells. “For the last six quarters before this game, we’ve been playing phenomenal football — from the second half of Apopka into Windermere. Coming into tonight, I asked them ‘Who are we?,’ because we’ve had some great quarters and we’ve had some terrible quarters. The last six have been great, (and) I asked them can we put 10 together and that’s exactly what they did — they answered the call and put four quarters together tonight of great football.
“I was very pleased,” he said. “They just answered the bell. The seniors — (and) captains — they continue to do exactly what we ask.”
After neither team were able to score in the first quarter, the Panthers put up 21 points in the second quarter to take a 21-0 lead into halftime.
The Mustangs finally got on the board in the third quarter, as a muffed punt by the Panthers at their 25-yard line eventually led to a 1-yard touchdown pass from Brenden Cyr to Jymon Coleman with 3:25 left in the third quarter.
Dr. Phillips would respond on the next drive, scoring on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Isaiah Givens to Jacquez Jones.
Following a fumble by the Mustangs — which was recovered by Dr. Phillips at Wekiva’s 45-yard line — Amir Johnson ran 45 yards to put the Panthers up by the game’s final score of 35-7.
Givens threw for two touchdowns — connecting with Ledger Hatch for a 24 yard touchdown in the 2nd quarter to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead.
Three different Panthers had scores on the ground, as Brandon Fields scored on a 45-yard touchdown, while Jaydan Taylor scored on a 14-yard carry and Johnson also scored on a 45-yard touchdown.
Defensively Dr. Phillips bottled up Wekiva’s offense, as their only points came after they were given a short field on a muffed punt. The Panthers recovered three fumbles.
Next Friday the Panthers will host the Olympia Titans, and the winner of that game will likely set themselves up to win the Class 8A, District 5 and clinch a playoff berth.
“Every week is a challenge,“ Wells said. “Next week is going to be an even bigger challenge. It’s going to be the biggest challenge of the season, because it’s the district championship most likely between us and Olympia again for I don’t know how many years in a row.
“We just got to stay consistent,” he said. “If we do what we did — play how we played tonight — there’s not many teams that can beat us.”