CLASS 8A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEW
8 months ago -- Sun, Dec 10, 2017 12:39 AM
The Orlando Dr. Phillips Panthers are playing for a state championship for the third time, the Panthers have finished as the state runner up during the 2010 and 2016 seasons.
"D.P." enters the Class 8A final with a 12-2 record. The Panthers drilled Davenport Ridge Community 35-7 in the first round, edged Kissimmee Osceola 17-13 in round two, defeated Sarasota Riverview 28-19 in the regional final, and dominated Apopka Wekiva 28-7 in the state semifinals.
Dr. Phillips' offense is led by senior quarterback Besean McCray, who has passed for 1,908 yards with 17 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. McCray also has 600 yards rushing and 8 scores. Senior running back Devodney Alford has rushed for 1,080 yards with 12 touchdowns and caught 14 passes for 198 yards with 2 scores. Sophomore Brandon Fields provides another option in the running game, he has 290 yards rushing and 3 scores. When "D.P." takes to the air, McCray will look to get the ball to senior Davarius Bargnare who has 47 catches for 660 yards and 8 touchdowns. Senior Michael Fox(33 catches 325 yards 4tds), junior Devon Buckhanon(22 catches 295 yards 3tds), and sophomore Trey Schyck(21 catches 242 yards 1td) are other targets in the passing game.
Defensively, the Panthers strength is their linebacking corps. Sophomore Stephen Dix(130 tackles 29 tackles for a loss 10 sacks), junior Japerri Powell(125 tackles 21tfls), junior Cameron Williams(112 tackles 11tfls), and junior Jaquarri Powell(96 tackles 23tfls) lead the charge. Defensive line Brice Ingram(101 tackles 20tfls) and Joe Gulla(95 tackles 19tfls) are solid defenders. The secondary is led by Tanner Ingle(88 tackles 5tfls).
The Delray Beach Atlantic Eagles are making their fifth appearance in a FHSAA State Championship Game and this will be their first appearance since 1978. The Eagles were Class 3A state runner ups in 1973, 1975, 1976, and 1978.
Atlantic enters the Class 8A final with a 12-1-1. They have outscored their four playoff opponents 108-64. In round one, the Eagles defeated Plantation 29-14, they edged Lake Worth Park Vista 14-7 in the second round, defeated Davie Western 35-22 in the regional championship game, and squeaked by Miami Senior High 28-21 in the state semifinals.
On offense, the Eagles will rely on senior quarterback Antoine Williams to distribute the ball to seniors Corey Gammage, Oyeh Lurry-Davis, and Cadarius Gaskin. Junior Javone Jackson also provides an additional target for Williams. Senior running back Shelley Singletary provides the spark in the running game.
Defensively, Atlantic's defensive line is anchored by Jason Mercer, Alex Jean Mary, and Talus Acelouis. The linebacking corps is led by D'Ondre White and Darius Mosely. The secondary features Kenih Lovely, Corey Gammage, and Christian Brown.