Dwyer 31, East Lake 24 (OT)
Tarpon Springs – Dwyer senior defensive back Shawann Lurry’s interception on East Lake’s 3rd play in overtime secured the Panthers victory after a furious comeback by the home team.
The Eagles were down 24-10 midway in the fourth quarter when after a lateral to senior Tay Scott he hit junior George Campbell for a 65 yard touchdown pass and then on the next Panthers’ series Tay Scott intercepted a pass and returned it to Dwyer’s 10 yard line. On fourth and goal, junior quarterback Jake Hudson hit senior Devin Abraham in the end zone for tying score.
Eagles’ Tay Scott also had a 3 yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give the Eagles their only lead of the game, 7-0, and finished with 81 yards rushing. Jake Hudson finished the night 5 of 15 for 75 passing yards, 1 TD pass and 2 interceptions (first interception was by Panthers’ junior linebacker Jerrad Ward who returned it 34 yards for a touchdown with 6:48 in fourth quarter to go up 24-10 before East Lake rallied).
On defense, East Lake’s junior linebacker Carson Lydon had two tackles for loss and pass defended, junior DE Regis Steighner had two tackles for loss, senior DL Hunter Snyder had a sack, and George Campbell had a couple of quarterback pressures and knocked down two passes.
Panthers’ Johnnie Dixon got his team on the board with a touchdown catch of 80 yards in the first quarter to tie the score at 7 and had a 37 yards touchdown catch in the fourth quarter for the go ahead score to make it 17-10. Other standouts for Dwyer on offense were senior wide receiver Ezra Saffold with 11 catches for 88 yards and junior quarterback Daniel Parr who hit on 23 of 28 passes for 312 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int, and had the game winning touchdown in overtime with a 3 yard touchdown run after a botched handoff attempt.
Dwyer’s LB Jerrad Ward in addition to his pick-6 had two tackles for loss.
Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer football team (14-0) now has a chance for their second State Title (2009) when they play Niceville next Friday night at 7:07 pm for the Class 7A State Championship.
East Lake finished their most successful season with a 13-1 mark and their first state semifinal appearance.
By Don Haggard and Jordan Haggard