Posted: 11:04 am Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Football: Look Ahead to the Fourth Round of the Playoffs 

By Anthony Chiang

There are two weeks left in the football season and there are two teams from Palm Beach County left in the playoffs.

Palm Beach Gardens quarterback JP Caruso (10) and running back Tommy Monday (2) have been excellent for the Gators in the postseason. (Photo by Madeline Gray)

Two is the theme this week, as Palm Beach Gardens and Dwyer look to keep their seasons going Friday. The Gators are still alive in the Class 8A playoffs, playing in Friday’s state semifinals. In the Class 7A bracket, Dwyer is one of four teams remaining. But there are no local teams left in Class 6A, Class 5A, Class 4A, Class 3A, Class 2A or Class 1A.

Palm Beach Gardens has proved everybody wrong, making it all the way to the state semifinals after a huge upset victory over nationally ranked Miramar. Before the playoffs, not many people gave the Gators much of a chance to even advance past the first round. Now, they are just two wins away from their second state title in school history. Meanwhile, Dwyer’s success has not surprised anybody. The Panthers kept their undefeated season alive with an exciting win over Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas last week. Dwyer’s offense led the way, scoring 35 points behind 349 passing yards from quarterback Daniel Parr.

Here is a list of the local teams still left in the FHSAA playoffs:

Palm Beach Gardens (9-4): Travels to face Homestead-South Dade the Class 8A state semifinals.
Dwyer (13-0): Travels to face Tarpon Springs-East Lake in the Class 7A state semifinals.

Games of the Week

Dwyer (13-0) at Tarpon Springs-East Lake (13-0): Only the best of the best are left and this game is evidence of that. Two of the state’s best teams face off for a chance to play for a state title. Dwyer brings in a potent offense led by quarterback Daniel Parr, wide receiver Johnnie Dixon and running back Alonzo Smith. The Panthers have scored 35 or more points in 12 of their 13 games this season. But the unit will be tested this week, as East Lake features a defense that has allowed just 83 points this year. On offense, the Eagles rely on quarterback Jake Hudson, who threw for five touchdowns last week, and wide receiver Artavis Scott, a Clemson verbal commit. This one will be close.

Palm Beach Gardens (9-4) at Homestead-South Dade (12-1): Can the Gators keep their magical playoff run going? Palm Beach Gardens has entered each of the first three rounds as the underdog, but they have escaped with wins each time. The Gators will enter as the underdog again this week, but nobody will be surprised if they advance this time. In the first two rounds, Palm Beach Gardens won behind good performances from its offense. Last week, the defense led the Gators to an upset victory over Miramar. It has been a team effort for the Gators, and they will need to do it again to get past a South Dade team that has allowed just 14 points over its three playoff wins.