Posted: 11:38 am Saturday, December 14th, 2013
By Anthony Chiang
Palm Beach County’s high school football season ended Friday with a state title for Dwyer.
The Panthers bounced back from a halftime deficit to beat Niceville for the Class 7A state championship. It marked the Panthers’ second state football title in school history. Dwyer was the last team from the county left in the FHSAA playoffs, as there are no local teams remaining in Class 8A, Class 6A, Class 5A, Class 4A, Class 3A, Class 2A or Class 1A.
Here is PBGametime’s coverage of Dwyer’s state title-clinching win:
* Here’s a video of postgame interviews with Dwyer’s coaches and players, including some video of the Panthers’ celebration.
In addition to all of that coverage, we have a new and improved mobile PBGametime site, which you can check out on your phones at m.pbgametime.com.
Some people don’t want to hear it, but the Panthers are the class of Palm Beach County high school football right now. Not only did Dwyer win its second state title in school history Friday, but the program has now earned 15 consecutive trips to the playoffs. The Panthers have also finished 10 of their past 11 season with 10 or more wins. Coach Jack Daniels, his staff and a list of great players have turned Dwyer into the area’s dominant program. With the teams in the muck struggling and American Heritage missing the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, the Panthers stand alone.
2. The power of Parr
We used this headline for a story on Dwyer quarterback Daniel Parr, and Parr showed his power once again Friday. The junior threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns, and he ran for another score in the win over Niceville. Although Parr lost two fumbles in the contest, he didn’t let it affect him. As the leader of the Panthers’ offense, he led the unit to 529 total yards in the state championship. But Friday’s performance wasn’t anything new for Parr. He has been great all season. It will be fun to see what Parr can do as a senior.
3. Turnovers win games
Although the offense was the key to Friday’s win over the Eagles, the Panthers’ defense played a big role. The unit intercepted five passes from Niceville quarterback Ashton Hooker. The final turnover count — Niceville: 5, Dwyer: 0. That turnover margin allowed the Panthers to run 12 more offensive plays than the Eagles, holding the ball for nine more minutes than Niceville. One of Dwyer’s interceptions resulted in a score, as Shawann Lurry picked off a pass and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Lurry finished the game with two interceptions.
4. Where does Dwyer go from here?
This season, the Panthers featured nine seniors on offense and 10 seniors on defense. This was a title or bust season for Dwyer. The Panthers accomplished their goal, but the team will look very different next season. Skill players like wide receivers Johnnie Dixon, Clint Stephens, Ezra Saffold and Shawann Lurry and running back Alonzo Smith will move on to college in the offseason. On defense, Dwyer will lose safety Shawn Boone, and defensive linemen Mark Kelly and Tim Jackson, among others. Parr will return for his senior season, but the Panthers will need plenty of new starters to step up right away in order to defend their state title.
How’d Anthony do?
Anthony’s predictions record: 1-0. My first perfect week of the season.
About the Author
Anthony Chiang began his writing career in Gainesville at the University of Florida’s student-run newspaper. At The Independent Florida Alligator, he covered the school’s golf, volleyball, baseball, and football teams. The Miami native has also written for the Sun Sentinel and MLB.com, following the Tampa Bay Rays.