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Senior quarterback Marvin Washington (2016)

Football holds off Vero Beach
11/27/2016 10:35:00 AM

Quarterback Marvin Washington completed 16 of 21 passes for 181 yards and accounted for three touchdowns as Dr. Phillips held off powerful Vero Beach in the Regional Championship, 34-24. Junior wide receiver Je'Quan Burton caught a team-high seven passes for 78 yards and senior linebacker Dylan Meeks finished with a team-high 15 tackles as DP advanced to the State Semifinals for the third time in the last seven years.

Both offenses were relatively unstoppable in the first half. Vero Beach (11-1) took the opening drive 58 yards in 11 plays but settled for a 24-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead. On the ensuing possession, Dr. Phillips (11-2) responded with a punishing drive that spanned 63 yards over 16 plays and swallowed over eight minutes off the clock. Ball control and clock management were a priority coming in and the Panthers  epitomized each perfectly as they averaged just over five yards per play while eight different players touched the football on the first drive. Third down conversions were critical as Washington, Xandre McCleary and Emare Hogan each gave the Panthers drive-sustaining yardage before Washington punched it in from a yard out to give DP a 6-3 lead with 8:11 left in the second quarter. Vero Beach ran their offense to perfection on their next possession, driving 80 yards in eight plays capped by a 40-yard touchdown pass to take a 10-6 lead at the 8:11 mark. But DP counterpunched immediately. From their own 30, Kenny Palmer broke free for a 21-yard gain and Je'Quan Burton hauled in a 12-yard pass on third and seven to give DP a first down at the Vero 32. Two plays later, Washington hit Davarius Bargnare on a quick strike at the 15 and Bargnare slipped past the safety into the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown to put the Panthers up 13-10. They would never lose the lead.

On their next possession, Vero Beach took over with 4:41 left in the half and drove down to the DP 12 but senior safety Henry Caldwell ripped the ball free after a ten-yard gain and recovered his own strip to give the Panthers possession with just under two minutes remaining in the half. DP wasted little time capitalizing. Washington hit Emare Hogan for 20 yards, Je'Quan Burton for 14 and Burton again for 11 more on third and nine. Washington ran for a first down to the Vero 27 and after Emare Hogan's eight-yard reception on third down, Marvin Washington called his own number one more time, charging in from eight yards out to give DP a 20-10 lead into halftime.

After scoring on all three first half drives, DP felt confident in the second half but their opening drive resulted in an interception at the Vero Beach 12 yard line. After the Indians completed a 13-yard pass to the 25, Robert Porcher killed the drive with his school-record tying 15th sack of the season that led to Vero's first punt of the game. Henry Caldwell returned the punt eight yards into Vero territory and Washington went to work again at the 43. On third and five, he found Devodney Alford out of the backfield for a 15-yard first down to the 25. Three plays later, on fourth and six from the 21, Washington hit Je'Quan Burton again for another big gain, this time for 17 yards, down inside the five. Kenny Palmer capped the scoring drive with a four-yard touchdown run as the lead grew to 27-10 at the 5:15 mark of the third quarter. Vero Beach put together an impressive response, however, driving 80 yards in nine plays resulting in a 29-yard touchdown pass to pull within ten, 27-17, but special teams then shifted decidedly in DP's favor. For the first time in the game, DP's offense was forced to punt on fourth and two from their own 39 with 2:39 left in the third quarter. Vero Beach elected not to have anyone back to return the punt, instead defending against a possible fake punt. That allowed junior Sterling Stockwell to boom a career-long 56 yard punt that rolled out of bounds at the Vero Beach five yard line, flipping the field perfectly. The DP defense forced a three and out on Vero's first two drives of the fourth quarter and the Panthers caught another special teams break midway through the period. On fourth and five at the Vero 48, Sterling Stockwell punted 43 yards to the Vero Beach five but the returner inexplicably tried to catch and return the punt dangerously deep in the shadow of the end zone. Senior Albert Gilreath came in and put his helmet right on the football, forcing a devastating fumble that was recovered by sophomore Jaquarri Powell in the end zone for a DP touchdown. With a 34-17 lead with just 6:34 remaining, the Panthers went into a conservative effort defensively and surrendered a late score but Arvis Evans recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the Regional Championship, 34-24.

Dr. Phillips will now advance to the State Semifinal for the first time since 2012 where they'll face their second undefeated opponent in as many weeks, traveling to Sanford Seminole. DP and Seminole (12-0) have a history in this game as the Panthers defeated the Seminoles, 37-13, in the 2010 State Semifinal. Tickets will be $9.00 and kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.

Name Attempts Yards Average Long TD
Kenny Palmer 18 74 4.1 21 1
Marvin Washington 12 62 5.2 13 2
Xandre McCleary 2 8 4.0 3 0
Devodney Alford 3 4 1.3 4 0
DJ Charles 2 3 1.5 2 0
Emare Hogan 3 0 0 1 0
Total 40 151 3.8 21 3

Name Comps Att Yards TD Int Pct
Marvin Washington 16 21 181 1 1 76.2
Total 16 21 181 1 1 76.2

Name Receptions Yards Average Long TD
Je'Quan Burton 7 78 11.1 14 0
Emare Hogan 6 55 9.2 20 0
Davarius Bargnare 1 27 27.0 27 1
Devodney Alford 1 15 15.0 15 0
Caleb Walls 1 6 6.0 6 0
Total 16 181 11.3 27 1

Return Yardage
Name Total Punt Kickoff Int Fumble Bl Kick TD
Tanner Ingle 34 1-2 2-32 0 0 0 0
Je'Quan Burton 16 0 2-16 0 0 0 0
Henry Caldwell 11 1-8 0 0 1-3 0 0
Brice Ingram 2 0 0 0 1-2 0 0
Total 63 2-10 4-48 0 2-5 0 0

Name Punts Avg Long FGM/FGA Long XPM/XPA Pts
Sterling Stockwell 4 34.5 56 0 0 4-5 4
Total 4 34.5 56 0 0 4-5 4

Team Totals
Category Dr. Phillips Vero Beach
Points 34 24
Rushing Yards 40-151 (3.8) 27-117 (4.3)
Passing/Comp/Att/Yards 16-21-181 (76.2%) 30-42-327 (71.4%)
Total Yards 332 444
First Downs 19 24
Third Down Conv % 8-14 (57.1%) 5-10 (50.0%)
Fourth Down Conv % 2-2 (100.0%) 0-2 (0%)
Turnovers 1 3
Penalties 8-61 4-33
Avg. Field Position DP 39 VB 19

Vero Beach 3 7 7 7 24
Dr. Phillips 0 20 7 7 34

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