For the first time in program history, Dr. Phillips is a state football champion. Powered by a special teams touchdown and a defensive touchdown, the Panthers defeated Atlantic 17-7 in the 8A Championship game.
Player of the Game Japerri Powell blocked an Eagles punt in the first quarter to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead. The junior standout led the suffocating defensive attack with 2.5 sacks and tied for the team lead with seven tackles.
Sterling Stockwell added a 29-yard field goal to give Dr. Phillips a 10-0 halftime lead, after a first half in which both offenses struggled to find rhythm.
Dr. Phillips led 10-0 to start the fourth quarter of the 8A Championship for the second-straight year. But after a fourth-quarter collapse in 2016 that led to a 14-10 Miami Southridge win, Dr. Phillips linebacker Cameron Williams provided the crushing blow to Atlantic's offense. An interception return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter gave the Panthers an insurmountable 17-0 lead.
Atlantic did get its passing attack going late in the fourth quarter. Antoine Williams II finished with 191 passing yards and scored on a 15-yard touchdown run to provide the final score of the game.
The Eagles were making their first state championship game appearance since 1978, and fall to 0-5 all-time in title games.
Quarterback BeSean McCray led the Panthers with 77 rushing yards and added 75 passing yards. Devodney Alford was Dr. Phillips' workhorse, toting the ball 22 times for 58 yards.
After starting the playoffs as the No. 4 seed in 8A Region 2, the Panthers' run of destiny concludes with an 8A state title, Orlando's first since Bishop Moore in 2015.