Northeast’s magical season came to an end Friday night at home as Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer dominated the second half en route to a 25-3 win in the Region 4-7A quarterfinals.
The Hurricanes season ended at 9-2. Dwyer advances to play Boyd Anderson in the semifinals.
The game started as well as it could have for the Canes. Dwyer misplayed the opening kickoff and Northeast recovered it at the Dwyer 7. However, the Panthers defense kept Northeast out of the end zone and were only down 3-0 after a 25-yard field goal by Willy Rivera.
It looked like three points might be all that would needed to determine a winner as Northeast’s defense was fantastic in the first half as well. But after forcing a turnover on downs with 1:45 to play in the first half and taking possession at its own 15-yard line, Northeast went to the air three times and punted the ball right back to Dwyer. That mistake revitalized the Panthers.
With no timeouts, the Panthers got down to the Northeast 15-yard line and rushed their field goal unit onto the field just getting the field goal off at the horn went off tying the game at three on a 32-yard field goal by Peyton Shapiro.
“That field goal really seemed to get the players up going into halftime,” Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said. “We have just turned it over on downs and we had no timeouts. I thought they’d pass once and then run the clock out if they couldn’t do anything. They threw it three times and gave us great field position. We were able to get that field goal up and then our defense was just dominant in the second half.”
Dwyer (10-1) made a point to keep the ball away from Northeast’s star receiver Stacey Coley who didn’t have a catch and only touched the ball twice on offense the entire game.
Dwyer made it 10-3 on a 1-yard run by quarterback Daniel Parr and then 16-3 when Parr hit Ezra Saffold on a 23-yard touchdown pass late in the third. A safety on a bad punt snap made it 18-3 and the Panthers closed it out on a fumble recovery for touchdown by Jerrad Ward with 2:40 to play.
For Northeast coach Donnell Bennett, it was very difficult loss. He is losing a group of seniors led by Coley that helped make the program relevant.
“It’s really tough. The kids gave it everything they had,” Bennett said. “Stacey has meant so much to this program. Two years ago he would never have played both sides the entire game. He didn’t want to come out. That’s the kind of competitor he is.”
• Region 4-7A quarterfinal — Boyd Anderson 13, Delray Beach Atlantic 7:
Boyd Anderson senior Eddie Jackson, who earlier in the day grieved over the death of his grandmother, caught the winning 1-yard touchdown pass from Gregory Hankerson with 5:17 left.
Boyd Anderson held the Eagles (8-3) to only 27 yards rushing and only one first-down in the second half, remained untouchable the rest of the game.
“The one thing that came out of this is that we’re coming home to bring a playoff game to the Lauderdale Lakes community,” Boyd Anderson coach Wayne Blair said. “But as coaches, we need to do some kicking in the butt about the penalties and mistakes. There’s going to be some people doing some running. We definitely can’t win playoff games playing like this.”