In a wide open race to reach Orlando in Class 8A, Deerfield Beach might be the most complete team.
The Bucks showed their potential with an impressive defensive performance Friday night in a 35-0 shutout of host Piper that clinched the District 11-8A championship.
Deerfield Beach (7-1, 5-0) won its second consecutive district title and third in the past four seasons.
The Bucks outscored their five district opponents 203-13 and beat previously unbeaten Piper (8-1, 4-1) for the sixth consecutive time. Deerfield Beach has outscored Piper 231-24 during that span.
Never miss a local story.
Deerfield Beach, which improved to 23-5 in the all-time series against Piper, will host Western in two weeks in the opening round of the playoffs. The Wildcats upset Miramar 7-6 to clinch the runner-up berth in the district. Piper will travel to Flanagan in the first round.
“I’m happy with our kids not getting caught up all week in the talk and Twitter stuff,” Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn said. “We knew Piper had to conjure up some of that, but we told our guys to stay even-keeled throughout and just play our game.”
Deerfield Beach, which has never won a state title, won its fifth consecutive game since losing to nationally ranked Grayson High (Georgia), outscoring its opponents 203-6 during that span.
The Bucks have not made a deep playoff push since falling in the state semifinals to Miami Northwestern in 2007.
That could change this season.
“We had a lot of new pieces, but you can see how everything is starting to come together,” Glenn said. “We made some adjustments after we came back from Georgia with the different sets we’ve been running. We got caught up with the up-tempo and now we’ve learned how to play fast and execute when we have to back things up as well.”
Eldin Dorvil recorded two of Deerfield Beach’s four interceptions Friday night as the Bucks forced five turnovers overall.
Ashton Pierre, who also had a sack, intercepted a pass from Piper quarterback Dehron King and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter.
The play came just moments after King had lobbed a 49-yard touchdown pass to Raevon Clarke. But a holding penalty nullified the score and Deerfield Beach swung the momentum back in its favor on the next play.
Quarterback Nick Holm threw a pair of touchdown passes early in the game to give Deerfield Beach a 14-0 lead.
Wide receiver and Alabama commit Jerry Jeudy caught six passes on the Bucks’ opening drive, but didn’t score until there was less than two minutes remaining when he made a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone to complete a 28-yard touchdown hookup with quarterback Alec Brown.
Holm left the game just before halftime after taking a hard hit to the ribs and did not return.
Glenn said later that Holm was held out for precautionary reasons.