Stuck in a 7-7 dogfight in the Southeastern Football Conference semifinals against unbeaten Westminster Academy, Coral Springs Charter coach Adam Miller was looking for a spark.
Then, he flashed back to a game against the Lions a couple of years earlier.
“I remembered we ran the wildcat against them, and they couldn’t stop it,” he said.
Miller dialed up the same formation, and the Panthers scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to advance to the SFC championship with a 21-7 win on the Lions’ home turf Thursday.
Coral Springs Charter (8-2, 5-2) will face Calvary Christian Academy for the SFC championship on Saturday, Nov.15, at FAU Stadium. The teams met earlier this season with Calvary winning 26-25 on a last-second score.
“We’re looking forward to a second shot at them,” Miller said.
The Lions, seeking their first unbeaten season in school history, finished the year 9-1, 6-1 in the conference.
After stopping the Lions deep in Panthers territory early in the fourth, receiver Roe Farris Jr. engineered a 65-yard drive from the wildcat formation that he capped with a 1-yard plunge to give the Panthers a lead they would not relinquish. Zach Weber, who finished with two touchdown catches on offense and two interceptions on defense, caught a 49-yard pass for the final margin.
“We’ve had some adversity this season. We didn’t start the year as well as we would’ve liked,” Weber said. “But we never gave up. We kept fighting and look where we are.”
With both teams averaging better than 40 points a game coming into the contest, it looked like a shootout was in the cards, especially after two touchdowns in the game’s first five minutes. Coral Springs Charter went 43 yards in eight plays to open the scoring when Coral Springs quarterback David Vozzola hit Weber for a score.
But Westminster answered right back when running back Johnnie Gaines burst through the line and outran everyone for a 70-yard touchdown.
Panthers running back Kalen Carson had just 37 yards in the first half but exploded in the second half, finishing with 160 yards and eclipsing 1,000 yards for the season.