On a night where Plantation clinched a playoff berth by way of other action in District 12-8A, the Colonels put together enough timely plays to take down Dillard in a non-district Broward bout.
With a pair of second-half touchdown catches from an unlikely hero and a defense that held the Panthers to two scores despite more than 300 yards passing, Plantation earned a 23-14 victory at Dillard on Friday night.
Tight end Robzel Sylvestre scored a pair of long touchdowns on identical plays -- the second one a 50-yarder to break a 14-14 tie with 4:24 remaining and key the win for Plantation (7-2, 4-1).
With the Dillard defense so focused on stopping Plantation's run-based Wing-T offense, the Panthers left the 6-3, 220-pound sophomore tight end unguarded deep over the middle.
It happened earlier for a 56-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Both touchdowns were thrown by Archie Banton.
Sylvestre says the offense runs the waggle play off the run fake for him once or twice a game. He made the most of his two chances on Friday.
"Every time they give me a chance to get the ball, I try to make a play," Sylvestre said. "I guess I made a play twice."
Dillard (5-3, 1-1 District 15-6A) fell despite stat-stuffing performances from its quarterback and top receiver.
Anthony "Mo" Hasan threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns on 28-of-49 passing. The two touchdowns went to Jordan Merrell, who caught 16 passes for 185 yards. As it that weren't enough, the two also connected on a two-point conversion that tied the game at 14 early in the fourth.
The downside to all the dropbacks: the pass rush Plantation was able to produce.
The Colonels recorded nine sacks, including one for a safety to seal it with just over a minute remaining on a play where Dillard was so backed up from penalties and sacks it faced 3rd-and-60 from its own 5-yard line.
Senior linebacker Malik Jones had an interception, a sack and another tackle for loss.
"I was just reading my keys," Jones said. "[I got] the opportunity to catch a pick and I capitalized on it."
Brother Tyrik and defensive tackle Tamar Jackson recorded two sacks apiece.
The teams exchanged touchdowns on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter.
Hasan led an impressive 80-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a 17-yard touchdown to Merrell before the first of Sylvestre's two touchdowns as the Colonels responded quickly.
Plantation led 7-0 at halftime thanks to a Jordan Johnson touchdown run and a goal-line stand toward the end of the half.
Johnson, who finished with 87 yards rushing, scampered up the middle from seven yards out on the final play of the first quarter to get the Colonels on the board first.
Dillard's second-to-last possession before halftime had the Panthers drive down to the 2-yard line, but on 4th-and-goal from that spot, George Golden was stuffed on a sweep to his right that Plantation read perfectly.
Plantation, locked to the No. 2 spot in its district, next faces a district rival in South Plantation to wrap up the regular season before facing the District 11-8A champion between Deerfield Beach and Piper.
Dillard will have to recover before a matchup with Boynton Beach in a meeting that would determine a playoff spot in District 15-6A.