Posted: 12:50 pm Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Playoff Primer 2012: Dwyer’s dominant defense tries to contain Boyd Anderson 

By Matt Porter

A dual-threat quarterback like Boyd Anderson’s Greg Hankerson can give any team fits, but Dwyer devours playmakers of all types. That defense is the main reason the Panthers are favored in round two.

CLASS 7A REGION 4 SEMIFINAL
Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
at Dwyer High, Palm Beach Gardens
General admission $8; reserved seating $9.

BOYD ANDERSON
Record: 8-2
How they qualified: District 14-7A runner-up.
Last round: Beat Atlantic 13-7 in regional quarterfinals.
Average points per game: 30.5
Average points allowed per game: 11
Offense: 324.2 yards per game (236.5 rush, 87.7 pass)
Defense: 211.8 yards per game (116.2 rush, 95.6 pass)
Offensive standouts: QB Greg Hankerson (2,304 yards, 25 TD, 8 INT on 54.6 percent passing; 285 yards rushing, 2 TD), WR Eddie Jackson (28 catches, 612 yards, 7 TD), OT Sandley Jean-Felix (6-6, 292, FIU commit)
Defensive standouts: S Justin McDonald (6-2, 185, Hawaii, UCF offers)

DWYER
Record: 9-2
How they qualified: District 13-7A runner-up
Last round: Beat Oakland Park-Northeast 25-3 in regional quarterfinals.
Average points per game: 32
Average points allowed per game: 6.9
Offense: 294.7 yards per game (131.4 rush, 163.4 pass)
Defense: 116.9 yards per game (31.2 rush, 85.7 pass)
Offensive standouts: WR Johnnie Dixon (29 catches, 555 yards, 6 TD), WR Ezra Saffold (27 catches, 444 yards, 7 TD), WR Clint Stephens (17 catches, 206 yards, 1 TD).
Defensive standouts: DE Malik Brown (6-3, 215) DT Mark Kelly (6-1, 220), DE Ted Taylor (6-2, 195), LB Shawn Boone (5-10, 180), LB Jared Brown (5-10, 205), LB Jerrad Ward (6-0, 205), CB De’Andre Bozeman (5-9, 170), CB Jonathan Moxey (5-10, 175).

History: Have not played this year. Boyd Anderson beat Atlantic 13-7 in the regional quarterfinals; Dwyer lost 28-12 to Atlantic on Oct. 18. Dwyer beat Oakland Park-Northeast 25-3 in the regional quarterfinals; Boyd Anderson lost 19-14 to Northeast on Sept. 21. Have never met in postseason.

Matt’s pick: Dwyer 24-10.
Pinkos prediction: Dwyer by 7.
Lazindex: Dwyer by 9.

Boyd Anderson has put up plenty of points on the year, but that’s not the whole story. Packed in same bag as big blowout wins, you’ll find a 19-14 loss to Oakland Park-Northeast in September, a 13-6 win over Miramar in October and a 13-7 win over Atlantic last week. While the Cobras were gutting out that Atlantic win, Dwyer was holding Northeast to a field goal. You know, the same team B.A. lost to.

Based on that logic, Dwyer is the favorite. But most people who’s seen Dwyer’s defense would just use that as the deciding factor. The Panthers are good on all three levels, and remarkably consistent. They’ve allowed two offensive touchdowns once: in a 28-12 loss to Atlantic. (The same team B.A. beat last week.)

That game is Boyd Anderson’s blueprint. Atlantic turned Dwyer’s few mistakes into big plays: a punt return and a receiving touchdown from senior Brisly Estime and an inside handoff to senior Tevin Spells that went 75 yards for a score. Atlantic didn’t sustain drives on Dwyer — no one does — but the Eagles played lock-down D and hit when they had a chance.

With the way Boyd Anderson played Atlantic last week — more than 150 yards in penalties, unable to break through until the final minutes — it’s hard for the objective observer have much confidence in its offense. But, we said the same thing about Atlantic about a month ago, and have said similar things about Dwyer all year.

Dwyer’s inexperience at quarterback and banged-up offensive line have been problems all season, but the Panthers appear to be coming around. Sophomore Daniel Parr (6-3, 175) nearly put together a second-half comeback Nov. 8 against top-ranked American Heritage and played confident last week. He has big upside, but lacks experience.

The faster he grows, the more he’ll get to play with the three Ferraris lined up on the outside. Juniors Johnnie Dixon, Clint Stephens and Ezra Saffold are toys any QB would love to have. They’re all fast as blazes. Stephens catches everything and is perhaps the best all-around athlete on the team. Dixon has college-ready size and speed. Saffold runs quick, crisp routes. With a top quarterback, Dwyer would be a state title favorite, even in a loaded 7A class.

As it stands, they’ll have to keep building up Parr and rely on a strong running game; junior Alonso Smith and senior Cortney Lowery have combined for 1,178 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. But Dwyer’s best offensive weapon is the defense, which provides a cornucopia of short fields, turnovers and more than a few touchdowns. The Panthers are still playing at Thanksgiving, and they should give thanks to the D.

helmets courtesy of Florida Helmet Project

Other playoff previews:
CLASS 8AIn regional semifinals, Seminole Ridge and Palm Beach Central ramp up the rivalry

CLASS 7AFort Pierce Central meets rival Martin County

CLASS 5AGlades Central hitting its stride in playoffs?

CLASS 3A American Heritage, University meet in powerhouse matchup

CLASS 2APlayoff Primer 2012: Kelvin Taylor, Glades Day cruise into Dade Christian