In the game’s opening minutes, Dwyer’s linemen made it clear they would push around their Hialeah-Mater Academy counterparts.
It was more than enough to keep the Lions at bay, as the Panthers rolled to a 43-13 rout in Friday’s first round of the Class 7A playoffs.
With the offensive line — particularly Ronald Folkes and Tyler Payne — opening consistent running lanes, Dwyer’s backs totalled 274 rushing yards. Running back Bobby Armes started the trend early, opening the game with runs of 15 and 12 yards.
Armes added three touchdowns and finished the game with 151 rushing yards on 14 carries. Backs Cedrick Small and Sataria Haliburton added 45 and 31 yards, respectively, of their own.
Dwyer coach Jack Daniels praised the play of his offensive line.
“They were getting after it and creating nice holes,” Daniels said.
Between handoffs, quarterback Trevor Omans contributed positive yardage through the air. Omans threw an 8-yard slant pass to Cephus Smith for a first-quarter touchdown.
Armes scored his first touchdown in the second quarter on a 9-yard run
Omans and Smith connected later in the half for a big gain. Smith caught Omans’ pass, hurdled a defender and dragged others to the goal line for a 45-yard gain. Armes punched in a 1-yard run for a touchdown on the next play.
Armes scored his final touchdown, on a 45-yard sprint, in the third quarter.
On defense, Dwyer linemen regularly chased Mater quarterback Sean Delaughter out of the pocket. They also held starting running back Takori Thurston to minus-1 yards on five carries.
The pressure culminated at the end of the first quarter, when two Dwyer defenders narrowly missed bringing Delaughter down in the end zone for a safety.
Instead, Delaughter threw a pass, which linebacker Gio Quince easily intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
“The quarterback was tough to contain, but we did a good job stopping the run,” Daniels said.
Titus Buie added another interception for the Dwyer defense and Ishmael Goulbourne recovered a fumble deep in Mater territory in the third quarter.
Pointing to his own team’s turnovers, Daniels said he plans to “clean some things” up for the Panthers before next week’s second-round game.