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November 2, 2012
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THE OUTLOOK: It's been awhile since the Dwyer Panthers staved off elimination by winning this late in the season. But that's exactly what the Panthers must do.
After the 28-12 loss to Atlantic Community two weeks ago, Dwyer went from odds-on favorite to challenge Manatee in 7A south to scraping to get back into the race.
Couple that with Atlantic's 35-20 win over Royal Palm Beach last week, and you've got an elimination game.
Dwyer, Royal Palm and Atlantic all have one district loss - so the possibility of a three-way tie for first does not exist. The winner of this game is assured of a playoff berth - whether it be as a runner-up or as a district champion.
The loser has to hope that Atlantic stubs its toe against Lake Worth Friday, and Santaluces defeats West Boca. That would create a three-way tie for second. Dwyer has a win over Santaluces (as does Royal Palm) and Santaluces has a win over Atlantic -which could create a three-way tie.
Dwyer's offense struggled early against Atlantic - much like Royal Palm's. Both teams gave up either a special team score or a long scoring run that came back to haunt them in the end. Neither can afford it in this game.
Dwyer's going to have to play ball control offense and cash in on scoring chances. The Panthers twice reached the red zone against Atlantic only to turn the ball over either via the interception or on downs.
Royal Palm wants to use its speed attack from Williams and McGrew and has a strong defense with DB DeAndre Simmons likely drawing the assignment of covering Dwyer WR Clint Stephens
Before the game kicks off - both teams will know their fate. Lake Worth-Atlantic is on Friday, so the two teams will know going in what they must do to survive.
When you're playing to survive, the stakes get higher. Dwyer's been in that pressure cooker before.
Prediction: Dwyer 21 Royal Palm Beach 20