PLAYERS TO WATCH:
DR. PHILLIPS: RB Eric Harrell, CB pDavin Pierce, QB Alton Meeks, DL Auggie Amone, TE/DL Kenderson Obas
THE OUTLOOK: It looks like the #1 team in 8A will be without the services of their all-world safety Marcell Harris after suffering a nasty leg injury against Evans against a team that has put up over 3,000 yards of total offense and a QB that's responsible for over 2,000 yards and 23 TD's himself. Not to mention there's further motivation (whether publicly admitted or not) for all parties involved to avoid having to make the trek down I-4 to Dad's Stadium in round one.
Freedom boasts a number of offensive weapons including University of South Florida Commit Jeff Badet (6-0, 170) at wide receiver, but Dr. Phillips' Davin Pierce (6-2, 170) is fresh off a Revis Island-esque shutdown of Evans' Tony Stevens holding the coveted prospect to 1 catch for just 43 yards. Dr. Phillips may be missing Harris, but the Panthers are equipped to face the potential onslaught with an extremely physical front-seven led by guys like Auggie Amone and Kenderson Obas playing assignment football in the secondary such as the underrated Matt Milano and Deionte Gaines who plays opposite of Pierce. Freedom can still counter with formidable athletes such as Kealy, RB Devin Cortese and wide receiver Lee Grant in addition.
The key ingredient for both teams is to win the line of scrimmage and without Harris to help over the top it is assignment football of the highest order for the Panthers Secondary. If Dr. Phillips has to lean on the arm of Alton Meeks to the WR Corps that can make plays, then this could be the end of their undefeated season and district championship hopes. Balance for Freedom will be essential and a heavy dose of Eric Harrell along with defensive turnovers will be the focus for the Panthers. Freedom simply wants to start scoring the second the get off the bus if they can and never look back because they've given up 21+ points in 6 of their 8 games (even though they are 5-1 in those games) so they'll need the head start.
Prediction: Dr. Phillips 35 Freedom 31
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