Atlantic shocks second-ranked Dwyer
Thursday, October 18, 2012
by Matt Porter
Atlantic's Brisly Estime breaks away from a tackle attempted by Dwyer's Julian Bembry during the Eagles' 28-12 win Thursday night. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
With a minute left, Atlantic's cheerleaders debuted a rousing new cheer.
"We are winning, yes we are," they sang to the tune of Frere Jacques as a few Eagles players danced and sang along.
"Look up at the scoreboard, ha ha ha," the chant concluded.
But the result was no laughing matter for Dwyer: a 28-12 Atlantic upset of the second-ranked, previously unbeaten Panthers on their homecoming night. The Eagles (4-2, 2-1 District 13-7A) held Dwyer (6-1, 3-1) to 227 yards of total offense, 187 of which came on rushes by junior Alonso Smith, who scored two touchdowns.
Atlantic, usually known as being ultra-talented but maddeningly inconsistent, picked a fine time to put together its best effort of the season. The Eagles got two first-half touchdowns from senior Brisly Estime, mixed in plenty of the passing game, and rode an intense defense.
"See what happens when you put your teammates first?" Atlantic coach Chris Bean said to his team after he dried off from an ice-water bath. "W's, baby."
"We got outcoached," Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said. "Our players needed this. Our coaches needed this."
Before the first snap, Dwyer coaches took one look at Atlantic's setup and shouted to their defense.
"Watch the double pass," they warned repeatedly.
The ball was snapped. Sure enough, senior Jay Mentecky lateraled to junior Thomas Owens, who flung it downfield. It fell incomplete.
But Dwyer didn't have the advantage for long.
Thanks mostly to Estime, Atlantic led 21-6 at halftime in a game that started 45 minutes late because of lightning and was delayed for another 45 minutes just before halftime.
Estime, the Eagles' 5-foot-9, return man and receiver, put Atlantic up 7-0 with a 65-yard punt return less than three minutes into the first quarter. He dropped a wet ball but picked it up and outgunned Dwyer's coverage to the end zone.
Estime's touchdown was made possible by Atlantic's defense, which forced three punts, had two sacks, a quarterback hit, a pass breakup, and two tackles for loss through Dwyer's first three series.
They also had an interception: senior Marcus Gaskin intercepted Dwyer senior Clay Meister, thwarting a golden Dwyer opportunity. With only 10 Atlantic players covering a kickoff, Johnnie Dixon returned the ball 72 yards to the Atlantic 8.
Dwyer made good after a shanked punt set up the Panthers at the Atlantic 20 to start the second quarter. Junior running back Alonzo Smith took it 20 yards for a touchdown on the first play.
But with 8:34 remaining in the half, Estime caught a pass from junior Thomas Owens, made a quick pirouette and ran 24 yards to the end zone to make it 14-6.
Estime made a leaping grab and turned it into a 76-yard catch-and-run to set up a 14-yard touchdown catch by junior Adly Enoicy from Owens to make it 21-6. The game was delayed immediately after senior Nick Privitera kicked the extra point on Enoicy's touchdown grab.
Atlantic took the biggest momentum surge of its season into the locker room, while Dwyer, ranked 25th in the nation and untested by any team this season, searched for answers.
The teams resumed at 9:45 p.m., and on the first play, Dwyer junior Alonso Smith rumbled 55 yards. But Estime saved a touchdown with a tackle from behind.
Minutes later, Tevin Spells took an inside handoff 75 yards for a touchdown to push the Eagles' lead to 28-6.
A 43-yard touchdown sprint by Smith pulled Dwyer within 28-12 in the third quarter, but the Panthers would get no closer.