Parr's play at quarterback hopeful sign for Dwyer
Thursday, November 08, 2012
by Matt Porter
Daniel Parr's final pass Thursday night was intercepted. American Heritage safety Xavier Swinton grabbed it, a 50-yard Hail Mary to the end zone with five seconds remaining, keeping the top-ranked Stallions undefeated with a 13-7 victory.
But Parr, Dwyer High School's soft-spoken sophomore, nearly spoiled their party. He went 8-of-14 for 71 yards and a touchdown in the second half, bailing out the Panthers' struggling offense.
Dwyer's running game struggled against Heritage, putting up 52 yards on 29 carries. The Stallions' defense gave them a 10-0 lead early in the third quarter, when sophomore Rondarian Bell recovered a fumble for a touchdown after Dwyer junior starter Robbie Nittolo (6-of-12, 80 yards, INT) was sacked inside the 5.
With another quarterback, senior Clay Meister, playing mostly defense, Dwyer sent out Parr.
He had the credentials. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder led Dwyer's junior varsity (6-0) to its first undefeated season and threw 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions in two years on JV. He saw brief action this season against Jupiter but hadn't seen a team like Heritage, the nationally ranked Class 3A power.
And he delivered. An 11-yard carry from senior Cortney Lowery got Dwyer to the 40. Parr hit sure-handed junior Clint Stephens for a 12-yard gain. On second-and-10, another strike, 14 yards to Stephens.
Then nine yards to Stephens. After the Stallions stopped Lowery for a loss, Parr hit shifty junior Ezra Saffold for 13, all the way to the Heritage 3.
Parr dropped back. He rolled left and looked outside, then whipped a pass across his body to Stephens in the middle of the end zone.
Touchdown. 10-7 ballgame.
"You wonder what a 10th grader's nerves are going to be like," said Dwyer assistant Danny Embick, the Panthers' JV coach and a former FAU quarterback. "He did enough to show he could handle it."
Parr's finest moment came on fourth-and-10 with 1:46 remaining with Heritage up 13-7.
Trips right. Junior Johnnie Dixon sprinted down the sideline. Saffold ran a dig inside. Stephens ran a crossing route 15 yards deep. Parr hit Stephens in double coverage for 22 yards and a first down.
He drove the Panthers to the 26, but pressure from the Stallions forced him to ground the ball intentionally with 9 seconds left. The end-zone interception ended it.
And despite the loss, Dwyer has a first-round playoff game to look forward to. And plenty of hope.