Dwyer tops Glades Central 30-9 for first victory over Raiders
Friday, August 31, 2012
by Jeff Greer
Glades Central hooted and hollered as it warmed up, but it just didn't feel like the same old, six-time state champion Raiders, a team known for its intimidating size and speed.
That early feeling matched the performance Friday night, as Dwyer, which hadn't beaten Glades Central in its first six tries, pulled away late to a dominant 30-9 win in a contest more anticipated for the school names on the jerseys than the evenness on the field.
This is supposed to be a bit of a drop-off year for Central, which graduated four offensive linemen and a crew of Division I-level athletes. Dwyer is supposed to be a state-title contender. But there still remained hope for a close, exciting game between the two powerhouses, something that's happened for local football fans the past few meetings.
Instead, fans got a penalty-filled game that took more than three hours to finish. Even in its win, Dwyer committed 25 penalties for 149 yards and two turnovers.
"I feel awful," Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said. "Our team played awful. We're certainly not going to beat teams who are just as good as us when we play like that."
But Dwyer did do a lot right, particularly whenever Ezra Saffold had the ball. Saffold, a junior receiver often overshadowed by speedsters Johnnie Dixon and Clint Stephens, was sterling, catching four passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
And while he was a bit shaky, senior quarterback Clay Meister made his debut as the Panthers' full-time starting quarterback, apparently edging out junior Rob Nittolo for the job - for this week. Meister was 6-of-14 passing for 83 yards and a touchdown, running for two more scores, while Nittolo threw for a 38-yard touchdown to Saffold on his only pass of the game.
"(Meister) did some good things, and he also missed some throws," Daniels said. "We'll evaluate it."
Dwyer's defensive line, for all the penalties it racked up, still overwhelmed Glades Central's enough to stunt two long Raider drives, forcing Glades Central to settle for field-goal attempts. The Panthers tallied six sacks, and kept Glades Central to minus-18 yards of rushing.
Central mustered a few threatening drives, but blocking failed Central in each critical moment, including its second field-goal try, which was blocked. The Raiders' only touchdown, a 57-yard pass from Abrams to Ferdinand, did its job, putting a scare into Dwyer, but Glades Central ran out of gas.
It's the fourth consecutive loss for Glades Central dating back to last fall's playoff against Miami Norland. Glades Central has scored 18 points in its three games in the 2012 calendar year.
"No excuses," Glades Central coach Roosevelt Blackmon said. "We have to turn it around. We have to find a way to win. We're young but have to get better."
Dwyers quarterback Clay Meister completes a touchdown pass to Ezra Saffold at the end of the second quarter.