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PREVIEW: Dillard vs. Blanche Ely (FL)

November 7, 2012

The 4-5 Dillard Panthers will play the 5-5 Mighty Tigers of Blanche Ely in this year’s “Soul Bowl” at Lockhart Stadium. These teams have met off and on since 1962, but the game was not coined the “Soul Bowl” until the 1983 season. Since then it has been a tight race in the series, the Tigers currently lead it 20-19-1 and have won three straight against the Panthers.

The Blanche Ely Mighty Tigers went 7-4 in 2011 and made it to the regional quarterfinals before losing to Dwyer. The Tigers are 5-5 this season so far and have been eliminated from playoff contention, but don’t let that fool you to believe they are done fighting this season. A “Soul Bowl” win can give some success to the Tiger’s season by giving them, not only bragging rights for another year, but extend their one game lead in the series. Nelson Ervin and TyQuan Fields have led the Mighty Tiger’s offense this season. Each quarterback brings a different threat to the offense. The Tigers were on a 4-game losing streak before last weekend’s 54-6 win over Coral Glades. Ervin completed just 6 of 13 passes but 4 of them went for touchdowns. James Butler has led the Tiger’s rushing attack, along with Terrence Blands Jr. The main targets in the passing game have been Jamari Fye, Devante Peete and Edensky Loremues. The big name all year on defense has been Rashard Robinson. Rivals.com has Robinson ranked the 27th best cornerback prospect in the nation. Just like former Tiger Patrick Peterson, Robinson will play his college ball at LSU. Joining Robinson in the secondary are Trevonte McFadden, Delfrey Olige Jr. and Jhani Ballard. Adrian Miller and Rashard Marshall will lead the linebackers.

The Dillard Panthers have not had a winning season since they last made the playoffs in 2008. This includes last season’s 3-6 record. This year the Panthers are under .500 at 4-5 but have already clinched a playoff spot. By defeating Hallandale and Cardinal Gibbons in consecutive quarters, the Panthers have secured a 2nd place finish in District 15-5A and a spot in the playoffs. The team has been led on offense by first year quarterback Lee Martin. The rushing attack has been headed by the elusive Dre’sean Nelson with Eddie Roberts seeing some action as well at the tailback position. Dennis Turner and LaDarion McBride have been the leading receivers all season. Josh Williams has been the leader on defense at middle linebacker. The Panthers will play the defending state champs Miami Norland in the regional quarterfinals of the playoffs on November 16th.

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