The Rams hammered Dr. Phillips High 33-7 in the regional finals
On Nov. 24, 2017, the Riverview High football team lost 28-19 in the regional finals to Dr. Phillips High at the Ram Bowl.
It was the second-consecutive season-ending loss to the Panther for the Rams, and it was filled with missed opportunities on offense. The Panthers jumped on the Rams early and it was too much for Riverview to overcome. The Panthers would eventually win the Class 8A state title.
On Nov. 24, 2018, the Rams (10-3) finally got revenge, beating the Panthers (7-6) 33-7 and advancing to the state semifinals for the first time since 2004.
At first, the game seemed like it might be a repeat of last season. Dr. Phillips scored on its first possession, draining almost half of the first quarter while doing so, and Riverview punted on its first chance. But things quickly changed when Riverview defensive back Amari Pitts intercepted a Panthers pass and scampered to the end zone to tie the game.
The Rams defense wasn't done creating turnovers. Sophomore linebacker Daevon Lebron added an interception in the second quarter, which led to a field goal from junior kicker Dorian Hall. (Hall made all four of his attempted field goals on the night.) Sophomore Chuck Brantley had an interception in the third quarter, and a few plays later senior running back Ali Boyce pounded a touchdown in from 18 yards. Sophomore defensive lineman Sincere Littles recovered a fumble deep in Panthers territory late in the fourth quarter, leading to Boyce's second touchdown run.
Boyce finished with 136 rushing yards.
Rams coach Josh Smithers said he was proud of the way his defense executed, and that building the lead off Hall's field goals forced Dr. Phillips to play an offensive style the Panthers were not comfortable running, giving the Rams the advantage. Even once the Rams offense figured out its red zone frustrations in the second half, the defense remained stout.
Riverview will travel to Jacksonville next Friday, Nov. 30, to play Mandarin High (9-4) at 7:30 p.m. Mandarin beat Wekiva High (10-2), the top-ranked team in class 8A per MaxPreps, 19-7 to advance to the state semifinals.
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