For Phoebus, it's a matter of finishing business

SportsFootballBill Dee

It was the game Phoebus had been waiting for all year, and it ended with an exclamation point. The Phantoms not only exercised the demons of last year's loss to Stone Bridge in the Group AAA Division 5 playoffs, they did so with stunning dominance in a 38-8 pounding.

In the middle of a post-game celebration at Darling Stadium, Phoebus linebacker LoVante' Battle walked over to head coach Bill Dee and shook hands.

"Hey, Buddy," Dee said, using Battle's nickname as he walked away. "If we don't win the next one, this one means nothing."

Translation: There's more work to do.

The Phoebus-Stone Bridge showdown had all the atmosphere of a state championship game, but it was only the semifinals. Next for the Phantoms is Dinwiddie (12-1), which has the VHSL's all-time leading passer in Adam Morgan, Saturday afternoon at Lane Stadium.

"We've got to win the state championship," Dee said. "These kids are smart enough to realize you have to get ready every week. We talked about playing every snap of every game and make sure we were getting ready for states in the games and practices. And they've done that."

Dinwiddie last got this far in 2000, when it went won 12 games before losing Heritage 45-7 in the Division 5 final. The Generals went 8-51 from 2001-05, but they're 21-3 over the past two seasons.

Dinwiddie began this season with a 14-10 loss to Clover Hill, a Division 6 team that finished 8-2 but did not make the four-team playoffs in the Central Region. But the Generals have won 12 in a row since, including a 42-21 victory over Liberty (Bealeton) in last week's state semifinals.

Dee and his staff are just getting started watching tapes of the Generals, who run a spread offense that is averaging 42 points a game. Morgan has thrown for 3,232 yards and 46 touchdowns this season. Four receivers have at least 33 catches, led by Jerrell White with 51 for 761 yards and Quintaze Jackson with 47 for 789 yards.

Phoebus has seen the spread before. Bethel uses that formation often, and Stone Bridge went to it almost exclusively after falling behind early.

Undoubtedly, one key will be putting pressure on Morgan. In last week's win over Stone Bridge, the Phantoms sacked quarterback Patrick Thompson six times - four by Daquan Romero - and had five interceptions.

"With their speed on defense, we just could not get anything established," Stone Bridge coach Mickey Thompson said. "We were running for our life all day."

Phoebus savored Saturday's win, which was a full year in the making. All season long, the motto had been "Unfinished Business." Now, with one more game to go, the Phantoms have added one more word: "Finish Unfinished Business."

So will there be any problem coming out with that same fire again?

"No problem at all," Romero said Saturday. "Actually, I'm ready right now."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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