PANAMA CITY — In case some fans were confused Friday night at Tommy Oliver Stadium, it’s called d-e-f-e-n-s-e.
A phase of football all but in hibernation here the past two months came to life in Mosley’s 21-0 win over Bay in District 1-5A football.
The result not only secured the county championship for the Dolphins (5-4, 4-2), it gave them a winning district record and chance for a winning season when they conclude next Thursday against Walton.
Bay (5-5, 2-4) had a three-game winning streak snapped in its season finale.
Regular fullback Christian Childree was pressed into service as the starting tailback in Ryan Rogers’ absence and rushed for 215 yards and two touchdowns to boost Mosley.
But don’t be misled. The night belonged to the Dolphins’ defense every bit as much, if not more.
“We’ve been a work in progress, but we’ve actually played good defense the last three ballgames,” Mosley coach Jeremy Brown said after his ballclub suddenly has produced six consecutive shutout quarters. And that from a unit that surrendered 31 points or more in six games prior to Friday.
“Our defensive line played a great and we didn’t give up the big play. We didn’t feel like Bay could line up against us and drive the ball.”
The Dolphins held the Tornadoes to 13 total yards and two first downs in the first half. That total was limited in large part by sacks from Donovan McCabe and Banton Price, and a key stop by Garret Calhoun on a reverse that led to Trevin Taylor’s fumble recovery, the lone turnover of the game.
It didn’t get much easier for the Tornadoes in the second half. They didn’t cross midfield until late in the third quarter, and were helped by a roughing-the-passer penalty in doing so.
Tailback Raekwon Webb finally started to get loose for some tough yardage and Bay reached Mosley’s 21. Linebacker Zach Warnick blitzed through to sack Bay quarterback Xavier Longerbeam on second down, Price got the second of three sacks on third down and a fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
That pretty much was it for Bay, which wound up with 46 total yards. The rest of the night belonged to Childree, who rushed 25 times for 215 yards despite sitting out the entire third quarter.
“I hurt my neck, a stinger I guess,” Childree said. “Tonight was a game I dreamed about for a long time, but it’s kind of sad me being a senior and this being my last county game.
“I knew it would be physical. It was a dog-eat-dog game, but our defense really stepped it up. Early on I felt like we (offense) were not doing our part.”
That ended midway through the second quarter when Mosley took over on its 16. Childree took over from there.
He rushed six consecutive times, the key play a 56-yard sprint down the home sideline, as the Dolphins reached the 1. Quarterback Dillon Brown sneaked over and Mosley led 6-0 after Bay noseguard Daryl Wilson smothered the extra-point attempt.
Childree said he became dizzy after lowering his head on a 7-yard run prior to his long sprint into Bay territory.
Bay’s defense also was staunch, defensive end Keith McNeil with a number of key plays and two sacks. The Dolphins were held well under their average to 274 total yards. It’s just that Bay didn’t have an answer for Childree.
Mosley scored on a four-play drive following Childree re-entering the game with 11:03 remaining. With the ball at midfield, he burst into the secondary, broke a tackle at the 40 and went the distance.
His final touchdown came with just 10.4 seconds remaining.
The win was Mosley’s seventh straight in a series it leads 24-13. It also was the Dolphins’ third straight win in a late-season surge.