Orlando Dr. Phillips defensive tackle Kenderson Obas gave a little shout-out to his teammates from the past Thursday night after the Panthers knocked off Orlando Evans 31-17 at Bill Spoone Stadium.
The victory kept Dr. Phillips unbeaten at 9-0 and kept the 6-foot-2, 255-pound Obas and his mates moving forward in their progress toward a trip to the Citrus Bowl and the Class 8A state championship game.
"One goal in mind is to win a championship. Not for me. It's not a selfish thing. It's one Panther," said Obas of the team's traditional motto. "This is for the whole team, all seniors, the past seniors ... when Dee Hart and Ha'sean Clinton-Dix was here. This is for them. The game that they lost. This is for us to come back and win a championship for them."
There were a few pieces missing from the 2010 Dr. Phillips team that went 14-1 and wound up runner-up to Miami Central in the 6A state championship game. The Panthers, back then, were one of the best offensive teams you will ever see, packed with explosive players like running back Hart, the U.S. Army National Player of the Year.
The defense wasn't too shabby, either, led by nationally ranked safety Clinton-Dix.
Hart went on to Alabama, as did his good friend Clinton-Dix. Wide Receiver Chris Gallon is at Bowling Green. Offensive lineman Darius Johnson is at Middle Tennessee. Linebacker LaQuentin Smith is at Pitt. Then-junior quarterback Nick Patti is at Boise State. Fellow 2012 grad, linebacker Phillip Amone signed with BYU. You get the picture. There was talent all over.
But that team could have used a little more of a mean streak up front on the defensive line. Not that those guys in 2010 weren't capable. They had Central on the ropes. They just ran out of gas.
What they could have used was a real beast. They call Kenderson Obas 'The Beast.' He could have fit right in on that team.
"He's the leader of the defense, leads the teams with 67 tackles and he's the reason why we're pretty good on defense. He holds down the middle," said Dr. Phillips head coach Rodney Wells on Monday, after Obas was named All-District 10 (Orange and Seminole counties).
"The linebackers and the defensive backs usually have around 100 tackles, but this year, and it's not only Kenderson we have up front, but we also have ... Chadwick Williams, we have Auggie Amone and we have Tadalion Colvin. Those are the four D-linemen who start the game and all those guys are up in the top six in tackles, so the other skill guys can't get as many tackles."
Heading into the Evans game, Obas also had six sacks, 14 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered. Through nine games, the Panthers have allowed just 12 points per game.
Dr. Phillips coaches say Obas will have no problem taking his game to the next level, NCAA Division I-A-style. For now, he says he's not worried about that.
"I have some schools talking to me," Obas said of his early interest from Minnesota, Delaware and Youngstown State, among others. "But that's all I have so far."
As Dr. Phillips rolls along, there will likely be more scouts taking notice. Until then, Obas and the rest of the Panthers are content to trudge forward, in 'Beast' mode, of course.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.