BY GENE NARDI
On Friday, Sept. 30, the Palm Beach Central High School football team hosted West Boca High School in a non-district contest. The Broncos defeated the Bulls 27-18 in front of a homecoming crowd, taking their first win this season.
The Broncos (1-5) put together enough effort on both sides of the ball to collect the victory. The Broncos relied on a bulldozing ground game to lead the way, racking up more than 400 yards rushing.
Running back Anthony Wynds collected 222 of those yards on 21 carries and added two touchdowns. Running back Lakeavious Simmons put in 165 yards on the ground on 18 carries and two scores. The duo has been a thorn for opposing defenses through the season.
West Boca had trouble containing the Bronco run attack the whole first half. Palm Beach Central scored three times in the first half, forcing the Bulls to play catch-up. West Boca was able to close the margin, putting up one touchdown and a field goal to close out the first half, 21-10.
The riddle for the Bulls was how would they solve the Bronco run game. They would not find the answer they searched for, as the Broncos continued to pound the Bulls’ defensive front. When West Boca made the play, it was often down field after a large gain.
Simmons drove in his second touchdown to start the second half, extending the Palm Beach Central lead to 27-10. West Boca found a bit of light when the team sacked Bronco quarterback Nick Atkins in the end zone for a safety, closing the margin to 27-12 in the third quarter. The Bulls were able to capitalize on offense, and chipped away at the Bronco lead 27-18. A deflected pass landed in the hands of the West Boca receiver in the end zone. In desperation, the Bulls attempted to go for a two-point conversion, but fell short. It would be the final score for the Bulls.
The Bronco defense suffocated the West Boca offense, shutting them down on the ground and through the air. “I’m very proud of our defense,” Palm Beach Central coach Tino Ierulli said. “Our secondary was where we had some hiccups, but we tightened it up.”
The Bronco defense continued to roll, dominating the West Boca offense into submission. The solid play gave the Broncos back the ball to run out the clock to seal the homecoming win 27-18.
“Our offensive line struggled a little at first,” Ierulli said. “They picked their heads up, regrouped and they started doing what they were supposed to be doing. I’m very proud of their effort.”
Atkins completed six of 10 passes for 66 yards and added 14 yards rushing.
The win is the Broncos’ first of the season. They pick up a bye week this Friday, then begin a string of district games, hosting Seminole Ridge High School on Friday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.
“Our schedule has made us a better team,” Ierulli said. “I told the kids it’s not how you start but how you finish.”
ABOVE: Palm Beach Central receiver Jeremiah Anderson tries to avoid the tackle as he runs to the outside after a catch.