By Gene Nardi
The Seminole Ridge High School varsity football team held its season opener against Park Vista on Friday, Sept. 7 at Callery-Judge Stadium, with the third-ranked Hawks falling to the seventh-ranked Cobras 21-7.
The Hawks’ original season opener scheduled against cross-town rival Palm Beach Central was cancelled due to flooding caused by Tropical Storm Isaac. With limited practices over the past week and a half, the Hawks knew they had their work cut out for them to avoid a repeat of last year, which saw Park Vista defeat Seminole Ridge 14-13.
The Hawks were held on their first set of downs to open the game, but Park Vista on their first play from scrimmage opened up with a pass that was picked off by Hawk defensive back Issac Esson. The interception eventually set up a 42-yard field goal attempt by Hawk kicker Derek Falk, which sailed wide left. The Cobras struggled early against the tough Hawk defense.
Midway through the second quarter, Seminole Ridge drew first blood when running back Silas Spearman ran 4 yards up the middle to drive in the score. Falk’s point-after attempt gave the Hawks an early 7-0 lead after a 40-yard, six-play drive. Cobra quarterback Quad Martin threw his second interception of the game in the second quarter to Hawk defensive back Omar Pierre-Louis, giving the Hawks another opportunity to extend their lead. But Park Vista’s defense was able to hold off the Hawks.
It wasn’t until late in the second quarter that the Cobras were able to answer back. With only 1:36 remaining on the clock, Park Vista tied the score at 7 with a 45-yard touchdown pass. As the first half counted down, Hawk quarterback Zach DeCosta threw his first interception of the game at the Park Vista 10 yard line. The interception came close to being returned for a score, but Seminole Ridge finally brought down the ball carrier at the Hawk 12 yard line. With 23 seconds left on the clock, the Cobras needed only two plays to take the 14-7 halftime lead with a short pass into the end zone.
The second half started slowly for both squads, as they struggled to find a groove. DeCosta threw his second interception of the game, which was returned 50 yards for the Cobras’ third and final score, extending their lead 21-7.
Seminole Ridge showed signs of life offensively on the ground when running back E.J. Elien jetted off for a big 33-yard gain on their first play after the kickoff.
As time ticked away on the clock, the Hawks attempted to put the ball in the air, but DeCosta threw his third interception of the game. The Hawks battled mostly on defense to close out the last minutes of the game and were unable to close the gap, ending the game at 21-7. Spearman had 13 carries for a total of 69 yards.
Seminole Ridge is 0-1 on the season and will host Palm Beach County powerhouse Dwyer on Friday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.
Above: SRHS running back Silas Spearman runs for a big gain through Park Vista’s Dalton Barkman.