By Gene Nardi
The Seminole Ridge High School varsity football squad defeated Royal Palm Beach High School 17-14 to take the “Best of the West” trophy Friday, Nov. 9 at the Wildcats’ home.
Royal Palm Beach was eliminated from post-season play the previous week, falling to second-ranked Dwyer in a district match-up. This was their last regular-season game. Third-ranked Seminole Ridge clinched the district defeating Jupiter last week 35-0, and will host Park Vista this week in a state playoff regional quarterfinal game.
The Hawks put together a 12-play drive, finishing with a Derek Falk 23-yard field goal to take the early lead 3-0. Royal Palm Beach quarterback Ant McGrew gave the Wildcats a 7-3 lead after he capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. It was to be the only lead of the night for the Wildcats. The Hawks responded on the next possession with an 11-play drive that chipped away nearly seven minutes off the game clock. Hawk running back Elie Turene scored on a 6-yard run, and Falk’s point-after kick gave Seminole Ridge a 10-7 lead to close out the first half.
The third quarter consisted of a tug-of-war for possession between the rival teams, but punts and a Wildcat fumble highlighted the period. Early in the fourth quarter, the Hawks started from their 10 yard line, and absorbed almost 10 minutes from the clock driving 90 yards in 16 plays. Turene scored his second of the night from 3 yards out, extending the Seminole Ridge lead to 17-7 with a little more than two minutes left to play.
The Wildcats marched down the field, with the aid of a couple of Seminole Ridge penalties to keep their drive alive. Royal Palm Beach settled on the Hawk 3 yard line with only 31 seconds remaining. McGrew found running back Zeke Edmunds for a 3-yard touchdown catch. Tyler Bugeja’s point-after closed the Hawk lead to 17-14.
The Wildcat onside kick was unsuccessful, and the clock ran out with the final score 17-14 and the Hawks taking home the “Best of the West” trophy.
Seminole Ridge sustained 51 rushing attempts for 182 yards, and Turene is credited with two scores. The Hawk defense held the Wildcats to just 43 yards rushing. McGrew was 14 of 31 for 156 yards and one touchdown, and Edmunds is credited with a score.
Seminole Ridge will host Park Vista in the regional quarterfinals of the state playoffs Friday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. The two teams met earlier in the season at Callery-Judge Stadium, where the Cobras defeated the Hawks 21-7.
Above: Hawk running back Silas Spearman finds running room against the RPB defense.