Palm Beach Central High School’s varsity football team has increased its win total each of the last three seasons. In April, for the first time, the team saw an alumnus selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The Bronco program is as prominent as it has ever been.
On Friday, May 24, the team will play its annual spring game, capping the brief spring season and putting the Broncos on a path toward next year. The Broncos will take on New Smyrna Beach High School at home at 7 p.m.
Palm Beach Central head coach Rod Harris said spring practice and preparation for the game has been great. The team has been implementing its system, teaching younger players the program’s expectations, and spending time in the weight room. “Trying to get stronger for our real season in August,” Harris said.
Harris has been impressed by the team’s leaders, as well as players trying to make a name for themselves. Since May 1, the team has practiced outdoors Monday through Friday.
The prominent attraction on the Palm Beach Central roster is left tackle Kc McDermott. The rising senior is one of the top linemen in the county and is signed to play at the University of Miami.
Harris pointed to McDermott, as well as running backs Kamar Downer and Thomas McDonald, as offensive players who have stood out in spring practices. Harris also said receiver Andrew Prince is having the best spring of anyone on the team.
Defensively, strong safety/linebacker Jhnard Dorsett and Josh Gutierrez have made positive impressions.
“We’ve seen some younger guys really stepping up, some guys who weren’t on varsity last year have done a tremendous job,” Harris said.
The Broncos have mostly focused spring practice on their own game plan, rather than specific preparation for the New Smyrna game. But Harris did say the Broncos do know the success of the New Smyrna program and the skill set of quarterback Marcus Johnson and running back D’Cota Dixon.
Before taking on such a talented team, Harris said the Broncos still need to correct some offensive false starts and defensive tackling.
McDermott said he expects the team to play as hard as it can on Friday, and he definitely wants to win. The left tackle, who will join brother Shane as a Hurricanes offensive lineman and will be the third McDermott brother to play Division-1 football, will be a major part of it.
“He’s really self-motivated, hardworking and dedicated, not just to his craft, but to the program,” Harris said. “He’ll be the last McDermott to wear 52 in the program. We will not give that out again.”
The increasing success of the Palm Beach Central program has Kc McDermott thinking one thing before he heads off the Miami. He wants to win a state championship. He’ll put aside college distractions and pressure to achieve that goal.
“To me it’s simple,” McDermott said. “I put my team first before any of that. I put that first before focusing on Miami or college in general.”
Harris said that expectations are high. “But we have a long way to go ’til we get to the final product,” he said. “I’d like to make it four straight years where we have a better record and go a little further in the playoffs. The ultimate goal is to win a state championship. We’re a lot closer now than we were five years ago.”
ABOVE: Palm Beach Central High School head coach Rod Harris looks on as players practice for this week’s spring game. PHOTO BY LAUREN ALSINA