BY GENE NARDI
The Palm Beach Central High School Bronco football squad hosted the fourth-ranked Seminole Ridge High School Hawks (3-1) in a much anticipated match-up Friday, Sept. 27, but it was the Broncos that surprised in a dominating 37-13 win.
Palm Beach Central entered the contest 1-3 and recently dropped out the top ten because of a disappointing upset loss to Boca Raton High School. The Broncos, desperate for a win, came out and delivered.
From the opening kickoff, things rapidly unraveled for the Hawks. Palm Beach Central executed an on-side opening kick that appeared to be corralled in easily by Seminole Ridge’s Andrew Gomez. Gomez was hit hard by Jhnard Dorestt, and Bronco Kerlvin Elice recovered on the Seminole Ridge 44 yard line.
The Broncos wasted no time in striking while the iron was hot. Quarterback Kemar Downer threw a 41-yard pass to Rudolph St. Germain to the Seminole Ridge 8 yard line. The two connected again on the next play for an 8-yard touchdown. Jordan Acham’s point after gave the Broncos an early 7-0 lead.
The Hawks the fumbled on a third and short inside their own 30, and again turned the ball over to the Broncos. Downer again connected with St. Germain on a 28-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead. Acham’s point after made it 14-0. During the play, it appeared Downer’s pass was going to be intercepted, but the ball zipped through the grasp of the Seminole Ridge defender, tipped by another, only to drop into the hands of St. Germain for the score.
Seminole Ridge could not get anything going on offense, while the Broncos had everything going right. Any momentum the Hawks gained was stifled. Downer ran a keeper to the outside for a 22-yard touchdown, giving the Broncos a convincing 20-0 lead. “This is a game of momentum, and we got momentum early, but we knew it wasn’t over because Seminole Ridge always fights back,” Palm Beach Central coach Rod Harris said.
Stand-out Hawk running back E.J. Elien went down early in the second quarter, and returned throughout, but never became a factor. The Broncos threw another jab with a 37-yard field goal at the half for a 23-0 lead.
Seminole Ridge rallied back with some solid defense in the second half, finally pushing back on offense.
Needing to come up big on fourth and goal at the Palm Beach Central five, Hawk running back Kerrith Whyte ran in for the score to make it 23-7. At another Hawk fourth and seven situation, Zach DeCosta connected for the first down. The Hawks clawed back and closed the gap to 23-13 on Clayton Williams’ 1-yard run.
But the Broncos took the fight out of the Hawks when Bronco running back Tommy McDonald scored from 11 and 20 yards out to bring in the 37-13 win. Downer and McDonald combined for 272 yards rushing and three touchdowns. “I do whatever I can to help my team,” Downer said.
St. Germain reeled in two touchdown catches. The Hawks did manage 146 yards on the ground for the night.
“Anytime we got momentum, we got hit with something,” SRHS coach Scott Barnwell said. “We did not play as the team we are, but that will never happen again. I guarantee you that.”
Both teams have district games on Friday, Oct. 4. Seminole Ridge will host Palm Beach Gardens at 7:30 p.m., while Palm Beach Central hosts Santaluces for a 7 p.m. game.
ABOVE: Bronco receiver Rudolph St. Germain brings in the first score of the game.