The Palm Beach Central High School varsity football team took down Palm Beach Gardens High School 20-13 in Wellington on Friday, Nov. 8.
Despite rain and slippery field conditions, the Broncos made plays when it counted to command the lead for much of the game. The Palm Beach Central defense shut down Palm Beach Gardens’ passing game, forcing them to run the ball and give up yards.
The match was a battle for both teams, who at times struggled to find their footing. The first quarter saw the Broncos fighting to make something happen, but losing opportunities to turnovers or being forced to punt the ball.
It wasn’t until late in the first quarter, with a little over three minutes on the clock, that the Broncos managed to score. Runs by Tommy McDonald pushed the Broncos into Gator territory, and kicker Jordan Acham nailed a 21-yard field goal to put the Broncos on the board 3-0.
The celebration was short lived. Gator runningback A.J. Shipman returned the ensuing kick return more than 80 yards for a touchdown, giving Gardens a 6-3 lead after a failed two-point conversion attempt.
But Palm Beach Central wasn’t about to give up. Quarterback Kevin Bramhall threw the ball to connect with Rudolph St. Germain, who ran 79 yards for a touchdown to retake the lead. Acham’s extra-point kick made the score 10-6 going into the second quarter.
The second quarter was scoreless, with both teams unable to cash in on opportunities to score. Palm Beach Central went into halftime leading 10-6.
Midway through the third quarter, the Broncos picked up a fumble that set them up near the endzone. But Palm Beach Central couldn’t capitalize on their position and turned the ball over on downs near the 10 yard line. In the end, however, it worked out in the Broncos’ favor. First, the Palm Beach Central defense team tackled the Gator quarterback to back them up a few yards. On the next play, the Gators fumbled the hike, and the ball bounced into the endzone, scoring a safety for the Broncos. With 4:46 left in the third quarter, the score was 12-6.
Palm Beach Central scored for the final time with just over five minutes left in the game on a run by McDonald. The Broncos secured a two-point conversion to make the score 20-6.
But the Gators weren’t going down without a fight. Palm Beach Gardens picked up the kick return on the next play and ran 80 yards untouched for a touchdown to make the score 20-13 with 5:37 left on the clock. Though both teams struggled to make gains, the Palm Beach Central defense held the Gators back to secure the win.
The Broncos host Seminole Ridge High School on Friday, Nov. 15 in the Class 8A playoffs at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Tommy McDonald looks for an opening in the Gator defense.