BY GENE NARDI
The Palm Beach Central High School varsity football squad hosted Palm Beach Gardens in a Class 8A regional semifinal game Friday, Nov. 22, falling to the Gators 45-28.
The Broncos (8-4) had defeated the Gators 20-13 just two weeks prior in the team’s regular season finale.
Palm Beach Central looked to make its way into the regional finals game against the winner of Deerfield Beach High School versus Miramar High School game, but were cut short by a relentless Gator offensive attack that had the Bronco defense on the ropes all night.
Offense, however, was not a problem. Both teams racked up impressive stats.
The Broncos struck first when running back Tommy McDonald ran 27 yards for the game’s first score. Jordan Acham’s kick gave the Broncos an early 7-0 lead.
Then the offensive frenzy started. With the game going into the second quarter tied 21-21, it was the Gators that squeezed out a field goal before the end of the first half to hold a 24-21 lead at halftime. The Broncos did attempt a field goal to tie it up, but the kick went wide.
In the second half, Palm Beach Gardens did not let up, holding Palm Beach Central on its first possession, and then capping a 97-yard drive when Tommy Monday ran in for the score from one yard out. The score gave the Gators a 10-point lead.
Palm Beach Central responded quickly with a big 54-yard return by Jhnard Dorsett to give the Broncos good field position. McDonald ran in from three yards out for his third score. Acham’s kick brought the score to 31-28 with the Gators ahead.
The Broncos battled back offensively, but could not find the end zone. Their defense struggled to stop the Gator offense. Palm Beach Gardens would close out the game with a 45-28 victory.
Palm Beach Central racked up 257 yards rushing and 172 yards in the air. McDonald was the work-horse with 24 carries for 188 yards and three touchdowns.
Quarterback Kevin Bramhall recorded a 2-yard touchdown run. Both teams combined for over 900 yards of offense.
The loss ended the Broncos’ season at 8-4. The Gators (8-4) will host Broward County’s Miramar High School (12-0) in the Class 8A regional championship game.
ABOVE: Palm Beach Central defensive lineman James Scroggins tries to bring down Gator quarterback J.P. Caruso.