By GENE NARDI
Palm Beach Central High School’s varsity football squad hosted Boca Raton High School in a district matchup Friday, Sept. 19 and bested the Bobcats by a touchdown, 14-7.
A day of rain provided hazardous conditions for both sides, but that did not seem to deter the Palm Beach Central fans from showing their support. Their team was coming into the game winless at 0-3, and much was at stake. A must-win District 10-8A game was on the line, and the Broncos delivered.
Palm Beach Central (1-3, 1-0) put together a balanced offensive attack with an adept defense to complete the job against Boca Raton (1-3, 0-1).
“The opening part of our schedule was the worst part, but honestly, this win tonight is huge,” first-year head coach TinoIerulli said.
The victory was his first as Broncos head coach.
“At this point, one-and-three means nothing, but one-and-zero in district play means everything,” he added.
The Broncos took advantage of the first of six Bobcat turnovers and converted it into a score when Michael Dean ran the pigskin in from 1 yard out. Nick Petrone’s kick set the Broncos up with a 7-0 lead to end the first half.
The Broncos’ fierce defense forced Boca Raton’s quarterback to hurry out of the pocket, which spiraled the ball into the air and into the hands of Carrington Henderson for the first second-half interception.
Two stellar catches by standout receiver Kemar Downer set up a 42-yard Marvin Piere touchdown run to extend Palm Beach Central’s lead to 14-0 with Petrone’s kick.
“That kid is a stud,” Ierulli said of Piere. “The kid is going to be something special; you’ll be reading about him.”
Boca Raton pushed back on the ensuing drive and punched in a 1-yard score to cut the Broncos’ lead to 14-7.
Robert Billingsley and Cole Edgar would thwart late Bobcat rallies with interceptions of their own to seal the 14-7 victory.
Palm Beach Central will travel to Seminole Ridge High School to play the Hawks on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Palm Beach Central running back Axel Rivera exploits a hole in the Boca Raton defense.