BY GENE NARDI
In the start of district play, Royal Palm Beach High School’s varsity football team hosted West Boca High School on Friday, Sept. 19 and slipped by the Bulls 17-7 to remain undefeated (3-0, 1-0 in District 13-7A).
West Boca (3-1, 0-1 in the district), had entered the game also unbeaten. The win avenges the Wildcats’ 2013 loss to the Bulls, which sent Royal Palm Beach home to watch the district playoffs.
After an early struggle to establish control, West Boca struck first from 1 yard out to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Royal Palm Beach’s Shamar Jackson returned the ensuing kick to the West Boca 39-yard line, but the Wildcat offense was unable to convert the stellar run into points.
Damp conditions proved to be hazardous for both sides, as players had trouble handling the ball. However, Royal Palm Beach finally put a drive together. Quarterback Toddy Centeio found Marlon Eugene for a touchdown. Devin Wallace’s point-after kick tied the game 7-7 at the half.
The Wildcats found the rhythm they needed to pull away with 10 second-half points.
Wallace booted a 42-yard field goal to give Royal Palm Beach its first lead of the game at 10-7, and the Wildcats successfully defended their lead for the remainder of the game.
Centeio orchestrated another scoring drive in the fourth quarter when he connected with Jackson on a 45-yard touchdown pass. Wallace’s kick gave the Wildcats the 17-7 win.
Royal Palm Beach’s defense came up tough in the second half to limit the Bulls to just 101 total yards. Wildcat defenders also forced two turnovers. Centeio completed 12 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
The Wildcats will travel to Lake Worth High School to play the Trojans on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Royal Palm Beach quarterback Toddy Centeio keeps the ball from West Boca pursuers and runs up the middle.