BY GENE NARDI
The Palm Beach Central High School varsity football team hosted district foe John I. Leonard High School on Friday, Oct. 17 and held on to defeat the Lancers 17-7.
The Broncos have made a statement with four straight wins after a slow 0-3 start.
In addition, the Broncos have outscored their opponents in the streak 101-28. Palm Beach Central (4-3, 3-0) currently sits at the top of the district and is in control of its own destiny.
Both teams combined for seven fumbles, but it was Palm Beach Central that capitalized, the first being on the Lancers’ initial possession when the team threw an interception on a third and short play. Bronco kicker Nick Petrone later booted a 37-yard field goal to put the Broncos up 3-0.
Palm Beach Central struck again when quarterback Luis Peguero found receiver Keenan Duggan on a 31-yard touchdown pass. The two-point after failed, and the Broncos ended the first half with a 9-0 lead. The Palm Beach Central defense was able to maintain the first-half shutout, keeping the Lancers out of the end zone.
In the second half, John I. Leonard was able to move the ball at times, despite three fumbles, tallying more than 200 yards on the ground. The Lancers also put up a solid defensive performance on the goal line, but the turnovers proved costly, and the Broncos eventually added to the damage.
Early in the third quarter, running back Kerlvin Elice showed his speed, running 17 yards for a touchdown. Peguero ran in the two-point conversion to extend the Bronco lead to 17-0.
It was all the offense the Broncos would need, as they relied on their defense to carry them to their fourth-straight win. A pivotal goal-line stand by the Bronco defense late in the third quarter proved to be the deciding factor.
The Lancers had attempted to convert on a fourth and goal from the 2-yard line and were denied by the Bronco defense. John I. Leonard did manage a late score, when running back Steven Archelus sprinted 75 yards for a touchdown to close the gap to 17-7.
The win puts the Broncos in a shared top position in District 10-8A with Park Vista High School. Both teams are unbeaten in district play and will meet later in the season. Palm Beach Central must first host Spanish River High School on Friday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Palm Beach Central running back Axel Rivera looks to bounce his run to the outside for a big gain against the Lancers.