BY GENE NARDI
The Seminole Ridge High School football squad traveled to Palm Beach Gardens High School to take on the Gators in a pivotal district match-up on Thursday, Oct. 2, falling short, 28-24.
The Hawks (2-3, 0-1 in District 9-8A) appeared to have early control of the Gators with a 17-7 lead, but it was a second-half rally by the county’s No. 5 team that deflated any chances of a victory for Seminole Ridge. Palm Beach Gardens (4-1, 1-0) outscored the Hawks 21-7 in the second half.
Seminole Ridge shut down the Gator offense early in the game, and Kerrith Whyte got on the scoreboard first for the Hawks with a 32-yard touchdown run. Jacob Curran’s kick put the Hawks up 7-0.
Seminole Ridge quarterback James Parson capped a 13-play, 70-yard second-quarter drive with a 1-yard touchdown run over center to extend the lead. Curran’s kick made it 14-0.
On the Gators’ next play from scrimmage after the ensuing kickoff, Seminole Ridge defensive lineman Patrick Brooks recovered a fumble to set up Curran’s 35-yard field goal that extended the Hawks’ lead to 17-0. Palm Beach Gardens did manage to score near the end of the first half to close the gap to 17-7.
Although Seminole Ridge racked up more than 300 yards of total offense, plus 18 first downs, it was the Gators’ three second-half touchdowns and Seminole Ridge turnovers that haunted the Hawks late in the game.
Palm Beach Gardens running back Tommy Monday drove in a score to bring the Gators within three at 17-14, but the Hawks immediately responded with a Sean Edwards 25-yard touchdown run. Curran’s kick gave the Hawks a 10-point lead at 24-14.
Gator rushing duo Monday and Donnell Perry combined for two more scores to capture their team’s first lead of the game 28-24. Perry’s score came from 4 yards out after the Palm Beach Gardens defense blocked a Seminole Ridge punt.
With minutes left, Parson got the Hawks to the Palm Beach Gardens 25-yard line, but a fourth-down pass fell incomplete, and the contest ended. Turnovers haunted the Hawks.
Whyte had 20 carries for 121 yards, 39 receiving yards and a touchdown. Jordan Tanner had 16 rushes for 60 yards. Edwards had 18 yards on five carries and a score. Receiver Steeve Dante recorded three receptions for 38 yards. Parson is credited with a score. Curran is credited with a 35-yard field goal.
Seminole Ridge will host Santaluces High School on Friday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
ABOVE: Hawk running back Kerrith Whyte turns at the outside for his first-quarter touchdown.