BY GENE NARDI Royal Palm Beach High School’s football team hosted Atlantic High School on Friday, Oct. 10 and defeated the Eagles handily, 44-7, in what was a pivotal District 13-7A game for both squads.
Both teams entered the gridiron holding top-10 positions and with only one loss apiece. Both needed a win to remain in contention for a playoff spot, and it was the Wildcats who were able to deliver, providing a rebound victory after a disappointing loss the previous week to district foe William T. Dwyer High School. Royal Palm Beach (5-1, 3-1 in District 13-7A) is now back in the center of the playoff race.
Both teams struggled offensively to sustain attack in the first quarter, but the Wildcats finally capitalized on an Atlantic turnover. Royal Palm Beach’s Shamar Jackson intercepted an Eagle pass and returned the ball 15 yards into midfield. The Wildcats drove to just outside the red zone, then settled for a 31-yard Devin Wallace field goal to take an early 3-0 lead in the second quarter.
Atlantic (5-2, 3-1) was able to respond with a 1-yard touchdown run to take the only lead they would have in the game. The Wildcats immediately fired back when Jackson took off on a 42-yard run for the go-ahead score. Wallace’s kick made it 10-7.
Royal Palm Beach would strike again before the half. Quarterback Toddy Centeio found Derick Python for a 55-yard touchdown pass. Wallace’s kick extended the Wildcat lead 17-7 to close out the half.
The second half belonged to the Wildcats. Royal Palm Beach running backs Charles Perry and Demarcus Holloway combined for four more scores to put the exclamation point on the 44-7 win.
Royal Palm Beach’s defense was equally menacing for the Eagles, as they were unable to put together a consistent offense in the second half.
The Wildcat offense combined for 374 yards. Perry had 107 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns. Jackson is credited with three rushes for 64 yards and a score. Holloway had 44 yards on seven carries and a touchdown. Python had one reception for 55 yards and a score.
Centeio completed seven of 18 passes for 133 yards, with one interception.
Royal Palm Beach hosts Forest Hill High School in another important district game Friday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Quarterback Toddy Centeio throws down field.