BY GENE NARDI
The Royal Palm Beach High School football team traveled to meet William T. Dwyer High School in a key District 13-7A match-up on Thursday, Oct. 2, and fell 47-24 to the defending Class 7A state champions.
Royal Palm Beach entered the contest as the county’s No. 3 team, while Dwyer held the No. 4 position. The Wildcats had also brought their unbeaten (4-0, 1-0) record into the arena to defend, but there was more than that at stake. Bragging rights as the district’s top dog hung in the balance.
Four of the county’s top 10 positions are occupied by teams from this district, with West Boca at No. 7 and Atlantic at No. 10.
The game was a definite tale of two halves. Royal Palm Beach’s rushing attack could not be stopped, as they piled up an impressive 188 yards. Wildcat quarterback Toddy Centeio also contributed by throwing two first-half touchdowns to give Royal Palm Beach the edge 17-13 at the half.
It appeared the Wildcats were in control and would maintain their unblemished record for another week, but the Panthers had different plans.
In the second half, Royal Palm Beach could not contain the powerful Dwyer offense, led by quarterback Daniel Parr, as he threw for 335 yards and four touchdowns to throttle the Panthers past the Wildcats. Three second-half fumbles also didn’t help the cause for Royal Palm Beach.
Dwyer managed back-to-back scores to take a 26-17 lead in the third quarter. Royal Palm Beach running back Shamar Jackson then gave the Wildcats a breath of life when he scampered 48 yards for a score. Devin Wallace’s kick closed the gap on the Dwyer lead 26-24.
But that was it for the Wildcats for the rest of the night. They could not summon the power from earlier in the contest. Dwyer was able to capitalize on Wildcat turnovers and extend the lead, putting it out of reach for the Wildcat squad.
Dwyer’s offense would tally an additional 21 points to walk away with the 47-24 win and hand Royal Palm Beach its first loss of the season. Jackson is credited with 130 yards on 13 carries and a score. Running back Charles Perry tallied 113 yards. Centeio was seven of 15 for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Receivers Marlon Eugene and Derick Python both recorded scores, while Wallace had a 42-yard field goal.
Royal Palm Beach will host district rival Atlantic High School in another crucial game Friday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Royal Palm Beach linebacker Marlon Eugene sacks Dwyer quarterback Daniel Parr.