BY GENE NARDI
Royal Palm Beach High School’s flag football team hosted rival Wellington High School Wednesday, April 15 and, despite a late rally in the fourth quarter, fell short 20-14 in the non-district contest.
The first quarter ended scoreless, but the Wildcats (2-5) mounted the earliest threat in the second quarter. Royal Palm Beach put a solid drive together, getting into the red zone, but the Wolverine defense stood strong, denying the Wildcats a score.
The Wolverines (2-5) responded with a drive of their own, marching down the field. Elonge Luma took a pitch to the far side and ran 18 yards into the end zone for the touchdown. Wellington’s point after was no good, giving them a 6-0 lead.
The Wolverines struck again, capping a 57-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown. Quarterback Allison Goolsby scrambled from an aggressive Wildcat rush, then sprinted off for the end zone. The Wolverine point after was good to give Wellington a 13-0 halftime lead.
Royal Palm Beach continued to struggle trying to contain Goolsby, who took the Wellington offense 60 yards down the field, finding Luma three times on the drive and eventually connecting for her second score of the game. The touchdown gave Wellington a comfortable 20-0 lead going into the fourth quarter.
A pair of interceptions gave the Wildcats the second life they needed to rally. Nathalee Mayo corralled the first interception, which led to Royal Palm Beach’s first score. Tori Bailey caught a short pass for the Wildcats to cut into the Wellington lead, making it 20-7.
Madison Lloyd grabbed the second interception, and the Wildcats continued to claw back. Bailey struck again with a 15-yard touchdown pass to bring the Wildcats within six at 20-14.
Wellington’s offense put together a drive to give them some breathing room but could not add to their tally. The Wolverines had to rely on their defense to fight off the late Wildcat fury.
Royal Palm Beach drove inside the Wellington 40-yard line, but an incomplete pass as time ran out ended any chances of a Wildcat comeback victory, and the Wolverines held on to win 20-14.
Luma is credited with two touchdowns. Bailey also scored twice for the Wildcats.
ABOVE: Wellington’s Jasmine Williams breaks up a pass play to Royal Palm Beach’s Laura Sanchez.