BY GENE NARDI
Palm Beach Central High School’s football team is busy training in preparation for the coming fall season.
The Broncos are the three-time District 10-8A champions. However, this year they have moved to District 9-8A — arguably one of the toughest in the county, including reigning champion Wellington High School, along with Seminole Ridge, Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter high schools.
“The first step is to compete in our goal for a state championship, and to win the district,” said head coach TinoIerulli, now in his second year. “We built a schedule to play top-ranked teams, which is going to prepare us for conference play.”
The Broncos are excited about playing in the new district, and with all the local schools playing each other for the first time in years, Ierulli and his squad look forward to competing for local bragging rights.
“When I got here, they all talked about the Wellington Cup, and I never understood why they didn’t keep playing each other,” Ierulli said about having Wellington back on the schedule. “I really wish we had the opportunity to play them last season if we got past Palm Beach Gardens in the playoffs. That would have been a great matchup with the talent we both had. I know both teams are excited to play a great game.”
The Broncos were senior-heavy last year, and lost impact players such as receiver Kemar Downer (Florida Atlantic University), tight end Luis Peguero (University of South Dakota) and receiver Larry Dunnon (Marshall University).
Palm Beach Central has an experienced offensive line returning. Center Kevin Hagerty returns to anchor the line.
Sophomore quarterback Jordan Travis will battle for playing time with senior Savion Harris.
“We’re young in the skilled positions, but we’re experienced,” Ierulli said. “Both kids look real good, and Savion is in a much better position than he was last season. He looks really good right now.”
Sophomore running back Marvin Pierre will lead the ground attack for the Broncos. “He’s an explosive back,” Ierulli said.
Pierre will be the workhorse, and at 185 pounds, he will be tough to contain for opposing defenses.
ZikkOmoruyi returns on the defensive line. At 6 feet and 250 lbs., he will bind up the trenches to close off the run attack.
“Zikk played both ways for us last year,” Ierulli said.
The kicking game suffered a blow with Nick Patrone graduating last year. He is now playing at Capital University in Ohio.
“Our center Kevin Hagerty did some kicking for us last year, and we may have to use him this year,” Ierulli said. “We’re testing a few others out right now.”
The Broncos will travel to American Heritage for a preseason game on Friday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. The team hosts Park Vista High School for the regular season opener on Friday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Quarterback Jordan Travis gets his pass off before being blocked by a rushing defensive lineman during a scrimmage.