BY GENE NARDI
On Thursday, Sept. 10, the Royal Palm Beach High School varsity football squad traveled to the Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach for a non-district game, and lost to the Thunderwolves 41-6.
The Wildcats knew they would have their hands full on the night trying to contain the Oxbridge running attack, led by Travis Homer.
Royal Palm Beach (0-3) stalled in its first possession to open the contest and turned up some solid defense to hold the Thunderwolves on a fourth-and-short. The Wildcats continued to struggle in the first quarter offensively, due in part to a quick Oxbridge defense.
After going down early 7-0 from a 2-yard touchdown run by Homer, the Wildcats orchestrated a drive of their own but stalled in midfield. A failed punt fake turned ugly for the Wildcats when the pass was intercepted and nearly run back for a score. Homer struck again for the Thunderwolves to convert the Royal Palm Beach miscue into another touchdown and extend the Oxbridge lead to 14-0 by the end of the first quarter.
Going into the second quarter, Royal Palm Beach’s defense appeared to defend well against the Oxbridge passing game. Devonte Gillins came up big with an interception. The turnover was the break the Wildcats needed. Again, Royal Palm Beach sustained a drive, but a miscue stalled the effort. Receivers Adarius Dent and Hilton McClain came through for the Wildcats, giving them opportunities deep in the Thunderwolves’ red zone twice, but mistakes plagued the offense through the night. Oxbridge scored twice more in the second quarter and held on to a 28-0 halftime lead.
The second half introduced more penalties and miscues early on for the Royal Palm Beach squad, but the team weathered through the mishaps and a big defensive stand seemed to spark the team, when Oxbridge attempted to convert on a fourth-and-four from their own 42-yard line. The insult gave the Wildcats the motivation they needed. Quarterback Josh Carr used Dent and McClain to get to the Thunderwolves’ 5-yard line. Carr ran it in for the score on a keeper to close the margin to 28-6. The point after was no good.
Royal Palm Beach would continue its momentum, holding the Oxbridge offense to a three-and-out. Carr drove the Wildcat offense to the Oxbridge 42-yard line. After moving the chains, Carr fumbled the snap, and an Oxbridge defender scooped up the live ball and darted off 56 yards for a touchdown to give the Thunderwolves a 34-6 lead.
The Wildcats continued to struggle offensively throughout the half, and would surrender one more score. Royal Palm Beach could not shake the miscue jitters on the night, and fell 41-6.
Royal Palm Beach continues to strive for its first victory of the season. On Friday, Sept. 18, the Wildcats enter district play and travel to Forest Hill High School for a 7 p.m. game.
ABOVE: Royal Palm Beach defenders Devonte Gillins, Tremayne Willis and Yonel Simeus close in on Oxbridge running back Travis Homer.