BY GENE NARDI
The fall season is almost here, and expectations are extremely high at the Palm Beach Central High School football camp.
Last season, the Broncos ended with a disappointing 2-8 record but finished on a high note, upsetting rival Royal Palm Beach High School in the last game of the season.
Despite a 17-7 loss to Boynton Beach High School in the spring, the former three-time district champions had several positive things to look at, according to third-year coach Tino Ierulli.
“We were young in the secondary going into the spring game and they passed on us, even though we only gave up 37 yards rushing,” Ierulli said. “We have three transfers that were starters and impact players to give us that experience, and we’re very excited.”
With that said, Ierulli and his squad boast that many will be surprised this season when the Broncos take the field. Senior team captains Michael Garofalo (an Air Force commit) and Ben Panitz will be leading the charge. Garofalo is the heart and soul of the offensive line, according to Ierulli.
“He’s high in academics and dominant on the field, which makes a great fit for him to be a leader,” Ierulli said. “Both Mikey and Ben are both smart kids, and that’s what we try to build here at Palm Beach Central, student-athletes.”
Garofalo will anchor the offensive line at left tackle, and Panitz will lead the defense at outside linebacker for the Broncos. Panitz is also starting to draw attention from colleges.
The Broncos have two battling for the quarterback position, both transfers, in Nick Atkins and Mike Moreland. “They’re competing and look great right now,” Ierulli said, noting that Moreland is a sophomore, and Atkins is a junior.
The workhorse in the backfield will be Anthony Wynds. At 5-foot-6 and 210 pounds, he will be difficult to bring down. “I’d love to see him carry the ball 25 times a game,” Ierulli said.
The kicking game is also looking up for the Broncos, with Adam Virgili stepping in to put the boot to the ball. “He’s a left-footer, came out and started kicking, and we knew we could work with this kid,” Ierulli said. “He’s doing great, and thank God we have him.”
This season, the Broncos bring more experience to the table. “We were there, in a lot of games last year, but this year is going to be even better,” Ierulli said. “We’re going to be extremely dominant this season, and if we have to go to our twos, there’s no drop-off.”
The Broncos will rely on experience and motivation to battle through one of the toughest schedules on the map, facing powers such as Vero Beach, William T. Dwyer and Glades Central high schools, while being planted in one of the toughest districts in the county with Palm Beach Gardens, Wellington, Seminole Ridge and Jupiter high schools.
Palm Beach Central will continue to prepare for its kickoff classic, when the Broncos host Fort Pierce Central High School on Friday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Anthony Wynds finds running room during a scrimmage.