The Palm Beach Central High School football team began spring football practices on April 23. The defending District 9-8A champions were back in action, along with most other teams across Palm Beach County.
The Broncos finished last season with a 9-3 record, falling in the regional semifinals to Western High School 14-12. That loss resonates with the returning players, and realize they are a formidable contender to go deep into the post-season next fall.
“We have to buy-in to what the coaches teach us and stay consistent,” Bronco standout corner back Akeem Dent said. “Our goal is to win a state championship.”
The Broncos will have 19 practice sessions this spring and will also play in a spring jamboree at Palm Beach Lakes High School on May 19. They will face Centennial and Vero Beach high schools, both known football powers. “There will be 50 to 60 colleges there, and we’re matched up with two great programs,” Bronco head coach Tino Ierulli said. “I respect those programs, and we want to play those programs.”
Ierulli has been impressed with the team’s progress this spring. “They’re dialed in, and they have kept a level head,” he explained. “The offense is clicking, and typically it takes longer for an offense to start clicking, and the defense looks great.”
The Broncos have a void at quarterback with Nick Atkins graduating. Anarjahe Douriet will look to fill that position and has shown promise with his quickness and arm strength.
Six starters return to the Bronco offense, and eight on defense. C.J. Stewart returns as the Bronco running back. Stewart showed his speed and strength last season. “C.J. is phenomenal catching out of the backfield for us,” Ierulli said.
Bryan Robinson, who will be a junior in the fall, returns to lead the Bronco receiving corps. “I want to make a statement my junior year and dominate at my position,” Robinson said. “It felt good to get a district championship my sophomore year, but we want to get the state championship this year.”
Lineman Renato Brown, a Miami commit, will anchor the offensive and defensive line. At 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, he will be a force for the Broncos in the trenches. “I have to finish out my senior year strong,” Brown said. “We have to keep pushing.”
Defensively, the Broncos return eight from last season, including cornerback Jesus Santiago. He and Dent will be the foundation of the Palm Beach Central secondary and look to have a big performance in the spring jamboree.
The Broncos have built great success over the last few years, and the dedication has paid dividends, winning a district title and providing opportunity for young student athletes to continue their football careers in college. “They get excited about it, and they’re a lot more mature than they were in the past,” Ierulli said.
The Broncos will continue to practice through the month of May in preparation for the two spring games against Vero Beach and Centennial.
“They’re going to respect every team they face on the field and will fear none,” Ierulli said.
The Broncos will play Vero Beach at 2 p.m. and Centennial at 6 p.m. at Palm Beach Lakes on Saturday, May 19.