The Royal Palm Beach High School football team continues the quest to obtain their first win of the season after a 51-6 loss to the Centennial High School Eagles on Thursday, Sept. 6.
Not only did the Wildcats have to try to overcome their five turnovers on the night, but damp conditions and lightning delays made it all the more difficult.
Centennial (3-0) struck first on their opening possession to take a 7-0 lead. Royal Palm Beach (0-3) responded with a solid 65-yard drive inside the Eagles’ 28-yard line, but the Wildcats were forced to try a Dominick Grosso 33-yard field goal that went wide to the right.
The Wildcat defense responded when tackle Dylan Anderson sacked the Centennial quarterback for a big loss that forced the Eagles to punt the ball away from the 16-yard line. The change of possession provided good field position for the Wildcats. On a fourth-and-two situation from the Eagles’ 34-yard line, Royal Palm Beach was unable to keep the chains moving; the Eagles took over possession. Centennial added to their lead on a 40-yard touchdown pass to go up 14-0.
With 1:23 left in the first quarter, a storm delayed the game for nearly 30 minutes. Play resumed with a Royal Palm Beach punt. The Eagles struck again in just four plays on a 13-yard touchdown pass to extend their lead to 21-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Wildcats committed their first of five turnovers on the night. The kick-returner mishandled the ball, giving the Eagles possession on the Wildcats’ 36-yard line. The Royal Palm Beach defense gifted their offense another chance to get back into the game, holding Centennial to a three-and-out, but disaster struck when a high snap sailed over the Royal Palm Beach quarterback to award the Eagles a safety.
The two points made it 23-0 entering the second quarter. The Eagles added another score after the Wildcats’ kick to make the score 30-0. Miscues continued to hamper the Royal Palm Beach offense. On the ensuing possession, the running back fumbled away the ball. The Royal Palm Beach defensive unit made another tough stand inside their 25-yard line, forcing an Eagle field goal attempt that sailed wide.
Turnovers and incomplete passes proved hazardous for the Wildcats, as the defense continued to try and keep the team in the game. With the score 37-0, the Royal Palm Beach offense began to gain some momentum when quarterback Peyton Mainolfi threw a 30-yard touchdown pass on a rope to K.J. Bowles in the end zone to slightly close the margin. The extra-point attempt was unsuccessful, and the Wildcats trailed 37-6 to close out the first half.
Tarver Jamall gave life to a struggling Wildcat team on the opening kickoff of the second half when he recovered an onside kick to give the offense a chance for another quick score. On the next play, Royal Palm Beach committed a catastrophic turnover that negated the momentum.
The Wildcats were unable to recapture some of that momentum. As the game approached its final six minutes, a second lightning storm sailed into the area to close the contest early with the Eagles up 51-6. The loss marks the Wildcats’ third of the season, as they continue to battle the miscues in search of a win.
Royal Palm Beach will host Forest Hill High School on Friday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.