Wildcats Fall To 0-2 With 44-7 Loss To Palm Beach Gardens

Royal Palm Beach receiver Dishon Francis catches the ball in the end zone for a score.

On Friday, Aug. 31, the Royal Palm Beach High School football squad hosted Palm Beach Gardens High School for their regular season home opener and fell to the Gators 44-7.

The Wildcats (0-2) were in the game through the first half, but they had difficulty with miscues and the Palm Beach Gardens offensive unit.

After going three and out on their first possession of the game, the Wildcats surrendered the first score. The Gators opened up with a 55-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Studstill to Belden Smith for a would-be go-ahead score, but it was nullified by a penalty. Running back Antonio Outler later ran in the game’s first score for the Gators, putting them up 7-0 early in the first quarter.

The Wildcats fired right back on the ensuing possession, capping a 55-yard drive when freshman quarterback Peyton Mainolfi found receiver Dishon Francis for the equalizer on a 7-yard touchdown pass. Dominick Gross’s kick tied the game 7-7 with 1:08 remaining in the first quarter.

Royal Palm Beach’s defense came up big inside the red zone when they forced a Gator fumble to take possession early in the second quarter. However, the Wildcats could not put together a drive, and were forced to punt, which was blocked by the Gators. Palm Beach Gardens threatened to retake the lead, but a solid goal line stand denied a Gator score in a fourth-and-goal situation.

Miscues struck the Wildcat offense again when a rolling snap from center headed into the end zone. The ball was recovered by the Wildcats, but a safety was awarded to Palm Beach Gardens, which gave them a 9-7 lead. On the Gators’ next possession, they added to that lead with a short touchdown run, making the score 16-7, which held until the conclusion of the first half.

Things did not go the Wildcats’ way in the second half, as Palm Beach Gardens came out operating on all cylinders. The Gators racked up an additional 28 points to run away with the game. Royal Palm Beach was not able to overcome the Gator momentum and the earlier miscues.

Palm Beach Gardens cruised to a 44-7 win, improving to 2-0, while the Wildcats were still looking for their first victory of the season.

The Wildcats hosted Centennial High School on Thursday, Sept. 6, but results were not available by press time.