The Seminole Ridge High School football team waged a real battle Friday, Oct. 26 at home on senior night, as the Hawks narrowly fell to district rival Jupiter High School 34-31 in a thriller.
Seminole Ridge (5-4, 2-2) conceded the first score to Jupiter. The Warriors grabbed a touchdown on their first possession of the game to take an early 7-0 lead. The Hawks responded with back-to-back scores to lead 14-7. A two-yard touchdown run by Brandon Schabert secured the Hawk lead. Daniel Freire booted a 24-yard field goal to extend the Seminole Ridge lead to 17-7.
The Warriors charged back, putting a drive together that gave them the position to strike with a 37-yard field goal to close the margin to 17-10 before the end of the first half.
The game unraveled for the Hawks in the early part of the second half. Jupiter picked up a Seminole Ridge fumble on the Hawks’ first possession and returned it for a 35-yard score to tie the game at 17-17. On the Hawks’ next possession, quarterback Kaimyn Castilla was picked off, and the result was a return for another score that lifted Jupiter back into the lead 24-17. The turnaround took less than three minutes and left the Hawks needing to formulate a comeback.
After strong defensive play through the third quarter, the Hawks began to retaliate. Castilla orchestrated a seven-play, 60-yard drive with a Corey Polk 20-yard touchdown run to lock the game back up 24-24.
Jupiter fired right back with a 35-yard touchdown pass to reclaim the lead 31-24 in the fourth quarter with 9:16 remaining. Reyan Blake set up Seminole Ridge with less than half the field to traverse off a 58-yard kick return, putting the Hawks at the Jupiter 31-yard line. The Warriors took over possession when the Hawks were unable to convert on a fourth-and-12 situation.
The Hawk defense held the Jupiter offense, forcing a punt, but the momentum shifted when the Warrior punt struck a Hawk player in the back. It was recovered by Jupiter to put their offense back on the field at the Seminole Ridge 25-yard line. The Hawk defense forced a fourth-and-goal at the three-yard line, resulting in a field goal to extend the Warrior lead to 34-24 with only 1:14 left to play.
Schabert responded big for the Hawks in a much-needed moment with a 55-yard kick return. The play injected life into the Hawk sideline, and the offense drove to the Jupiter one-yard line. Polk punched it in for the score to make it 34-31 with just 20 seconds left.
With an onside kick expected, Jupiter defended it well and recovered it to seal the 34-31 victory. The upset loss comes only one week after the Hawks defeated Pahokee, one of the county’s best teams.
“We got a couple of scoring opportunities and penalties that killed us, and we missed a field goal, too,” Hawks head coach Rick Casko said. “I’m proud of the fact that they played extremely hard the whole game.”
The Hawks travel to Royal Palm Beach High School on Friday, Nov. 2 for the annual “Best of the West” game. The Hawks will defend the trophy at Palms West Stadium; kickoff is at 6 p.m.