On Thursday, April 4, the Royal Palm Beach High School flag football team hosted Jupiter High School and held on to defeat the Warriors 13-9 in a thriller. Despite the late Jupiter rally, the Wildcats (5-2) did just enough on both sides of the ball to notch the victory.
On the Wildcats’ first possession of the game, they marched down the field under the direction of quarterback Kurleigh Farrell. Short passes and misdirection were key in Royal Palm Beach’s first score. Receiver Jenna Springthorpe reeled in a pass from Farrell in the end zone, on a fourth and goal, that put the Wildcats up 6-0 in the first quarter.
After a solid Wildcat defensive stand, Royal Palm Beach gained possession at mid-field. Farrell connected with receiver Samantha Saint-Jean for a 52-yard touchdown pass. The point after extended the Royal Palm Beach lead to 13-0 to start the second quarter. Jupiter could do little on offense against the Wildcat defense and closed the first half scoreless, trailing 13-0.
During the second half, the Wildcats relied mostly on defense. Offensively, they moved the ball to reduce the clock but found difficulty going up against a motivated Warrior defensive unit. Jupiter’s defense kept them in the game, forcing Royal Palm Beach to go three-and-out in the third quarter. The Warriors scored, capping a 44-yard drive to close the margin to 13-7 after the point after conversion.
The Royal Palm Beach offensive struggle continued when a high snap sailed over Farrell’s head, bouncing into the end zone for a Jupiter safety. The error moved the Warriors to within four points, but they still trailed 13-9 in the fourth quarter.
Lily Lanier responded for the Wildcat defense with a big interception and a 10-yard return for Royal Palm Beach late in the final quarter. The pick nullified a possible go-ahead drive for Jupiter. The Wildcat defense needed to appear once more on the field in the final minute of the game and did just enough to secure the lead, keeping Jupiter out of the end zone.
The win improved the Royal Palm Beach record to 5-2 on the season. Farrell completed 13 of 25 passes and two touchdowns. Saint-Jean and Springthorpe each had a score.
On defense, Jensen Sleek recorded five flag pulls and a blocked pass. Springthorpe also had a blocked pass on defense.