Spring football has begun at Royal Palm Beach High School with the Wildcats program under the direction of first-year coach Davis Lowery, who took over the program just in time to start the 2018 season.
Despite finishing the season last year without a win, the Wildcats were a young, competitive team under Lowery’s direction.
“Last season was a little bit of a triage deal, and we started the program’s foundations with the fundamentals,” Lowery explained. “Pride from the classroom to the locker room. Our mantra is three pillars: physical, academic and self. We want to build a program the right way, with discipline.”
The Wildcat program has seen an increase in participation on the field. Where last year they struggled to field 40 players, now there are more than 90 dressing out for spring ball. “We’ve raised more money this year than the last nine years combined,” Lowery said. “They’re seeing the pride in the program.”
The Wildcats will lean on the leadership offensively from quarterback Peyton Mainolfi. The 6-foot-4 junior started for the Wildcats as a freshman and brings two years of experience into the short spring season.
“I’m going to use that experience and pressure I’ve been put in as a freshman and sophomore to help us win games,” Mainolfi said. “Our chemistry has gotten better. We’ve been hitting a lot more routes. We’ve been out here every week during the off-season, every day trying to get our reps down.”
Senior Ketron Hadley will be a two-way starter for the Wildcats, but he will focus at the running back position. “We’re forming a family here,” Hadley said. “Since the coach got here, he’s told us he loves us, and I really appreciate that. He has earned my respect. Everything he promises, he delivers.”
Hadley said that he is seeing the growth with Lowery directing the squad and is confident the team will build success this spring and carry that into the fall.
Senior defensive player Andy Petit-Homme will lead the defensive unit at safety. “I plan to lead by example,” he said. “It started clicking. I think we’ve got a good defense this year.”
Petit-Homme also indicated that the new coaching staff takes a very active role in bridging the gap for players who desire to play in college. “They do everything they can,” he added.
The Wildcats also plan to attend camps and participate in seven-on-seven tournaments through the summer to keep sharp for the fall season. The focus, however, will be on solidifying the new culture and commitment with the players this spring, Lowery said.
Royal Palm Beach will travel to Suncoast High School on Wednesday, May 22 to participate in a spring jamboree, playing against both the Chargers and John I. Leonard High School. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.