The Royal Palm Beach High School football team has kicked off practice for the upcoming fall season, and after winning against Suncoast and John I. Leonard high schools in their spring jamboree, the Wildcats are looking forward, not backward, head coach Davis Lowery said.
“If you ask any of our players why we’re not looking behind us, they should answer, ‘Because we’re not going that way,’” he explained. “We preach that we can only move forward or backward; nothing is maintained, it only grows or reduces.”
The Wildcats have had a difficult run the last two seasons, but there is a culture change at the hands of Lowery and his coaching staff. Lowery, who was introduced to the football program in August 2018 has made major improvements within, creating dedication and consistency among the players.
“We endeavor for consistency and making every rep a quality rep,” Lowery said. “The rules and the mission have not changed, it is them as a group, and individually, who have grown.”
Lowery said that there will be surprises among the players who eventually stand out above the rest, but he noted that expectations are high for Akeam Woodley and Ketron Hadley. Both are two-way players and had big performances in the spring, with Woodley reeling in two touchdown passes. Ricardo Rosier has also started off netting big gains on the practice field.
Junior quarterback Peyton Mainolfi will be the guiding light on the offense for the Wildcats. His 6-foot-4 frame will provide the ability to see downfield for one of his many weapons. One of those will be receiver Andy Petit-Homme. At 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, he is big and quick, with breakaway speed. Christian DiCristino will anchor the line on both sides of the ball for the Wildcats.
There is much excitement as well about the improvement of some of the younger players, such as De’juan Tolbert, Cody Wasielewski and Victor Gutierrez. The trio will also be two-way players for the team and will likely contribute this season.
The Wildcats have what they believe to be one of the best kickers in Palm Beach County in Dominic Grosso.
“He has had several outstanding camps over the summer, and he remains a great student athlete,” Lowery said. “He will help bring us another dimension to our game this year.”
Lowery said that while the program’s outlook is good, he is taking it day-to-day and week-to-week.
“Our steps to success are clearly defined. Our focus since December has been spent training and sharpening our approach in each pillar,” he added. “We have only briefly touched upon our internal goals about what we would like to accomplish in the district, but 99 percent of the focus is daily and weekly.”
The tide seems to be turning for the Wildcats. With much success in a short amount of time, the momentum is theirs for the taking. Royal Palm Beach will host its season opener against West Boca Raton High School on Friday, Aug. 23 at 6:30 p.m.