The Seminole Ridge High School football squad hosted rival Royal Palm Beach High School on homecoming night Friday, Sept. 27 and cruised past the Wildcats 37-6 to retain the “Best of the West” trophy.
The Hawks relied on a ground-and-pound attack that netted four rushing touchdowns and one through the air, while the defense held the Wildcats to a single score. “I’m really pleased with the kids. The whole day started out right. They’re figuring it out,” head coach Rick Casko said. “They’re just getting better and better.”
The game was tight in the first half, with the Wildcats only trailing by four, 10-6. Early on, the Hawks drove 74 yards to the Royal Palm Beach one-yard line after forcing a punt, only to be stopped by a strong goal-line defensive stand by the Wildcats.
With good field position, after forcing Royal Palm Beach to punt out of their red zone, the Seminole Ridge offense went to work. The first score of the game would not hit the scoreboard until the start of the second quarter. The Hawks capped a 48-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run by running back Logan Feuerbach, who would add two more, totaling three on the night. The score gave the Hawks a 7-0 lead.
“I’m just so proud of that kid,” Casko said of Feuerbach. “He’ll be our offensive player of the week. He is a joy to be around.”
The Seminole Ridge drive did not come without some blood and sweat. The Wildcats dug deep to force the Seminole Ridge offense into a fourth-and-three situation. On fourth down, the ball carrier fumbled but recovered beyond the chains to press forward for a Hawk first down.
Royal Palm Beach continued to struggle on offense, throwing an interception that led to a 24-yard return by cornerback Daniel Brown. Hayden Gray booted a 32-yard field goal to extend the Hawks’ lead to 10-0.
Royal Palm Beach struck back on their ensuing possession when quarterback Peyton Mainolfi hit Ketron Hadley on a 75-yard touchdown pass to cut the margin to 10-6. The point after was blocked by the Hawks with 3:14 remaining to play in the first half. The two teams battled scoreless for the balance of the half.
The Wildcat defense was able to stop the Hawks on the opening possession of the second half, but Royal Palm Beach turnovers infected the offense, which appeared to fatigue the defense. Royal Palm Beach fumbled away the ball on their own 42-yard line, lacing the Hawks with prime real estate. Feuerbach extended the Hawk lead off a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Shane Goolsby to go up 16-6 midway through the third quarter.
With Royal Palm Beach feeling the pressure, they elected to attempt to convert on a fourth-and-five in midfield, but the Seminole Ridge defense stole the chains for the offense, taking over on downs. From there, the Hawks began to wear down a tired Wildcat defense. Feuerbach added his third score of the game from 7 yards out to lift the Hawks up 23-6 late in the third quarter.
Another Wildcat three-and-out offered the Hawks another opportunity. Goolsby rolled out on a key play, sprinting 33 yards to set up a one-yard touchdown run by running back Isreal Rosiles. The score lifted the Hawks to 30-6 early in the fourth quarter. Deion McMinns would enter the final touchdown totaling 38 yards in two plays to make the score 37-6.
With the win, Seminole Ridge improved to 3-1 on the season, and Royal Palm Beach fell to 3-2. The Hawks are on the road Friday, Oct. 4 at Okeechobee, while Royal Palm Beach is off.