The Palm Beach Central High School football team hosted unbeaten Palm Beach Lakes High School on Friday, Oct. 4 in a much-anticipated matchup between two county-ranked teams. The Broncos fell to the Rams 31-14.
Palm Beach Lakes (5-0) took advantage early of two key Bronco turnovers and turned them into points. It was a deficit that the Broncos (4-2, 1-0) were never able to overturn.
The first blow came on the opening kickoff. The Rams returned the kick 94 yards for a touchdown that was nullified by a penalty, but it set up possession on the Bronco 13-yard line. Three plays later, the Rams threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead.
Palm Beach Central responded with a solid return and relied on a penalty by the Rams to give them midfield real estate, but the second blow quickly came in the form of a Palm Beach Lakes pick-six. The pass was tipped by the Bronco receiver, intercepted and returned 54 yards for the score, which put the Rams up 14-0 early in the first quarter.
The Bronco offense continued to struggle. On their second play from scrimmage, almost cloning the outcome of the previous interception, the Palm Beach Central quarterback threw for a slant that was tipped by the receiver and intercepted and taken down after a short gain. The turnover resulted in a 32-yard touchdown pass by the Rams to extend their lead to 21-0 midway through the first quarter.
The Rams would add one more score before the first half concluded to enter the locker room with a 28-0 advantage.
The Broncos entered the second half on a mission, finally sparking on offense. Quarterback Anarjahe Douriet threw a 30-yard touchdown pass that capped a 70-yard drive to close the margin to 28-7. The Bronco defense forced a field goal by the Rams, after fumbling a punt, but Palm Beach Lakes held a 31-7 lead in the third quarter.
With little time remaining in the third quarter, on the ensuing kickoff, the Broncos added to their score with a kickoff return for a touchdown. Corey Reddick sprinted 82 yards for the end zone to make the score 31-14.
The play seemed to breathe life into the Bronco squad defensively, but the offense had difficulty countering a stingy Rams defensive unit. The fourth quarter remained scoreless while both teams excelled defensively, making it difficult for the Broncos to close the deficit.
The match was not a conference game, and Palm Beach Central remains unbeaten in district play.
The Broncos pick up district competition Friday, Oct. 11 against Forest Hill High School. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.