The Palm Beach Central High School football team hosted district foe Palm Beach Gardens High School for a game Thursday, Oct. 24 that would determine the District 10-8A champion, and the Broncos defeated the Gators 28-14 to earn the team’s third-straight title.
It was the first title for new head coach Scottie Littles.
“It is rewarding; it is validating,” Littles said. “When I took the job, the language was Central won’t be this, Central won’t be that. Football is football, and these kids work hard. We’ve got a great staff and great administrative support. At the end of the day, it feels great to do what people say you can’t do.”
Not even Mother Nature could keep herself away from this matchup, as the rain began to fall in sheets as both teams struggled offensively to control the ball. The two traded fumbles through most of the first quarter.
Keyshawn Winder intercepted a Gator pass that put the Bronco offense on the Palm Beach Gardens 18-yard line early in the second quarter. The play set up the Broncos’ first score of the game when quarterback Anarjahe Douriet linked up with receiver Bryan Robinson on an 18-yard touchdown pass to lift the Broncos up 7-0.
The Bronco defense dominated the Gator offense through most of the first half. The subjugating will of the defense led by Max Martinez and Bryan Balas placed the Broncos (7-2, 4-0) in another position to add to the lead. Robinson grabbed his second score of the game when he reeled in a Douriet pass from 28 yards out to extend the Bronco lead to 14-0.
The Gators finally broke out on offense to close the margin to a one-score game with a 70-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing possession to make it 14-7. Palm Beach Gardens appeared as if they were poised to tie the game, attempting to move the chains on a fourth-and-five situation inside Palm Beach Central real estate, but Kam’Ron Young stole a pick-six for 70 yards to extend the Bronco lead to 21-7 with 1:33 remaining in the first half. The Gators were unable to shorten the deficit before time expired.
With the intensity growing on the field, the teams battled for control through the third quarter, then it all came to a head with a melee near the Bronco sideline that saw both teams converge onto the field. Minutes later, the game was under control and resumed play, but not without an ejection from each side. Robinson and Palm Beach Gardens’ Myron Levy were both unable to continue play due to the scuffle.
The Broncos were able to add to their total with a 10-yard touchdown pass to receiver Cedric Johnson to extend the lead to 28-7 with just seconds left in the third quarter. Palm Beach Gardens was able to earn one more score with 8:10 left on the ticker to bring the score to 28-14, but the Broncos relied on their defense the rest of the way to secure the district title victory. The championship win automatically clinches a berth into post-season play.
“I don’t think we finished very well at the end,” Littles said. “But none of that matters because we are district champs.”
Palm Beach Central’s defense tallied four interceptions on the night and recorded one pick-six.
“Those guys do a great job. We try to put them in the best position to succeed,” Littles explained. “I’d say the rain was our friend tonight a little bit, but that’s football, and kids have to fight through adversity. Our defense was out there doing their job.”
The Broncos will wrap up the regular season on the road against John I. Leonard High School on Friday, Nov. 1. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.