After missing Week 1 of the high school football season due to my covering Florida Atlantic’s defeat to the Miami Hurricanes last Friday, I found myself in Royal Palm Beach for a matchup between the Wildcats of Royal Palm and the Pahokee Blue Devils.
There were so many penalties between the two squads that I made up a drinking game in my head in the second quarter. It’s safe to say that if I had been playing said drinking game I’d have been wasted before halftime. Anyway…
My story from the Palm Beach Post:
ROYAL PALM BEACH — In a matchup plagued by penalties, Royal Palm Beach outlasted Pahokee for a 21-14 victory Friday night. There were well over 300 penalty yards between the two teams.
“They’re happening after big plays and it’s momentum killers,” Wildcats coach Willie Bueno said about the penalties. “We’ve got to figure that out and get better at it.”
After a sloppy and scoreless first quarter, the Blue Devils struck first early into the second quarter. A fumble by Wildcats running back Demarcus Holloway on the Royal Palm Beach 8-yard line led to a 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback Rashaun Croney to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead.
The Wildcats swung the momentum in their favor in the final minute of the first half.
That’s when Royal Palm Beach (2-0) took advantage of a Pahokee pass interference penalty. Freshman quarterback Toddy Centeio then connected with receiver D’vonte Burden for a 22-yard touchdown with 43 seconds remaining in the half to tie the game at 7-7.
Royal Palm Beach added to its lead in the third quarter with a pair of touchdowns. It took agamble deep in Blue Devils territory in the third quarter on a drive marred with penalties on both sides. On 4th-and-17, Jimmy Moreland hit Alon Sims for a 25-yard touchdown to give the Wildcats a 14-7 edge.
“We just needed something to get momentum going,” Bueno said.
After a poor punt by the Blue Devils, the Wildcats took advantage of great field position. Charles Perry ran for a 13-yard touchdown to put them up by two scores with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Pahokee (1-1) scored late in the fourth quarter when Croney connected with Malik Thompson for a 6-yard touchdown. Pahokee had a chance to tie the game in the final minutes, but its rally fell short.
“It’s a good win,” Bueno said. “We’ve just got to keep getting better.”