No. 5 Palm Beach Central routs Boca Raton
Thursday, November 01, 2012
by Jeff Greer
Palm Beach Central's win two Fridays ago clinched the District 10-8A title.
Thursday night's 38-3 rout of Boca Raton provided icing on Central's first district title in program history. It was the second emphatic district win for the fifth-ranked Broncos, who finished undefeated in what was supposed to be one of the area's most intensely contested districts.
"We're in playoff mode already," Central coach Rod Harris said. "We have been for two weeks."
Palm Beach Central (6-2, 3-0 in 10-8A) didn't need gaudy statistics to distance itself from Boca after a sluggish start. The Broncos did it with big plays instead.
They turned a muffed Boca punt return and another fumble into two Tommy McDonald touchdown runs.
Lloyd Howard finally broke free for a 42-yard run after his first three carries netted the FAU verbal commit negative-3 yards. He scored from the 3 on the next play, and sprinted to a 50-yard touchdown on the Broncos' first offensive play of the third quarter.
Kamar Downer added an 83-yard touchdown run, and Central kicker Cameron Golob even chipped in with a 50-yard field goal.
Central did exactly what a playoff-bound district champ should do against a struggling opponent.
"They run what works for them," Boca coach Lewis Burnham said. "It's not hard to figure out; it's hard to stop."
Boca Raton (2-6, 0-3 in 10-8A) started well, getting two defensive stops and getting a field goal on its first drive. But after the second Central three-and-out, Golob's punt came down around the Boca 30-yard line and glanced off an unknowing Boca blocker. Central fell on it.
On their next drive, the Bobcats botched a handoff to running back Cecil Johnson, who lost the ball in a pile of linemen. Central fell on it.
Those are the kinds of bad breaks Boca has gotten all season, as the Bobcats went from preseason playoff contenders to hard-luck losers in the short span of a few games.
"It's that, and the punt," Burnham said with an exasperated look on his face. "What do you tell a kid who is doing his job and the ball just hits him? Or what do you tell Cecil Johnson when he's been playing hard all night? It's some sort of luck. It's really tough."
Yet Boca's not the only team to succumb to Central's explosive rushing attack this season. The Broncos lost two early season games to Palm Beach Gardens and Royal Palm Beach -- scoring just six points in each game -- but they've been rolling ever since.
Howard (88 rushing yards) and Downer (88) carried Central this time. Next week it could be fellow running backs Tommy McDonald and Ray Wilson. That's what makes the Broncos a playoff dark horse in Class 8A.
"We have electrifying running backs," Harris said. "We're using our talents to the best of our ability right now. We have a fantastic offensive line. We're playing well, we're playing the way we want to."