High School Hysteria Blog
-After narrowly missing out on the playoffs last year due to an early season loss to West Boca, Royal Palm Beach determined not to let history repeat itself this time around. Behind a ferocious defensive effort, the Wildcats flipped the script on Friday night, topping West Boca 17-7.
The Bulls, who had scored at least 37 points in each of its first three games, were unable to get in any rhythm offensively versus the Wildcats' defense on Friday. In three games this season, Royal Palm Beach has allowed just 30 total points.
In the Wildcats' season opening win, I spotlighted cornerbacks Cody Taylor and Da'Von Brown for providing lockdown defense on Palm Beach Central's group of electric receivers. While those two have continued to excel, the Wildcats' front seven was dominant against West Boca. Defensive lineman Marquavious McCatty and linebacker Mike Jones were consistently in the backfield and disrupted the Bulls' ground attack. Royal Palm Beach's defense has been phenomenal so far and will need to keep up that effort as they prepare for more tough tests within the district.
-Through four weeks of the season, Glades Day has quietly put together a pretty incredible season. The Gators are 4-0 and have outscored their opponents 94-0. Glades Day is coming off a 17-0 shutout win over Jupiter Christian, which paired with its 31-0 win over Village Academy, virtually assures them a District Championship.
Current Florida Gators running back Kelvin Taylor naturally garnered the majority of headlines during his time at Glades Day (and rightfully so considering what he accomplished during his career), but this program has proven since his graduation in 2013 that it's much more than one player.
The Gators, who have captured two state championships in the past decade, have been incredibly impressive since his departure. Last year, Glades Day made it to the 2A Regional Finals before falling by 10 points to Champagnat Catholic. This season, the Gators are ranked No. 2 in the Class 2A AP Poll and look like legitimate State Title contenders.
-Last season was a disaster for Atlantic. There's really no other way to put it. The Eagles went 3-7 and were flat-out embarrassed in some games. This season though is another story.
Through four games, Atlantic looks like a completely different squad and has been dominating the way some of those old Atlantic teams did. While the Eagles dropped their season opener to Cypress Bay, the team has been on a tear since. Atlantic has won three consecutive games, outscoring Boca Raton, Spanish River and Forest Hill by a combined margin of 111-7. Head coach T.J. Jackson inherited a young football team a year ago in his first season on the job, but his Eagles look much more mature and talented this season.
While the early season wins have been impressive, the real test will come against the top-echelon teams in District 13-7A, namely Dwyer, Royal Palm Beach and Atlantic. Last year, the Eagles weren't competitive in any of those games, as lost by a combined total of 117-31. This is a different team though. While Atlantic will have to face those teams in three consecutive weeks, expect a much different result from last year.
FOOTBALL NIGHT IN SOUTH FLORIDA - Week 4
Driven by Royal Palm Auto Mall
John I. Leonard (0-3) at Spanish River (1-2)
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Listen: ESPN 106.3 FM
John I. Leonard
Last week: L, 33-7 at Pahokee
The Lancers traveled west and struggled against resurgent Pahokee. John I. Leonard's defense was peppered on the ground and through the air by Pahokee's mutliple weapons to fall to 0-3 on the season. A positive for John I. was the running game as the Lancers racked up 183 rushing yards against a physical Pahokee attack.
Player to watch:
QB/WR Stefan Hayes - Perhaps most versatile weapon on John I. Leonard offense. Can play QB and will line up as effective WR.
LB Wildert Thelusme
READ CHRIS KOKELL'S FULL FILM ANALYSIS OF THELUSME >>
John I. Leonard will win if...it can get a lead. Yes John I. is 0-3, but the defense has been competitive and formidable against opponents like Palm Beach Gardens, Seminole Ridge and Pahokee. If the Lancers can dictate the tempo and win the battle at the line, which they should be able to do, then they'll pick up their first victory in 2014.
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Last week: L, 42-0 vs. Atlantic
The Sharks were no match for Atlantic powerful offensive attack last Friday. Spanish River was able to execute against a lesser Olympic Heights squad the week before, but the upgrade in competition stymied River, who didn't have an answer for Atlantic RB Dontavious Monroe and his three TD runs.
Player to watch:
WR/TE John Forde - The most intriguing player on the roster. A basketball player, Forde's size poses match-up problems for any defense.
QB Owen Daniels
Spanish River will win if...they can find a way to move the football. The Sharks were pushed around by a much more athletic Atlantic team last week. While John I. Leonard isn't quite as quick, the still have athletes and they're physical. Spanish River needs establish a passing game that stretches the John I. defense to put itself in a position to stay within striking distance.
There are no games scheduled for today.