Seminole Ridge 28, Palm Beach Gardens 27: Hawks edge Gators and take District 9-8A lead
Friday, October 21, 2011
by Jeff Greer
Everything about Friday night's game at Seminole Ridge felt like the playoffs.
The air was cool. The crowd was rowdy. Both teams played their best, particularly on offense.
But it was No. 8 Seminole Ridge that got the one break it needed to outlast seventh-ranked Palm Beach Gardens 28-27 in a thrilling district matchup.
After Gardens senior running back Roshard Burney's 13-yard TD run cut Ridge's lead to one point with just more than five minutes to go, the extra point missed wide right.
"You can't look at that one play," said Gardens coach Chris Davis, whose Gators had fought back from deficits of 21-0 and 28-14. "A lot of stuff contributed to this loss. Yeah, you hate to lose by a (point after), but this team's got a lot of heart and I was proud of the way they came back."
The missed kick didn't overshadow the fantastic performances of Burney and Seminole Ridge senior running back Gary Holmes. Both were outstanding in a game that most likely will decide the District 9-8A title.
Burney ran 32 times for 184 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came in the fourth quarter. Holmes did most of his damage in the first half, finishing with 221 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries.
"We knew running the ball would be a huge factor in this game," Holmes said. "They ran the ball great, too, but luckily we came out on top."
Seminole Ridge (5-2, 2-0 ) raced out to a 21-0 lead. The Hawks' stifling defense forced four consecutive stops to start the game.
Gardens (5-2, 1-1 ) struggled to prevent penetration from Ridge's smaller, faster outside players.
But a scoring drive late in the first half sparked some life into Gardens' offense. Sophomore quarterback J.P. Caruso capped off the 75-yard drive with a 7-yard scoring run.
Gardens charged out in the second half, converting an interception for a score.
But Holmes responded. His 52 yards rushing on the next drive set up Elie Turene's 1-yard touchdown run that gave Ridge just enough separation to stave off Gardens' fourth-quarter surge.
"That's the saying: Big players make big plays in big games, and that's what Gary did," Seminole Ridge coach Matt Dickmann said. "We made it exciting, but we held on."