Posted: 1:24 pm Sunday, November 9th, 2008
By Post Staff
In an unusual coincidence, Royal Palm Beach will finish the regular season at Palm Beach Lakes this week, then the schools will reconvene the following week on the Wildcats’ turf in the first round of the playoffs.
Both head coaches say they will play this week’s prelude the same way they would against any other opponent. Royal Palm Beach coach Darren Studstill said the Rams will know what to expect in the Nov. 21 game based on what happens Friday.
“They’ll get a good look,” Studstill said. “We’ll just play. We’re not going to hide anything.
“We have to keep the kids in the mindset of doing what we do best. We have to treat every game like it’s the Super Bowl.”
Palm Beach Lakes coach Alonzo Jefferson laughed about the scheduling quirk.
“Our schedule was strange from the very beginning,” said Jefferson, whose team opened the year with Glades Central, Atlantic and Pahokee.
Like Studstill, he has no plans to conceal any part of the playbook in this week’s contest.
“At this particular stage, it’s hard to change what you do,” Jefferson said. “I want my kids to be aggressive and hopefully get a victory. We have to play the way we know how.”
Because Royal Palm Beach (8-1) has more overall talent, Jefferson believes his team will benefit from getting two chances at the Wildcats.
Both coaches said they never have played the same team in back-to-back weeks, even as players.
This week’s game at Dick Melear Stadium was predictable. Not so for next week’s matchup in Royal Palm Beach. The Rams (4-5) were a longshot to make the playoffs this year, but made it on the strength of their 3-1 record in district play.
“We had to play up every week in terms of the caliber of talent,” Jefferson said. “I thought we would have a tough time throughout the year, but we set the playoffs as a goal early.
“It feels good just because … I think the kids needed something positive. The school has started to believe in the football team.”
Palm Beach Lakes is in the post-season for the first time since 2005, and the Wildcats missed the playoffs last season. Both head coaches are in their first year with their school.