Posted: 5:46 pm Friday, October 21st, 2011
By Jeff Greer
This season has been worlds different than last year for Boynton Beach football.
In 2010, the Tigers finished 2-8. They were shut out three times. They averaged 10.9 points a game and allowed 32.2. They finished last in their three-team district.
A year later, Boynton is 5-2. It’s 3-0 in its district and on its way to the playoffs. In seven games, Boynton has boosted its points-per-game average up to 24. It only allows 10.6 points a game. And the Boynton D has posted a shutout of its own. Now Boynton is one of only two area teams — the other is Glades Day — to have clinched a playoff spot.
So what’s the difference?
“Attitude,” said senior offensive lineman Decarreus Mason, who is one of Boynton’s three Division I-level prospects.
“Maturity level,” said Mason’s fellow senior Jessamen Dunker, who has verbally committed to Florida.
The breakout performance of running back Audrey Dieujuste helps, too. He’s rushed for 222 yards and six touchdowns this season. His 9-yard bulldozer of a run last night gave Boynton a late 14-9 lead and helped the Tigers clinch their second playoff berth in the school’s short history.
Athletes like Darrin Josey, Odean White, Jevon Shepard and Cascius Wesley have been fantastic, too. And quarterback Jake Lutzen, who doesn’t get called on a ton in Boynton’s run-heavy offense, has a sterling 113.7 quarterback rating.
“Audrey brings strength and intensity to our team,” Dunker said of Dieujuste. “He’s a tough kid … We’ve been good running the ball. Our offensive line play has been great, too.”
In recent years, Boynton has been crippled by transfers, a dwindling player pool and lack of excitement around the program. Even this season things didn’t look too hot. Boynton lost its first two games. And during its loss to Wellington, junior Kevin Wilson had to be taken by TraumaHawk to the hospital after a scary neck injury.
But a five-game winning streak has Mason talking about flipping the negative perception of Boynton football on its head. The Tigers have also won all four of their home games.
“It’s still surreal,” Mason said. “Nobody thought it would happen at Boynton High. We’ve had so many kids transfer out. Every year, we kept rebuilding a new team. We had a bunch of kids who went through the struggles last year. The summer really pulled us together, though. Nobody wants to be a loser anymore. To see the kids around school have no faith in the team, that was tough. We were trying to bring that excitement back.”
Looks like they’ve brought that excitement back, all right. On Friday, Dunker and Mason said they’d be celebrating their team’s playoff berth, something that seemed nearly unfathomable a year ago.