Posted: 4:14 pm Monday, September 17th, 2012
By Jeff Greer
If we thought the second week of the season gave us a good sense of what Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast football has in store for us this fall, Week 3 sent us a stern message: Not so fast.
Glades Central’s nightmare start took on greater consequence with yet another loss. Wellington (yes, Wellington) is off to its best start in recent memory after beating John I. Leonard, last week’s Team Du Jour after a surprise win over Royal Palm Beach. Pahokee is 0-3 again, and desperately searching for a return to prominence. Seminole Ridge, a team that began the season in the state rankings, is 0-2 after a 39-0 thumping against Dwyer. And if those trends aren’t unsettling enough, two-time state champ and regular small-school state power Jupiter Christian continued its incredible fall from grace with a blowout loss at the hands of Inlet Grove.
But a few things did feel right. As usual, Atlantic stole headlines, this time with atrocious-or-awesome-depending-on-who-you-ask new neon jerseys. The Eagles rocked them in a big win over Pahokee. Dwyer got its third consecutive dominant win of the season, perhaps the most impressive victory yet for the Panthers. And American Heritage and Fort Pierce Central won, albeit thanks to second-half awakenings for both.
Here’s the new Post Top 10:
1. American Heritage (3-0)
2. Dwyer (3-0)
3. Fort Pierce Central (3-0)
4. Palm Beach Gardens (2-1) — remember, the Gators are actually 3-0; loss was a forfeit.
5. Park Vista (3-0)
6. Palm Beach Central (1-1)
7. Cardinal Newman (3-0)
8. Atlantic (2-1)
9. Wellington (3-0)
10. Glades Day (3-0)
Also considered: Boca Raton, John I. Leonard, Olympic Heights, Royal Palm Beach, South Fork
Breaking down the Top 10
American Heritage still owns the best-win argument against Dwyer with its 36-28 road victory at Seffner-Armwood in Week 2. Dwyer’s big win over Seminole Ridge shows (1) the Panthers’ D is hungry and state-title worthy and (2) Ridge is farther behind on offense than we thought. Dwyer and Heritage will duke it out all season for No. 1 before their Nov. 9 showdown settles things.
Fort Pierce Central, which just joined the “elite” conversation last week, cruised past Sebastian River after a short week of practice. The Cobras came back to beat Melbourne-Palm Bay in a weather-delayed game that finished up Monday.Remember: Palm Beach Gardens is really 3-0 right now. That “loss” is a forfeit because of an ineligible player — the Gators won that game 45-7 over Lakes. Meanwhile the rally win at West Boca and a defensive struggle against Palm Beach Central shows this year’s Gardens team has all kinds of fight to it. Jermaine Carn, as we discussed in our weekly podcast with ESPN 760, is one of the county’s underrated players.
Park Vista has three wins, but none of them have been pretty, just like Gardens. The difference? Gardens has at least shown signs of offensive cohesion. Vista’s offensive struggles are a concern going forward. That said, the Cobras’ defense may be even better than we thought, and we considered them to be pretty darn good. Marques Gayot is a player, and the linebacking corps gets into gaps. We’ll dismiss the is-it-over-yet win over Lakes and expect better this Friday at Glades Central.
After the top five, it’s no fun. Palm Beach Central’s offense flexed its muscles in Weeks 1 and 2, then laid an egg in Week 3 in a 10-6 loss to Gardens. Cardinal Newman’s scored approx. 3 million points, but against who? Atlantic’s winning the games it should — as usual — but jury’s out on those big ones. Wellington’s 3-0, but we’re staying relatively bearish on the Wolverines until they replicate their big Leonard win. Ridge will be a great test for Welly as the Hawks desperately try to right the ship in Loxahatchee. And then there’s Glades Day, which has twice allowed 20-plus points this season but scores with the best of ‘em.
We also thought about Boca, Leonard, O-Heights, Royal Palm and South Fork. Boca, Leonard and Royal Palm each have lost to a team ranked in the Top 10, while O-Heights and South Fork have gotten their fill of lightweights.
Photos on photos on photos
We may be biased here on PBGametime, but we think we have the best photographers in high school sports. Period. These guys and gals do wonderful work, adding illustration and emotion to game reports. Check out this week’s photo galleries from several area games.
Shameless plugs for PBgametime’s writers. Matt Porter’s quirky and fun blog post about Atlantic’s neon jerseys made the Internet rounds, surfacing on Deadspin and Yahoo, among other sites. My story on Pahokee’s desperate search for relevance was featured on Sports Illustrated‘s website early last week (read here).