Posted: 1:48 pm Monday, October 8th, 2012

Weekend rewind: the strong get stronger, statements get made 

By Matt Porter

It looks like the area’s strongest teams are about to get stronger, two mid-tier teams make big statements and and there’s a familiar face back in the mix. Here’s the top 10 heading into Week 7:

1. American Heritage (5-0) Gets FB/TE Provo back this week
2. Dwyer (5-0) Bye helped banged-up lines
3. Fort Pierce Central (5-0) Running on all cylinders
4. Palm Beach Gardens (4-1) Good test vs. Boca this week
5. Cardinal Newman (6-0) Statement win over 8A Wellington
6. Royal Palm Beach (3-1) QB McGrew turning heads
7. Palm Beach Central (3-2) Thoroughly dominated Park Vista
8. Park Vista (5-1) Won’t forget PB Central loss
9. Glades Day (5-1) Village is last district test
10. Atlantic (3-2) Consistency not Eagles’ forte
Also considered: Olympic Heights, Santaluces, John I. Leonard, Seminole Ridge, Boca Raton, South Fork

The area’s top two teams, American Heritage and Dwyer, enjoyed much-needed bye weeks last week. Heritage, which had assorted early-season bumps and bruises, gets a big piece of the puzzle back this week as senior fullback/H-back Tyler Provo is expected to return from an ankle injury that has kept him out of action thus far. Provo, a Syracuse commit, adds more beef to an offense no one has been able to stop thus far.

Dwyer, meanwhile, has lost three starting offensive linemen and two starting defensive linemen to injuries. The most significant of those, the sprained ankle suffered by junior defensive tackle Mark Kelly, should be healed this week. The Panthers also should get a boost from two-way senior lineman Onterio Rouse, who was cleared to play after sitting out the season while under investigation by the FHSAA for his participation in an illegal summer school program ran by former Forest Hill teacher Michael Dudeck. The issue caused Dwyer to forfeit its 2011 season, but does not affect this year. Dwyer is also concerned about junior receiver Clint Stephens’ strained hamstring that could keep him out this week against Santaluces.

Palm Beach Central and senior Lloyd "Bam" Howard took it to Park Vista last week. (Palm Beach Post photo)

Palm Beach Central and senior Lloyd "Bam" Howard took it to Park Vista last week. (Palm Beach Post photo)

Fourth-ranked Palm Beach Gardens cruised into its bye with the area’s top large-schools rusher (Jermaine Carn) and a defense that has allowed 8.2 points per game. The Gators, who have Boca Raton this week, are the heavy favorite in District 9-8A.

Cardinal Newman didn’t dominate like it has in its previous games, but did enough to maintain its perfect record with a win over Wellington. The Crusaders get North Broward Prep this week in a district contest.

After the game the teams played last year, and more importantly, Palm Beach Central‘s inconsistent start to the season, we didn’t expect the Broncos to beat up Park Vista like they did. But two quick Lloyd Howard touchdowns and the rout was on. After a 45-7 win, Palm Beach Central moves up to No. 7, while Vista drops to No. 8. We think Central could beat Royal Palm Beach if given another chance, but Royal Palm stays ahead because of its win in the mud two weeks ago.

Kelvin Taylor only got nine carries in Glades Day‘s 69-0 win over Coral Springs Christian, but he added plenty to his state-record totals. His 275 yards (more than 30 yards per carry) gives him 11,040 for his career. His five touchdowns gives him 171. Both are state records. Since his freshman year, Taylor has 9,496 rushing yards, 1,736 shy of the national record (11,232). Glades Day has four regular-season games remaining.

Atlantic … what do we make of the Eagles at this point? Atlantic thoroughly dominated a decent West Boca team last Friday and now heads into its bye. Dwyer is next, on Thurs., Oct. 18. Atlantic has pitched shutouts in three of four games, with a loss to Santaluces thrown in the mix.

On the outside, Olympic Heights‘s loss to Sebastian River means it needs to beat South Fork to stay in the discussion for a District 14-6A playoff spot … South Fork is 5-0, but we’re not convinced by the strength of schedule … Santaluces has a win over Atlantic, but was a two-point conversion away from handing the game to winless Lake Worth … this week’s John I. Leonard-Seminole Ridge game should show a lot about both teams. Leonard got its coach back and then scored a quality win over Boca Raton, which is still reeling from a season-ending injury to quarterback Kevin Anderson. Meanwhile, Ridge relied on the run to put down Pahokee.

If you missed it, take a look at a gallery of Palm Beach Central-Park Vista photos and a collection from Cardinal Newman-Wellington. You know we’re always posting interesting stuff on Twitter (@mattyports and @jeffgreer) and have a constantly-updated Facebook page (type “PBGametime” in the search bar).