BOCA RATON – Monday night’s District 10-8A showdown between Park Vista (7-0) and Boca Raton (4-2) proved to be a tough defensive battle from the onset.
Both teams were unable to mount any kind of offensive momentum for much of the first half. But it looked as if the Bobcats would finally break through first with a score midway through the second quarter.
Driving down to the Cobras 5-yard line, the Bobcats were in for an end-zone surprise. They would be denied twice inside the Cobras 1-yard line, which resulted in a turnover on downs.
Thanks to a brilliant goal-line stand by the Cobras defense, their offense got the ball back. And late in the second quarter, junior quarterback John Smith would hook up with junior wide receiver Atorian Perry for a 10-yard score in the left corner of the end zone.
The touchdown connection gave Park Vista a 7-0 halftime lead.
“I saw that Atorian had a height advantage over the safety, and I trusted him to make a play,” Smith said.
The second half of the game was just more of the same, with Park Vista’s defense continuing to smother the Boca Raton offense.
During one Bobcat possession in the third quarter, the Cobras defense sacked quarterback Brandon Norman on three consecutive plays, which sent the Cobras fans, coaches, and players into a frenzy. The Bobcats were simply no match for the Cobras relentless defense.
“Our defensive effort tonight was just amazing,” Smith said. “The defense stopped them when they had to and came up really big. I tip my hat to those guys because they won the game for us.”
After a Stevenson Jackson field goal late in the third quarter, it looked as if the Cobras would shut out the Bobcats. But the road team lost two fumbles late in the fourth quarter inside the Bobcats 10-yard line.
The second Park Vista fumble would prove costly, as it took just one play to make the game a true toss-up in the final seconds. From the Boca Raton 5-yard line, Norman found a wide open target in junior athlete Rod Evans III down the left sideline for a 95-yard score.
With the extra point, Boca Raton cut Park Vista’s lead to 3. But the Bobcats couldn’t get any closer, as it would prove to be the final margin of victory for the Cobras.
“This was a tough gritty win for us,” Smith said. “We came down here and we got what we wanted. Now we just got to win our last two district games against Santaluces and Spanish River, and we will be district champions.”
Park Vista’s next game will be at Spanish River on Friday, Oct. 14 with a 7 p.m. kickoff time. A win there would seal a Class 8A playoff spot for the Cobras.
As for Boca Raton, it will host another District 10-8A rival in Lake Worth (3-3) on Friday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. A win at home will keep the Bobcats in the hunt for a playoff spot, while a loss may knock them out of playoff contention.