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Park Vista 9, Boynton Beach 6: Cobras’ defense keys win

September 3, 2016 GMT

Brandon Sullivan’s touchdown catch with 6:27 to play gave Park Vista the lead against Boynton Beach and the visiting Cobras held on to earn a 9-6 victory over the Tigers.

With Park Vista (2-0) trailing 6-0 late in the third quarter, the Cobras tallied a safety when senior Julian Polo blocked a punt that bounced out of the end zone.

Then in the fourth quarter, John Smith, who was intercepted three times in the first half and was playing the second half with a deep thigh bruise, connected with Sullivan on a deep pass from 29 yards out. Chris Stickney’s extra point put the Cobras ahead 9-6.

Moments earlier, Park Vista got a huge break when Johnathan Santos was stopped short on fourth-and-4, but a face mask penalty gave the Cobras a first down at the Tigers’ 30.

It was the only time either offense scored in 19 combined possessions.

Boynton Beach (0-2) started its final drive on its 20 and drove to the Park Vista 11-yard line, but a holding penalty pushed the Tigers back to the 26. On the next play, Polo came up big again and intercepted Tyron Herring’s pass at the 10-yard line.

“Our defense played outstanding all night,” Park Vista coach Brian Dodds said, “and they came through in the end for us.”

“We just said, ‘Next play,’ ” Polo said after he was awarded the game ball. “Things happen in football. You can’t keep your head down, and you’ve got to keep fighting. And that’s exactly what we did.”

Park Vista’s offense threatened twice in the first half, but Boynton came up with interceptions.

On Vista’s first possession, Smith connected with Atorian Perry for 30 and 14 yards and then raced 33 yards to the Tigers’ 5 on a quarterback keeper.

Two plays later, Smith lofted a pass toward Jonathan Santos in the end zone, but threw it too softly, which allowed George Hunter to intercept it.

“We made a key mistake at the goal line, and it really put us in a situation where I think we doubted ourselves, and we didn’t show much poise,” Dodds said.

With a minute left in the half, a roughing-the-passer penalty gave the Cobras a first down at the Tigers’ 30. But on the next play, Abe Beauplan intercepted John Smith’s pass and returned it 80 yards to give Boynton a 6-0 lead. The extra point was blocked.

“We made a lot of mistakes on offense tonight; that’s not our character,” Dodds said. “But credit Boynton Beach; they played great defense tonight.”

Jacob Mullaly started for the Tigers and completed 7 of 15 passes for 77 yards with an interception. Herring took over in the fourth quarter and gave the team a spark. Early in the fourth quarter, he raced 51 yards for a touchdown, but the play was negated by a holding penalty.

On Boynton’s final possession, Herring had runs of 8 and 11 yards, and his 14-yard pass to Alex Henningham put the Tigers on the 11 with two minutes to play, but a 15-yard penalty made the Tigers’ task tougher, and Polo’s clinching interception came one play later.