Western players celebrate a big play during the first half of the game against Atlantic in Delray Beach on Friday.
Wildcats flip result of last season’s regional final
Western won 21-7 to advance to the second round of the state playoffs.
DELRAY BEACH — Last year, Western knocked off favored Deerfield Beach in the first round of the playoffs before losing to Atlantic in the regional finals. This year, they started with an upset over Atlantic.
The seventh-seeded Wildcats took down No. 2 seed Atlantic 21-7 in the Class 8A regional quarterfinals in Delray Beach.
Western went ahead on a long opening drive, aided by 34 yards of Atlantic penalties. Wildcats quarterback Jesse Rivera punched in the only score of the first half from 1 yard out.
Western had more good opportunities to score, starting a pair of drives at the Atlantic 35-yard line and 13-yard line. Both of them ended with Atlantic stops on fourth-and-short plays.
The Eagles tried multiple times to hit deep passes, but quarterback Kalani Ilimaleota connected with his receiver only one time. That connection came on Atlantic’s final drive of the half when Ilimaleota hit Javone Jackson for a 49-yard reception. But the Eagles’ scoring chances ended as time ran out in the first half.
Atlantic tied the score early in the third quarter with a 2-yard run by Henry Bryant III, but the Eagles could not hold onto the momentum.
After Myles Wilson intercepted an Atlantic pass and took it the Eagles’ 38-yard line, Rivera tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Shamarr Wright that put the Wildcats back out in front.
Rivera scored the final dagger, punching in a 1-yard touchdown pass to give the Wildcats a 21-7 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Atlantic’s Kalani Ilimaleota prepares to pass during Friday night's game against Western in Delray Beach.