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

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - SPORTS - By Adam Licht­en­stein alicht­en­stein@ sun-sen­tinel.com

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.

JEN­NIFER LETT/SUN SEN­TINEL

JEN­NIFER LETT/SUN SEN­TINEL

At­lantic’s Kalani Ili­ma­le­ota pre­pares to pass dur­ing Fri­day night's game against West­ern in Del­ray Beach.

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