Wildcats end historic season at Atlantic Community High School


Haldane Davis

Wildcats drive down the field during the Atlantic playoff game on Nov. 24.

The varsity football team may have ended their post-season with a 22-35 loss to Atlantic on Nov. 24, but they made history with a record breaking season. Their regular season record of 10-2 was the best a Wildcat team has ever achieved. They also won their first playoff game and advanced to the third round of regional play.  

On Nov. 10, the Wildcats began their historic playoff performance. They played their first 8A playoff game against the Deerfield Beach Bucks.They started off the game with a chip on their shoulder because predictions had Deerfield winning the game due to the team’s success in former years and being ranked number 1 in class 8A for most of the season.   

Five minutes into the game, Deerfield had already put points on the board, the Wildcats now trailing 0-7. After rushing the ball through the defense, the Wildcats finally managed to score and went into halftime 10-7.

Shortly after, the Bucks scored again and got a field goal, increasing their score to 17. However, the Wildcat offense did not give up.

Down after down, they managed to inch their way into the endzone and score two more times, making the score 20-17, securing the first playoff win in school history.  

“I love it, everyone doubting us. Keep it coming, it puts a chip on our shoulder and makes the win even more memorable,” senior lineman Ethan Rodriguez said after the game.

Everyone on the team was excited, but they didn’t let it get to their head.

“Yeah we won, but we are still not finished. I won’t be satisfied until I make it all the way,” senior receiver Blake Scott said.

Their next game on Nov. 11 against Palm Beach Central was set to be a blowout against the team. The game started off rough: no first downs, incomplete passes and turnovers.

“In the first three quarters, we could not get in a rhythm at all: incomplete passes, bad defense. And there was no one specific to blame; it was just not working,” senior Charlie Dale said.

Palm Beach Central went into the 4th quarter dominating the Wildcats 12-2. Then things finally started to click.

“Our quarterback Harrison Story got it started for us. He is our leader and proved that in this game,” head coach Adam Ratkevich said.

Harrison ran the ball in for the first Wildcat touchdown, making the score 12-8. “After scoring that touchdown, it was basically a confidence boost,” senior Dannie Sanders said.

Shortly after, running back Keshaun Clarke scrambled into the endzone for a touchdown to take the lead. Now the score was 14-12, but the Wildcats still had to play defense to stop them from getting into field goal territory. They managed to hold them down to the last play, and they capped off the game by getting a sack on the quarterback to seal the deal.

In their final game against Atlantic High school in Delray, the team was mentally prepared to continue their playoff run. “It [was] a mental game at [that] point. We [needed] to stay locked in and secure [that] win,”  Dale said.

The game started off in favor of Atlantic. On opening kick, they ran the ball back for a touchdown. Senior Student Andre Williams who attended the game said, “I was on Snapchat, and I didn’t even know the game started, then I heard everyone [Atlantic fans] yelling and saw we were already down 6-0.”

Atlantic didn’t stop there. They managed to score 14 unanswered points in the 1st quarter alone, leaving the score 14-0. However, shortly after the commencement of the 2nd quarter, quarterback  Story threw a touchdown pass to running back Keshaun Clarke. This touchdown didn’t make enough of a dent on the score because the Atlantic Eagles managed to keep scoring, raising the deficit to 35-6. After a 47-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jaeden Fagan, the margin narrowed to 14-35. Shortly after getting the ball back, Story threw another 45-yard touchdown to Fagan, which would make the final score 22-35.

Despite ending on a tough loss, the team relishes the season’s success.

“These are my brothers and this bond we have goes beyond this game. We are still [going to] be a family even if we never all play competitively on the same field again,” senior Frankie Heran said.