Boynton Beach High hung tough with Fort Lauderdale-Archbishop McCarthy for most of the game Thursday night, but the Mavericks pulled away for a 21-8 victory.
Two mistakes set the tone early in the low-scoring contest between winless teams. Boynton Beach (0-3) fumbled on the opening kickoff, giving McCarthy (1-2) the ball 21 yards from the end zone. But the Mavericks failed to capitalize as quarterback Cody Hallman was intercepted by Trenton Robinson in the end zone.
McCarthy began its first three possessions in Boynton territory but only scored on the third. Hallman lined up in the backfield, took a pitch and ran 6 yards for a touchdown.
Hallman, who played quarterback most of the game, added another score out of the backfield in the second quarter. His 1-yard touchdown run was set up by a 43-yard pass from Hallman to Nathan Nezbeth.
Boynton Beach scored with less than a minute to go in the first half. Quarterback Guenson Alexis found Charles Bryant for a 26-yard touchdown pass and the Tigers converted a two-point conversion to make it 12-8.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Mavericks added a safety on a bad snap on a Boynton Beach punt.
McCarthy drove for the clinching score behind Hallman, who ran six times for 44 yards, including a 12-yard TD run with 1:08 remaining to make it 21-8. Hallman ran for 77 yards, passed for 103 and scored all three of his team’s touchdowns.
“We’ve just got to learn how to stay together and learn how to win,” Boynton Beach coach Derrick Crudup said. “We’ve got to win one for them to know what it feels like to win, so once we cross that hurdle in the fourth quarter, we’ll blossom and we’ll shine.”
Despite the loss, Crudup saw encouraging signs that the Tigers’ rebuilding program can succeed.
“We’ve got a very resilient bunch, but we’re a young group,” he said. “It’s a bunch of JV guys and ninth- and 10th-graders, but we’re going to try and build this program.”
Crudup, in his second season as Tigers coach, sees similarities between his young team and teams he has coached in the past.
“I remember years ago when I coached at Olympic Heights, we went 0-10 and then the next year we were right in the thick of things,” he said.
The Tigers host Seminole Ridge next week.