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Jensen Beach football: Full steam ahead for Dennis Palmer Jr. in Port St. Lucie win

SportsJensen Beach football: Full steam ahead for Dennis Palmer Jr. in Port St. Lucie win

JENSEN BEACH — Jensen Bespanch footbspanll secured its first district victory of the season with a 28-0 win over the Port St. Lucie Jaguars on Monday in a game postponed from last week by Hurricane Ian. 

Junior running back Dennis Pspanlmer found the end zone twice in a dominant all-around display to help the Falcons (5-1) seal the deal.

“I am not surprised by anything he does,” Jensen Beach head coach Tim Caffey said. “I keep saying it and I am going to say it again until everyone on the East Coast of Florida realizes he is one of the best backs on the East Coast. He was outstanding today and I am not surprised. He can run, block, catch, has great vision and he is strong.”

It was a recovery performance for the Falcons, who suffered their first defeat last week 49-30 at Benjamin in Palm Beach Gardens. 

Jensen Beach High School’s running back Dennis Palmer (1) runs the ball against Port St. Lucie High School in a high school football game on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022 at Jensen Beach High School. Jensen Beach won 28-0.

Jensen Beach took control of the game quickly, forcing a three-and-out, then answering on the next drive with a long touchdown pass from Gio Cascione to Jamari Marshall with 8:07 to go in the first quarter.

After getting another quick stop, Vaughn O’Brien put them up by two scores with a rushing touchdown four minutes later.

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Michael Tolbert gave Port St. Lucie (2-3) its first bit of momentum after picking off Cascione with 7:40 to go in the second quarter. The Falcons answered the bell on defense when the Jaguars were deep in their zone, with Julius Puryear picking up a crucial third down sack before forcing an incompletion on fourth down.

The second half was all Palmer, with the 5-foot-10, 185-pound running back turning a 1st-and-40 from the 49-yard line into points on his own in two plays with 5:41 to go in the third quarter. He put some salt in the Jaguars’ wound with a 10-yard rushing touchdown with 5:30 to go in the fourth quarter.

“It was a battle,” Caffey said. “Port St. Lucie has some athletes and I think we had a few breaks go our way early. We kept our foot on the pedal a little bit but it was a good game and a good district win. You always want to be one-up on the district and then everything else can take care of itself.”

Here are three takeaways from Monday night’s action:

Dennis Palmer Jr. drives Falcons to district win

On top of his two touchdowns, Palmer kept the Falcons’ offense going with his powerful presence in the rushing game. He broke over a dozen tackles throughout the game, often pushing piles of defenders on his own to pick up first downs.

Ultimately, it was his herculean strength on the ground that helped the Falcons grind out the clock and secure the victory.

“Every team needs a bell cow,” Caffey said. “You know you can hang your hat on that kid. He gets the guys going and lets them know that no matter what that when we play as a team, we can get it done.”

Jensen Beach defense comes through in the clutch

On both occasions Port St. Lucie made it deep into Jensen Beach territory, their defense came through with big plays.

Jensen Beach High School hosts Port St. Lucie High School in a high school football game on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022 at Jensen Beach High School. Jensen Beach won 28-0.

In the first half, it was Julius Puryear’s sack on third down. He later forced an errant throw on fourth down. In the second half, Omarion Hall broke up a pass on fourth-and-long.

“It’s huge because they have some long, tall receivers and a quarterback who throws really well,” Caffey said. “We wanted to make sure we made it difficult for them all the way through the catch, made it difficult for them on the line of scrimmage, so it was huge for our defense to bring the pressure.”

Falcons’ defensive line snuffs out rushing game completely

The Jaguars were not able to get anything going in the rushing game and it was largely due to the Falcons’ stout defensive line. They swarmed backs like Saleem Felder on nearly every rushing attempt and forced Port St. Lucie to abandon the rushing game early.

Jensen Beach’s pass rush also forced a slew of incomplete passes and collected a few sacks to hold Port St. Lucie off the scoreboard.

“All of those kids played really hard,” Caffey said. “Puryear, Carlos McCormack, Zack Riggins-Wison Sebastian Dinardo, plus our linebackers. We did a little bit of a switch at our linebackers this week but they played really hard and our job was to try to make them one-dimensional.”

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