By Michael Bielecki
RIVERIA BEACH — The Fighting Indians defense bent all game, but did not break and running backs Jormonte Hunter, Stevie Wallace and Antone Taylor combined for 214 yards rushing on 36 carries Friday night to pace Vero Beach to a 16-0 triumph over Palm Beach Gardens.
In the fourth quarter alone, Hunter gained 66 yards on 7 carries and scored on a 2-yard TD run to cap the scoring. He finished with 93 yards on 22 carries. Vero Beach improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the district. Vero Beach kicker Pat Baker began the scoring with a 35-yard field goal with 2:21 left in the first quarter to put the Fighting Indians up for good. Hunter scored on a 2-yard dive up the middle with 9:23 left in the second quarter as Baker’s PAT caromed off the crossbar, to keep the score 9-0.
Baker’s kickoffs were a key to his team’s success tonight, as 3 of his 4 kickoffs went into the end zone for touchbacks.Palm Beach Gardens played well, but just couldn’t turn the corner in this game. Gator quarterback Tyler Bergman completed 7 of 16 passes for 88 yards. Several of his passes were dropped by open receivers, and a couple more were broken up by the Fighting Indians secondary. Gardens had a little more success running the ball, as running backs Alex Clark and Jimmy Lera combined for 146 yards on 26 carries.
Palm Beach Gardens Coach Kevin Fleury said his squaf was on the brink of turning the game around, but kept falling short.
“I take my hat off to Vero Beach, though, they are a class program and a really tough team,” said Fleury, whose team fell to 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the district.
Vero Beach Coach Gary Coggin was pleased with his team’s performance, and even played conductor to the band after the game.”Our kicking game helped us out a lot, and their long field played to our advantage,” said Coggin. “We protected the ball tonight and didn’t give up the big play. You make your own breaks. At every key point in the ball game tonight we executed properly. They are a very good second-half football team due to their big strike capability. We did what we were supposed to tonight and came out with the win.”