SEBASTIAN — Sebastian River High School did what was predicted Friday night by defeating Berean Christian High School of West Palm Beach 50-6 at Sharks Stadium.
The lopsided score in the kickoff game was a function of a Class 4A team simply out-manning a much smaller Class 1B team.
The FSHAA establishes conference alignments based on school size.
The Sharks bolted to a 34-6 halftime lead in a game that was decided early. Berean countered the first Sebastian River touchdown with a long kickoff return for their only points. It was all Sharks after that.
Head coach Randy Bethel was satisfied with the Sharks performance overall, but expressed mild displeasure with the number of penalties.
“The guys played hard, but we had too many penalties,” he said. “We have to fix that.”
The yardage on offense was balanced between rushing and passing. Quarterback Wesley Wilson threw for two touchdowns and a two point conversion.
“We sustained some drives,” Bethel noted. “We also put the ball up in the air more than we regularly do.”
The defense was in control of the line of scrimmage all night. While the coach clearly prefers to attack with the running game, the results on the other side of the ball left little room for doubt.
“We only gave up one play of more than twenty yards,” he said.
Bethel lauded the athleticism exhibited on Berean’s lone score, but also cited a breakdown in lane assignments by his kickoff coverage team.
Everything will get much tougher next week when Bethel takes his squad down the road for a rematch with Vero Beach at the Citrus Bowl.
The Sharks defeated Vero 13-10 in a preseason game at home last year, but then lost five of the next seven before winning the last three to finish at 5-5. With a 21-12 win on the road versus Treasure Coast in the finale, the season ended on the upswing.
Bethel graduated from Vero Beach High, but says that doesn’t necessarily ramp up his emotions going in. The game between county neighborhood schools takes on its own significance. Besides, from a coaching perspective, it’s always eleven-on-eleven, and that never changes.
In his 14th year as head coach at Sebastian River, Bethel is closing in on seventy career wins. He has built the football program from its infancy by remaining focused on the next task at hand, be it in practice or a game.
There’s no getting around it, though. The next game is a big one.