FORT PIERCE — St. Lucie West Centennial scored a pair of touchdowns 15 seconds apart in the fourth quarter then had to stop a two-point conversion late in the game in the Eagles’ 23-22 win over the Westwood Panthers in Friday night’s Kickoff Classic at Lawnwood Stadium.
Centennial scored on a 1-yard run by Jon Poma early in the fourth quarter and tacked on another TD shortly after when quarterback Tim Caffey tossed a 16-yard strike to Edwin Thomas for a 23-16 lead.
Westwood’s Artavious Pickle cashed in on his third touchdown on a short run with 1:09 remaining in the game.
The Panthers decided to go for the win, but quarterback Karnel Davidson’s two-point pass fell incomplete.
Pickle caught touchdown passes of 19 and seven yards from Davidson in the first half. Westwood also tackled punter Devin Clements, who kicked a 32-yard field goal to open the scoring, in the end zone for a safety.
Centennial’s Michael Nesmith had 93 yards on 19 carries, while Poma, a transfer from John Carroll, had 59 yards on 14 attempts.
Westwood’s Davidson passed for 120 yards. Junior Dominick Walker totaled 201 yards — 131 on three kickoff returns, including an 87-yarder, and one catch for 70 yards that set up the last touchdown.
After Poma’s short run put Centennial up 17-16, Westwood’s Davidson fumbled on a run around the right end. On the next play, Caffey fired a pass to Thomas, who dodged defenders for a 23-16 lead.
“That’s the football we know how to play,” Centennial head coach Ron Parker said of his team’s physical second-half play. “The most impressive thing I thought was that our guys learned that they can come back.”
“We’re real thin,” said Westwood head coach Gene Clemons. “We had 11 or 12 guys who are playing extremely heavy minutes on both sides of the ball, and they’re in high-impact positions.”