Jupiter High wins season opener vs. Okeechobee

Jupiter High’s varsity football team defeated Okeechobee High School with a final score of 37-6 on Aug. 19.

Maximus Pareto, senior running back, led the team to victory with two touchdowns.

“It’s not just me, it’s my teammates and my coaches,” Pareto said after the win. “I’m really excited, we put some nice work in to get here, and it feels great.”

Pareto and his teammates believe a big part of where they are now is because of  their coaching staff.

“The biggest takeaway from last night was the guys that stepped up and played in place of the numerous starters that we had on the sideline,” Timothy Tharp, head football coach, said.

Although they did not have a full starting roster, the Warriors were still able to easily defeat Okeechobee. They still have skills to improve on, especially with a healthy lineup.

“Getting better is definitely a goal; just seeing how all the seniors that I’ve been playing with for three years are able to improve the team, improve ourselves and hopefully get a lot more wins this season,” Billy Bates, quarterback, said.

Bates and the Warrior offense weren’t the only ones consistently dominant throughout the game. The defense had a lockdown outing, allowing only 6 points to be scored, all of which came late in the fourth quarter.

“It was exciting that we got the ball back so we could move up the field and score another touchdown,” Cash Ciliento, outside linebacker, said. 

Ciliento forced a big fumble in the third quarter, followed by an offensive touchdown to push the Warriors to a commanding 37-0 lead. One major aspect of the team’s success has been consistent practices.

“I feel really pleased, getting off on the right foot,” Tharp said. “It’s always good to win, especially your season opener. We still have a lot of work to do but I’m happy because the kids are putting in a lot of effort and time.”

The Warriors’ abilities will be put to the test on Aug. 27, where they take on crosstown rival Dwyer High School. 

“I’m ready but a little nervous,” Pareto said. “We’re going to put in a lot of work this week and are going to be ready for them.”

Pareto says the key to winning on Friday is to practice, including conditioning and looking to the coaches.

“The win is definitely going to give us some momentum going into the Dwyer game, but I hope we have a good week of practice and a good game again Friday,” Bates said.

Bates and his teammates are hoping for their season-opening win to give them the momentum they need going into one of the biggest, most important games of the season.

“I think our kids do a pretty good job of keeping their sights on the right things,” Tharp said, regarding the upcoming game versus Dwyer. “They’ve learned to expect to be successful, which I think is over half the battle.”