Palmetto Football Season Overview: A Year to Remember


Palmetto wide receiver Brashard Smith runs through the defense en route to a 10-7 victory against Vero Beach. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Lewis/ImageReflex)

Jack Meyer, Online Editor-in-Chief

Just a few months ago, there was uncertainty as to if Palmetto would even play football at all this year. Now, the Panthers have finished their most successful season in the school’s history after an unprecedented playoff run that took them all the way to the Class 8A State Semi-Finals. 

Palmetto entered this season coming off one of a strong showing in 2019, where they finished 10-2. However, the Panthers also came into 2020 looking for redemption and hoped to make a deep postseason run after being ousted in the second round of the playoffs last year. 

Since Miami-Dade County Public schools did not formally open until October, the Panthers got a late start to their season and had to play an abbreviated schedule as a result. After just two regular season games where they had one win and one loss, Palmetto soon kicked off their postseason run with a 10-0 victory against Dr. Phillips. 

However, the win came at a cost, as starting quarterback Kevin Smith suffered a leg injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the postseason. While this forced the Panthers to drastically change their offensive gameplan, they looked as strong as ever over the following three weeks. 

Palmetto’s next win came against Treasure Coast in a 22-21 overtime thriller that came down to the very final play, where the Panthers chose to attempt a two-point conversion in overtime rather than the traditional extra point kick. The risk paid off and the conversion proved successful, showing that Palmetto had what it took to make a deep postseason run. 

After their victory against Treasure Coast, the Panthers faced off against Vero Beach in the Region Three Final. The Panthers jumped out to an early 10-0 lead and controlled the ball for the majority of the game. Although Vero Beach later scored a field goal and nearly sparked a fourth quarter comeback, Palmetto’s defense stepped up and forced a fumble that secured their victory and their first ever trip to the State Semi-Finals. 

Unfortunately, Palmetto’s run came to an end against Osceola after the latter blocked a field goal and ran it back for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Like nearly every game they took part in this season, it came down to the wire, but the Panthers were unable to score a touchdown on the final drive of the game and lost by a score of 9-3 as a result. 

While the ending to the Panthers season did hurt, it proved to be a historic year for Palmetto. Numerous players from this year’s roster intend to play football at the collegiate level next year, including defensive linemen Leonard Taylor and Savion Collins, wide receiver Brashard Smith and defensive backs Corey Collier and Jason Marshall. Taylor and Smith have committed to play with the Miami Hurricanes, while Collier and Marshall plan on joining the Florida Gators; Collins has yet to decide where he will enroll. 

In a school year filled with uncertainty, Palmetto football had to overcome several obstacles to even make this season happen. Not only did they manage to complete their season, but they made Palmetto history in the process and have gone down as one of the best teams that the school has ever seen.