Playoff futility is over for the Western High football team.
The Wildcats, aided by four turnovers, stunned Deerfield Beach 20-17 in a Class 8A regional quarterfinal game on Friday.
A Harrison Story touchdown pass to Jordan Smith late in the fourth quarter proved to be the decisive punch to the gut against the Bucks.
The playoff victory was the first for Western (9-2), who had lost six previous games coming in. The Wildcats will play at Palm Beach Central in a regional semifinal next Friday.
Never miss a local story.
“This is amazing,” Western coach Adam Ratkevich said. “Our motto on the back of our t-shirts read ‘Unfinished Business’.
“When we walked off this field last year I told the seniors they built this thing and I promised the junior we would be back in the state playoffs.”
The key to the Wildcats win was forcing the Bucks (8-3) into four turnovers
“You can win the ball game when you’re on the lopsided part of the turnovers.” Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn said. “We just couldn’t overcome that and penalties tonight.”
Deerfield Beach, which was ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 8A, committed 16 penalties for 120 yards on the night.
Story gave Western a 13-10 lead on a 3-yard touchdown pass to Smith with 8:54 left in the third quarter
The Bucks were making their 16th playoff appearance since 2000 and 26th playoff appearance overall since 1977.
Keshaun Clarke rushed for 104 yards on 23 carries for Western.
The Bucks got a late score on a 34 yard scoring pass from Kyle Kaplan to Donte Banton with 2:50 left to play.
Deerfield Beach led 10-7 at the half on a Jaylan Knighton 34 yard run and Linden Rivera 30-yard field goal. Knighton finished with 129 yards on 23 carries.
Western had tied the score at 7-7 with 5:19 left in the second quarter on a Story 2-yard quarterback sneak.
WESTERN 20, DEERFIELD BEACH 17
DB -- Knighton 34 run (Rivera kick)
W -- Story 2 run (Galindo kick)
DB -- Rivera 30 FG
W -- Smith 3 pass from Story (run failed)
W -- Smith 7 pass from Story (Galindo kick)
DB -- Banton 34 pass from Kaplan (Rivera kick)