Friday Night's Football Playoff Preview Capsules
Fri. November 23, 2012 at 10:16 a.m. | By Solange Reyner
CLASS 7A: Ridge Community at Osceola
WHERE: 420 S. Thacker Avenue, Kissimmee, FL 34741.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
ABOUT RIDGE: Beat Harmony, 24-0, in a firstround playoff game last week with big games from E’Shawn Davis (58 yards on five carries rushing with two touchdowns), Shykeem Pitts (6-for-8 passing with 82 yards) and Trayvon Howard (132 yards on 22 carries) on offense. The defense held Harmony to 89 total yards and had four sacks while breaking up numerous passes. The Bolts have only allowed just 13 points in its last four games, including a 7-0 win over Lakeland for the district title on Nov. 2. Ridge lost to Osceola last year in overtime in the first round and will be looking to beat the Kowboys to get out of the regional semifinals for the first time in school history.
ABOUT KISSIMMEE OSCEOLA: Are 11-0 heading into Friday’s game after a 16-2 dominating win over Lakeland last Friday.
The victory over the Dreadnaughts was the first since 2007 for Osceola, which scored on a blocked punt, a big touchdown run and a field goal in that contest. The game was a defensive battle through three-and-a-half quarters, and Lakeland only scored on a safety late. Kissimmee’s effort was more noteworthy considering three defensive starters were out. They will also be out for the Ridge game.
Osceola has allowed 53 points all season and has blanked Celebration, St. Cloud, Harmony and Gateway. Stefon McCray was the biggest standout on offense against Lakeland. He rushed for 145 yards on 21 carries and scored on a 62-yard run in the fourth quarter. McCray has more than 10 Division I offers but has not committed yet. Coach Doug Nichols says his team will be alright if they play defensively sound.
“If they play Ridge the way they played against Lakeland we’ll be fine,” Nichols said. The key, he said, is to halt Pitts.
“He’s an athletic kid, and we’ll have to keep him contained.”
CLASS 6A: Mainland at Winter Haven
WHERE: Denison Stadium, 400 Ave A SE, Winter Haven.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
ABOUT WINTER HAVEN: Beat New Smyrna Beach on the road in the first round of the playoffs last Friday, 24-20, behind a bruising running attack.
Senior Adam Lane rushed for 153 yards on 24 carries and also scored on a 58-yard touchdown run. The Blue Devils committed two crucial turnovers, but its defense pitched a shutout in the final two quarters to seal the win. The turning point for the offense was a drive that lasted nearly nine minutes. It was capped off by a 29-yard field goal by Scott Wampler. Luke Borders had a solid game throwing the ball. He was 7 for 12 with 108 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Eric Atmore and Kendrick Holland also scored touchdowns for the Blue Devils. The last time Winter Haven made it to the regional finals was in 2005, coach Charlie Tate’s first season at the helm. The Blue Devils lost in that round to Armwood, 23-21.
ABOUT DAYTONA BEACH MAINLAND: Beat Lake Gibson in a shootout last week, 49-42, mostly on the back of quarterback Cameron Hadley, who was 16-for-35 passing with 387 yards and five touchdowns. Hadley threw zero picks and also ran the ball 10 times for 32 yards. The senior also scored on a 67-yard punt return. Mainland is 8-3 with losses to Orlando Jones, Seminole and New Smyrna Beach but has strung together six wins in a row, outscoring opponents 214-79 during that stretch. Mainland made it to the state semifinals last year in Class 6A before losing to Armwood, which had to forfeit all of its wins because it used a number of ineligible players in 2011. The team has five-star prospect Quinton Powell (79 tackles, 31 for loss, 11 sacks), a Florida recruit. Hadley now has with 1,711 yards and 22 touchdowns this year.
Line is big and led by a pair of 6-6, 300-pound lineman in Joe Rauseo and Wayne Scott.
CLASS 5A: Palmetto at Lake Wales
WHERE: Legion Field, 250 North Lakeshore Boulevard, Lake Wales
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
ABOUT LAKE WALES: Beat Bradenton Southeast last Friday, 20-17, in a first-round quarterfinal game by running the ball well and holding the Seminoles to 151 total yards of offense. Also kept the mistakes low. The Highlanders (7-4) fumbled twice but didn’t lose those balls and only had 55 yards of penalties. Lake Wales coach Rod Shafer is looking for a better effort from his offensive unit, specifically the passing game, tonight. “Overall we want to do things at a faster pace and with more speed,” Shafer said. “We’re also going to have to be able to throw the ball and complete passes.” The last time the Highlanders made it to the regional finals was in 2009. If they beat Palmetto, they could be in for a rematch against Immokalee, a team they beat 19-14 on Sept. 21.
Starting linebacker David Jones may not be able to play because of shoulder pain. Otherwise, the team is healthy. Justin Henderson leads the Highlanders with 719 yards rushing, good for 10th in the county. Tony reeves has 485 yards on the ground. Railond Garrett has t hrown for 618 yards.
ABOUT PALMETTO: Ousted Auburndale from the playoffs last week with a 27-9 win on the road, a game won mostly behind a solid passing game and good defense. Auburndale didn’t score until late in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Chris Tuten led the Tigers (9-2) on offense, completing 8 of 15 passes for 137 yards and one touchdown.
Tuten also scored two rushing touchdowns.
Palmetto’s only losses this season are to No. 1-nationally ranked Manatee and Southeast, which won the district title. Running game has two key guys in junior Josh Hicks, a Rutgers commit, and senior Cory Crawford, who is committed to Temple. But those two were held to 40 yards against Auburndale last week.