PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFF COVERAGE & RESULTS
By Space Coast Daily // November 17, 2012
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Six surviving teams from Brevard County entered play Friday night in the prep football regional semifinals.
Winners advance to the regional championship games next Friday.
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FRIDAY, NOV. 16 PREP GAMES
• PALM BAY 56, SOUTH FORK 7
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Palm Bay High School held a stirring memorial to war veterans as its pregame show Friday night and then its football team went into blitzkrieg mode as the Pirates zoomed to a 49-7 halftime lead on their way to a 56-7 regional semifinal victory over South Fork High of Stuart.
The win means Palm Bay will face Heritage — who beat Sebastian River 29-0 on Friday — on Nov. 23 at home in the next playoff round. It will be a rematch between the two cross-town rivals. The Pirates edged out a 7-6 victory over the Panthers on Nov. 2.
The Pirates scored on every one of their seven first-half possessions, and largely in lightning fashion. In one 42-second stretch of the first quarter, three touchdowns were scored – one by the visitors – on four touches of the ball.
B.J. Ross and Leroy Berry each ran for two touchdowns in the first half and neither Pirate took the field in the second because the game was so lop-sided, according to Palm Bay head coach Dan Burke.
“When the game’s out of reach, you’ve got to do that,” he explained after the game.
The veteran coach seemed nonplussed about his team’s offensive explosion after the game because he still had a bitter taste in his mouth from their previous encounter, a 21-7 loss to Treasure Coast.
“I’ve been coaching for 17 years, so I’ve seen just about everything,” he said. “And we had one of our worst 4 minutes of play we’ve ever had at the end of that game (last week). Believe me, they heard about that on Monday. So, we had a real awakening.”
The Pirates’ first possession was an 86-yard, four-minute drive that Ross finished with a 26-yard scamper into the end zone. Two minutes later, Brian Fallace hit Caleb Alves over the middle with a pass that turned into a 57-yard score after the defensive back fell down. That drive took a slim 17 seconds off the clock, but the action only sped up from there.
Returning the ensuing kickoff, Bulldog Uzzian Davis seemed to be corralled at midfield before somehow slipping through for a 75-yard touchdown to make the score 14-7.
Momentum seemed to have reversed itself on the next kickoff when Berry had to fetch the ball from the end zone after having it bounce off him at the 13 yard line. His short return forced the Pirates to start from their own four yard line. On this night, however, that was no problem.
Ross proceeded to take the next handoff 96 yards to paydirt practically untouched. That gave Palm Bay a 21-7 lead going into the second period, and the 7-4 Pirates were somewhat more methodical, but no less unstoppable as they put four more touchdowns on the board before halftime.
With 7:45 left in the half, Berry scored his 12th touchdown of the season on an 11-yard run and Caleb Alves followed a minute and a half later with an 8-yard scoring romp.
Berry posted touchdown No. 13 three minutes later from 6 yards out to make the score 42-7, and that still left time for Fallace to find Mike Duquette open in the end zone for a 6-yard scoring pass shortly before halftime to mark the 49-7 lead.
The second half was more a blur than the first as the teams played under a mandatory continuous clock rule in the fourth quarter because the Pirates held a lead larger than 35 points.
The only score in the second half came on an 18-yard scoring strike from Pirate Johnie Wainscott to Colton Kaufman with 6:30 left in the game.
– Robert Hughes
• HERITAGE 29, SEBASTIAN RIVER 0
– Friday Night Locker Room
• MERRITT ISLAND 28, JENSEN BEACH 0
BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA – There was no doubt who was going to win the game. Merritt Island held a 28-0 lead with less than 4 minutes to play, but Jensen Beach was about to ruin the Mustangs’ bid for their fifth shutout of the season.
In a season where the defense has ruled, that was not tolerable at Merritt Island. The Mustangs stopped the Falcons on three consecutive running plays from the Merritt Island 1-yard line to preserve the shutout and the eventual 28-0 victory in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
“That was a great goal-line stand,” said Merritt Island coach Jeff McLean, whose squad improved to 10-1 and will travel to Belle Glade next Friday to face Glades Central, which ousted Rockledge 34-12 Friday in another first-round playoff contest. “Our defense takes a lot of pride in getting the shutout.”
The Mustangs pressured Jensen Beach quarterback Alex Ogle all night, intercepting him twice as he completed 12 of 29 passes for 90 yards. The Falcons also were held to 64 yards rushing on 27 carries.
“Their defense is what impressed me,” said Jensen Beach coach John Fey, whose team finished its season with a 5-6 record. “Their front seven was pretty darned good. I’ll give credit where credit is due. We made some mental mistakes, but Merritt Island kept bringing it. I wish them the best of luck next week.”
Merritt Island quarterback Nick Smith found Mikey Owens wide open in the left corner of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal with 6 minutes, 12 seconds to play in the third quarter. Dylan Barnas kicked the extra point to give the Mustangs a 14-0 lead.
“I think that was the turning point,” Fey said. “That little pass play. Also, if we had made that field goal in the second quarter, that might have changed things.”
With Merritt Island clinging to a 7-0 advantage, Shane Laychur’s 32-yard field-goal attempt was wide with 4:41 to play in the first half.
T.J. Torbert gave Merritt Island good field position to eventually set up Owens’ touchdown reception when he turned his back away from the defense in a Willie Mays maneuver to catch Laychur’s 43-yard punt at the Mustangs’ 26 and sprinted to his left for a 19-yard return to the Merritt Island 45. Taquan Kelly took a pitch from Smith on the right side and broke two tackles before he was tackled by his shoestrings after a 33-yard gain down the sideline to the Jensen Beach 22.
Kelly ran to the left for 6 yards and Josh Studstill powered up the middle for 3 yards, just inches shy of a first down. Smith ran up the middle on a quarterback keeper for 6 yards and a first down at the Falcons’ 7. After two running plays netted just 3 yards, Smith connected with Owens on the scoring pass.
Merritt Island had taken a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter when Smith took a snap out of the shotgun formation, saw a big opening up the middle and sprinted 51 yards for a touchdown on the quarterback draw. Barnas kicked the PAT with 10:35 to play in the second quarter.
Smith’s scoring run was the fifth consecutive run up the middle on the five-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Fullback Josh Studstill carried the ball three consecutive times for gains of 5, 4 and 9 yards, and Kelly followed with a 6-yard run before Smith’s touchdown.
“We spread them out a little to get some people outside,” McLean said. “Then, we were able to get some one-on-one blocks. Our offensive line did a good job. . . . They’re getting better every game. We had some injuries earlier in the season and it was musical linemen for a while.”
Dom Vincent intercepted a pass by Ogle with less than a minute to play in the third quarter to give Merritt Island the ball at the Jensen Beach 46. On first down, tenacious blocks once again left an imposing gap in the middle as Kelly sprinted 46 yards for a touchdown with 28 seconds remaining in the quarter. Barnas kicked the PAT as the Mustangs extended their lead to 21-0.
“Taquan has got good quickness and acceleration,” McLean said. “When he sees a hole, he’s going to get through it if you give him some room.”
Kelly finished with 137 yards rushing on 14 carries. Smith added 71 yards on seven carries. He also completed 9 of 20 passes for 95 yards and one touchdown. Merritt Island totaled 287 yards rushing on 34 carries.
“We lost 32 seniors (off last year’s team),” McLean said. “… But the kids bought into the idea, practiced hard and worked hard. They believed in themselves. … Our defense has played so well, but we had to give the offensive guys a chance to mature and see where they fit in. Our defense has played lights out this season.”
Jensen Beach took advantage of a fake punt to nearly ruin the Mustangs’ shutout bid. Xavier Preston grabbed the snap instead of Laychur, the punter, and ran 20 yards to the Merritt Island 35 for a first down. Jordan Robinson caught a pass from Ogle over the middle on the ensuing play and kept running for a 32-yard gain to the Mustangs’ 3.
Jensen Beach was called for an illegal substitution on first down, pushing it back to the 8 when a player running from the sideline couldn’t enter the game in time to line up correctly. But, a pass-interference penalty assessed against the Mustangs advanced the ball to the Mustangs’ 4. Robinson ran to the left for a 3-yard gain to the 1.
Matt Curivan, who plays linebacker and on the offensive line, lined up as a fullback and was stopped short of the goal on second down. Ogle was halted on a quarterback keeper, and Preston failed to score on a fourth-down run.
Glades Central, which has won six state titles, and Merritt Island, which has won three state titles, also rank among the top five in total appearances in the state playoffs. Glades Central (7-4) has won seven consecutive games after an 0-4 start. The eventual champion in Class 5A will need to win four more playoff games.
– Jeff Navin
• GLADES CENTRAL 34, ROCKLEDGE 12
– Jorge Armas-Trujillo
• COCOA 56, CLEWISTON 7
Folston dashes off-tackle and races down sidelines for second TD of game. Now 21-0 Cocoa.
Jaelen Knowles runs for TD. Now 28-0 Tigers, who have scored on their first four possessions.
Knowles passes 24 yards to Folston for TD, as Togers take 35-0 lead.
Cocoa stops Clewiston again for third time tonight in red zone.
Lee dashes for third-quarter TD as Cocoa now ahead 49-0.
– Friday Night Locker Room
• TRINITY CATHOLIC 56, MCC 12
Celtics draw first blood, scoring on long run to take 7-0 lead on Hustlers.
– Daniel F. Colson