High School Football Playoff Preview: Four Brevard County Teams Look To Survive and Advance
By Zach Clark // November 18, 2016
Friday Night Locker Room Coverage
ABOVE VIDEO: The Friday Night Locker Room and Space Coast Daily previews Week 2 of the High School Playoffs from Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Cocoa.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Week 1 of the Florida High School Playoffs is in the books and Brevard County has four teams advancing to week 2 of the playoffs.
The only team from Brevard County to not advance last week was Merritt Island, who fought valiantly against Bishop Moore in Orlando last week but came up short 21-19.
This week every team in Brevard County will be at home for their playoff matchup. Cocoa, MCC, Palm Bay and Viera look to be the favorites in each of their playoff games.
Two Brevard County teams have rematches from games played earlier this year; Cocoa and Viera each host teams they dismantled in the regular season. Cocoa taking on Jones (Orlando) and Viera squaring up with fellow 7a district 6 foe Martin County.
Meanwhile, MCC (10-0) and Palm Bay (10-0), Brevard County’s only two undefeated squads, face new teams this week as the MCC Hustlers host Clearwater Central Catholic and Palm Bay welcomes Bishop Moore.
Here is the Week 2 playoff preview.
PALM BAY (10-0) VS BISHOP MOORE (10-1)
It’s been a special season for the Palm Bay Pirates this 2016 season. Dan Burke and Co. will look to continue their perfect season Friday night when they take on Bishop Moore (10-1) at Palm Bay Pirates Stadium. Palm Bay running back B.J. Daniels led the Pirates to 49-10 victory last week against Eustis after the senior posted three touchdowns on the ground.
Bishop Moore held off the Merritt Island Mustangs last week after a late 2-point conversion to tie the game by Merritt Island was unsuccessful, clinching Bishop Moore’s ticket to a date with Palm Bay Friday night.
B.J. Daniels has been on terror this season for opposing defenses. The 6-foot-2, 200 pound senior has carried the Palm Bay offense all year by rushing for over 1,500 yards in the regular season and 22 touchdowns.
The Palm Bay defense is the best in Brevard County. Having only given up 60 points on the year, including last week’s playoff game against Eustis, the Pirates do everything well that championship teams are suppose to do. Great defense, controlling the clock and an explosive run game are areas Palm Bay has had success with all year. They will need to continue that Friday night against the Hornets.
Bishop Moore and quarterback Connor Scheitzach hope to spoil the Pirates perfect season Friday night. Riding a 8-game winning streak, the Hornets have been playing great football as of late. They defeated Palm Bay’s first playoff round opponent Eustis back on October 28 by a score of 42-14. Coach Mark Hedrick will look to load up the box against Palm Bay and force Palm Bay quarterback Stuart Brown to beat the Hornets through the air.
ABOVE VIDEO: Palm Bay Running Back B.J. Daniels was Friday Night Locker Room’s Player of the Game a few weeks ago when Palm Bay defeated Merritt Island 27-10.
If Bishop Moore can’t slow down Daniels and the Pirate rushing attack, it could be a long night for the visitors from Orlando.
Game can be heard on Space Coast Daily as Alan Zlotorzynski and Zach Clark bring you play-by-play coverage, courtesy of the Friday Night Locker Room and Space Coast Daily. Pregame set for 7:15 p.m.
VIERA (8-2) VS MARTIN COUNTY (8-2)
The only team to represent Brevard County in the State Championships last year is playing host to another rematch with Martin County in week 2 of the playoffs. Viera defeated the Tigers on October 14 by racking up a 55-24 blowout win at home. The Viera defense was on fire that October night where the Hawks accumulated eight sacks in the game and had three sacks.
Viera quarterback Tim Demorat was on-point in that contest, Demorat completed 13 out of 17 passes and averaged 10-yards a pass.
Martin County must protect quarterback Austin Kuyrkendall to have any success against the Hawks Friday night. If given time in the pocket, Kuyrkendall can pick apart defenses. He is averaging nearly 300 yards passing a game and has over 2,600 passing yards in total for 2016.
ABOVE VIDEO: Viera Head Coach Kevin Mays on talks about Saturday’s matchup with Martin County.
Viera has to rush to the quarterback in this game like they did in last month’s game and force Kuyrkendall to make quick decisions. Viera has shown they can rush the quarterback with great success. Pass protection for Martin County will be key for the Tigers.
Given time, Martin County’s aerial attack has shown their quick strike capability if their big boys on the offensive line can protect their signal caller.
COCOA (9-1) VS JONES (ORLANDO) (10-1)
Cocoa Tigers (9-1) showed why they are considered one of the top teams in Florida last week after demolishing Bishop Verot 64-0. The Tigers only loss came when they visited the nation’s No. 1 Bishop Gorman (12-0) in Las Vegas back in September.
Friday’s contest against Jones (Orlando) (10-1) is a rematch from a game earlier this year where the Cocoa Tigers blew out Jones 41-6 on October 14.
The Tigers rushing attack, led by running backs Lasedrick King and Timmy Pratt, had a lot of success the last time they faced Jones. Cocoa totaled over 400 rushing yards against Jones last month and running back Javian Hawkins accounted for over 100 yards in the contest.
ABOVE VIDEO: Friday Night Locker Room’s Steve Wilson and Cocoa Tiger Jay Hawkins talk about Cocoa’s win over Rockledge in the BBQ Bowl two weeks ago.
If Jones wants to keep this game close they must do better in run defense and force Cocoa quarterback Bruce Judson to throw the ball and earn a few takeaways. Judson hasn’t needed to throw the ball, due to their success on the ground. The USF commit has only thrown the ball a total of 78 times. In fact, Judson has the same amount of rushing attempts as he does passing attempts (78).
If Jones wants to pull of the upset, the Fightin’ Tigers have to get quarterback Quadry Jones and Vincent Thomas rolling early. Quadry Jones has had a solid year passing the ball by throwing for over 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. His go-to wide receiver Vincent Thomas has over 700 yards receiving, 41 receptions and 11 touchdowns.
The Fightin’ Tigers have to dictate the pace of the game and catch a few breaks, in order for Jones to come out on top of Cocoa Friday night.
Cocoa needs to do what they have done all year, run the ball with success and play lockdown defense.
Friday Night Locker Room’s Steve Wilson and Orville will be on the call for play-by-play coverage, heard here on Space Coast Daily. Pregame set for 7:15.
MCC (10-0) VS CLEARWATER CC (9-1)
Melbourne Central Catholic has been this year’s surprise team in Brevard County after finishing the regular season undefeated and last week’s playoff win versus Cardinal Mooney 56-34.
MCC faces a tough Clearwater Central Catholic (9-1) team that beat John Carroll Catholic 42-14 in week 1 of the playoffs. MCC beat John Carroll last month 52-7.
This MCC team hasn’t been a surprise, in terms of wins, but rather the way they have won every game. Not a single team has come within two touchdowns of this MCC Hustlers squad. The closest team to defeat the Hustlers, in terms of the final score, was Champagnat Catholic back on October 28 after the Hustlers defeated the Lions 36-18.
Led by junior quarterback Joaquin Collazo, the Hustlers offense is just as dominant as their defense. Collazo leads Brevard County in passing with over 2100 yards, 26 touchdowns and 8 interceptions on the year.
Collazo is a special talent that could be getting many looks at the FBS level in the next year.
ABOVE VIDEO: MCC QB Joaquin Collazo after Hustlers win 56-34 against Cardinal Mooney.
Last week’s Friday Night Locker Room Player of the Game Lorenzo Hardy shined on both sides of the ball while raking in three touchdowns, including a 85-yard touchdown return on a blocked field goal in the first quarter versus Cardinal Mooney.
If Clearwater CC wants to pull off the upset, they have to disrupt Collazo’s rhythm on offense and control the line of scrimmage against a tenacious defensive front of MCC.
ABOVE VIDEO: Friday Night Locker Room Player of the Game MCC WR/DB Lorenzo Hardy with three touchdowns after a 56-34 win over Cardinal Mooney.
Senior running back Jervon Newton for the Marauders must continue to pound the rock and wear down the MCC defense. Newton averages 120 yards a game and averages nearly 7-yards a carry. If the Marauders can achieve that Friday night and force Collazo to make some mistakes, it could be enough for Clearwater CC to pull off an upset.
MCC has to do what they have all done all year to advance to week 3 of the playoffs, score a lot of points and force Clearwater into third down and longs on offense.
Clearwater likes to run the ball, their running back Newton has more rushing carries alone (163) than their starting quarterback has passing attempts (140). If the Hustlers can limit turnovers, force Clearwater into obvious passing downs, win first downs and second downs, it could give first-year head coach Stacy Sizemore and MCC a Class 3A State Semifinal berth Friday night.