Posted: 12:04 pm Monday, November 8th, 2010

Cardinal Newman prepares for challenging Monday night tiebreaker 

By Jeff Greer

Cardinal Newman (7-2) knew it would be in this spot if it topped Inlet Grove on Friday night. The Crusaders will play in a three-way tiebreaker to determine second place — and a playoff spot — in District 7-2B. Here’s a quick primer on what to expect at Cardinal Newman tonight.

Newman will host Pine Crest and North Broward Prep, two Broward County teams that also finished 3-2 in the district. North Broward Prep beat Cardinal Newman 35-18 back on Oct. 29. Cardinal Newman defeated Pine Crest 28-20 on Oct. 1.

The bad news. In both of those games, Newman gave up more than 300 yards of offense. North Broward racked up 363 total yards (226 rushing, 137 passing) vs. Newman. Traveon Henry’s 232 rushing yards helped Pine Crest compile 279 yards on the ground against Newman. North Broward bottled up Newman star running back Troy Campana (34 yards).

The good news. The good news is that Cardinal Newman moved the ball against Pine Crest and got a big play against North Broward Prep, and one big play may be all the Crusaders need on Monday night. Brett Benes threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns vs. Pine Crest, and Travis Rudolph popped off an 80-yard touchdown run against North Broward Prep. Plus, coach Steve Walsh said both opponents are similar, making his staff’s preparation process a little easier.

“They both play 40 defenses and what they like to do coverage-wise is very similar,” Walsh said. “Offensively, they are similar, too. North Broward passes a little better, but Pine Crest has an unbelievable running back.”

Everyone’s in the same boat. All three teams played on Friday night, making the challenge an exhausting exercise in mental and physical stamina. Walsh said his team took it easy on Saturday and had some fun, watching film from the Inlet Grove game and talking about the game plan for Monday night.

Cardinal Newman gets to watch the first tiebreaker unfold as it stays loose on the sidelines. The Crusaders get the winner of the first 12 minutes and the advantage of only needing to win one quarter.

Players to Watch:

Traveon Henry (Pine Crest): Rushed for 1,383 yards and 18 touchdowns through nine games this season.

Brett Benes (Cardinal Newman): The QB has 984 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions.

A.J. Sebastiano (North Broward Prep): Extremely talented WR has 682 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.

I will be there following all the action. Follow me on Twitter to get up-to-the-second updates from the tiebreaker and check PBGametime.com after the game for more.