Posted: 7:12 pm Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Undefeated Fort Pierce teams meet for marquee matchup 

By Jeff Greer

TCPalm writer Laurel Pfahler wrote that this week’s Fort Pierce Westwood (8-0) vs. Fort Pierce Central (8-0) showdown might be “the biggest matchup in area history.”

St. Lucie County athletic director Jay Stewart told Pfahler that he expects “at least double” the usual 2,000 fans that come to watch Showdown 31.

The stage is set. The marquee is bright. The headlines are bold. And the game will be jam-packed with talent at almost every position.

Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s game, which kicks off at 7 p.m. up at Lawnwood Stadium in Fort Pierce.

The trenches will be full of big bodies and all kinds of Division I talent. Both lines play a major role in why these teams are among the best in the area at both running the ball and stuffing the run.

Third-ranked Westwood allows 3.3 yards a carry and gets 5.2. Central allows 3.7 and picks up 5.4.

For No. 7 Fort Pierce Central, there’s beastly defensive end/offensive tackle Giorgio Newberry (6-5, 260, No. 5 on the Big Board) and his massive sidekick, Mike Marsaille (6-5, 310, No. 42 on the Big Board). Newberry will play at FSU next year. Marsaille has scholarship offers from Memphis and FAU and heavy interest from Western Kentucky and Iowa State, where Coach Chris Hutchings said that Marsaille blew away coaches at a summer camp for linemen. Both have lived up to their preseason hype.

They are a pair of big boys that make Central’s line imposing. But that shouldn’t intimidate Westwood’s big fellas.

Senior D-tackle and UCF commit Demetris Anderson (6-3, 285, No. 17 on the Big Board) is a monster who has made waves this fall. So has Nathaniel Morris, a 6-1, 220-pounder who was second on his team in tackles with 60 before last Friday’s win. And how’d we get this far without mentioning defensive end Wonderful Monds (6-3, 212, No. 22 on the Big Board), one of the top ends in the area?

Whoever wins the fight on the lines will win the game, but there are plenty of highlight-makers at skill positions, too.

I’d argue that Westwood’s standout junior QB Travares Copeland has the most riding on his shoulders on Friday night. He is Westwood’s playmaker and can make or break the Panthers’ chances, not just in this game but the rest of the year.

Copeland (5-11, 170) will be one of the highest-rated athletes in Florida when the rankings eventually come out for his class. He has the fifth-highest number of passing yards (1,045) in the area with 13 TDs to just four picks. He’s been called everything under the sun, but electrifying comes up the most.

Copeland’s go-to receiver Wonderful Terry’s big-play ability will provide some fireworks, too. Terry has 17 catches this year — seven for touchdowns — and he averages 20-plus yards a reception. Running back Cameron Toombs gives the Panthers a versatile workhorse in the backfield. He’s taken 91 carries for 513 yards and five scores. His ability to find space could create major problems for Fort Pierce Central if the Cobras are already focusing on Copeland and Terry.

Central quarterback Marcus Sigmon has put together a nice season of his own. Through eight games, Sigmon has 996 passing yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s thrown six interceptions.

Sigmon’s main targets, Nikolas Guevara and Keion Williams, are a major reason why Sigmon has completed 68.7 percent of his passes. And like Toombs, Central’s feature back Louis Mathieu can get big chunks each time he totes the rock.

That’s a fly-by look at what should be one of the best games of the year. Like I said above, this game will be decided in the trenches and should feature some of the best line play that the area will see this year, if not the best. That’s why Lawnwood is expecting to be packed, and the lights will shine brighter than ever on Friday night. Watch The Playbook and read our picks column to find out who Matt and I think will win.