Posted: 3:07 pm Monday, November 15th, 2010

Playoff Primer 2010: King’s prepares for “hungry” Dade Christian 

By Jeff Greer

Updated on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 1:43 p.m.

There are 18 playoff games across every class involving teams from our area. This week, Matt and I will break down every matchup.

My breakdowns start with King’s Academy vs. Miami-Dade Christian.

The Lions will take their talents to Miami, where on Friday night, they will take on a talented Dade Christian team that won District 8-1A. Kickoff is set for 7:30. Admission is $7.

BY THE NUMBERS

kings1KING’S
Record: 9-1
How they qualified: Finished second in 7-1A, lost to district winner American Heritage
Average points per game: 28.7
Average points allowed per game: 11.4
Offensive yardage totals: 3,048 (1,700 rush, 1,348 pass)
Offensive stars: RB Brian Grove (1,260 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns), QB Shane Bussey (1,282 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 58% completion percentage)
Defensive stars: LB Gage Batten (leads a defense that has held opponents under 10 points seven times)
Common opponents with Dade Christian: Florida Christian (King’s won, 22-9; Dade won, 42-14); Glades Day (King’s won, 42-21; Dade won 20-0)

dade-christian-flDADE CHRISTIAN
Record: 9-1
How they qualified: District 8-1A champions
Average points per game: 35.7
Average points allowed per game: 9.3
Offensive yardage totals: 3,860 (2,713 rushing, 1,147 passing)
Offensive stars: RB Chris Elliot (882 rushing yards, 15 touchdowns), QB Bilal Marshall (1,147 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 58.3% completion percentage, 841 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns), WR Terrance Alls (24 receptions, 407 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns)
Defensive stars: DB Ryan Janvion (68 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 interception)

King’s runs exactly the kind of defense that tends to bottle up the wing-T offense, which is Dade Christian’s offense. Last week, against rival Cardinal Newman, King’s mostly kept Newman’s running backs between the ends and tackles, limiting them to a few outside runs. The Lions will need to do the same thing on Friday, using their 4-3 base defense that has safeties playing the alleys and linebackers controlling the gaps. King’s coach Craig Dobson said the key is having his linebackers running down hill (north to south) and hemming Dade’s athletes in.

“We lean toward the great athletes,” Dobson explained. “Like when we played against Glades Day and Kelvin Taylor, wherever he went, we went. We knew he’d get the majority of the touches. Then we adjust to the secondary options as they come.”

King’s held Taylor to 78 rushing yards in a 42-21 win on Oct. 29.

Against Dade Christian, King’s will focus on three guys in particular: QB Bilal Marshall, RB Chris Elliot and WR Terrance Alls.

Through nine games (the Miami Herald only has stats through Dade’s first nine games), Marshall has 807 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He’s thrown for 967 yards and 11 touchdowns. The wing-T offense can either prominently feature a dual-threat QB, or hide the QB behind a multi-pronged rushing attack. Let’s just say Marshall is prominently featured.

“They’re hungry, fast, athletic,” Dobson said. “We’re playing very good defense but we have to continue. That quarterback is a heck of an athlete.”

On offense, as usual, King’s will have a completely different look. Dobson said he generally avoids running any plays that he called in previous weeks. He has five or six new-to-the-outside-world plays that work in each new game plan, and his team executes them. There’s a reason why King’s is 9-1.

“We do a little bit of everything,” Dobson said.

Dobson said Dade Christian runs the 44 defense as its base. That means four down linemen and four linebackers, with three defensive backs covering down field. He added that Dade Christian plays a lot of zone against the pass. It seems to be working — defense is Dade’s specialty. Dade gives up 9.3 points a game, although the Crusaders’ first loss came on Friday night, when they allowed 35 against Immokalee.

But beyond Xs and Os, Dobson worried most about his team’s motivation.

“You have to stay hungry,” Dobson said. “We’ve got baseball players, basketball players, guys who play other sports. We try to keep their minds on football and keep things entertaining on Friday nights. That’s part of why we run our offense the way we do. Motivation is the key to keep playing.”

Oh, and there’s the chance to get another shot at American Heritage, provided both teams win. But the Lions have to get past Dade Christian first.

“I’m expecting it to be a doggone good game,” Dobson said. “A real barnburner.”

For the prediction of this and every first-round playoff game, click here.

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