Posted: 2:09 pm Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Playoff Primer 2010: Atlantic needs to pull it together against Treasure Coast 

By Matt Porter

Next up in our playoff preview series: An inconsistent-but-talented Atlantic squad travels to Treasure Coast, which has shown the ability to make teams pay for their mistakes.

BY THE NUMBERS

09082006150603mATLANTIC
Record: 6-4
How they qualified: Second, District 8-6A; clinched with Nov. 5 win over Palm Beach Central coupled with Park Vista loss.
Average points per game: 21.5
Average points allowed per game: 12.4
Offense: 7th, large schools; 2,546 yards gained (937 rush, 1,609 pass)
Defense: 7th, large schools; 1,515 yards allowed (795 rush, 720 pass)
Offensive standouts: WR J’Rod Beard (30 catches, 466 yards, 7 touchdowns); WR Ezekiel Turner (32 catches. 346 yards, 3 touchdowns); RB Tevin Spells (78 carries, 421 yards, 2 touchdowns).
Defensive standouts: LB Jephete Matlius (Minnesota commit, No. 14 on the Big Board); DT Luther Maddy (6-3, 280); DB Kevie Defranc (5-9, 170, No. 37 on the Big Board).
Common opponents with Treasure Coast: Beat Jupiter, 20-17.

picture-10TREASURE COAST
Record: 6-4
How they qualified: District 7-6A champions; beat Vero Beach on Oct. 30 for title.
Average points per game: 13.3
Average points allowed per game: 14.0
Offense: 25th, large schools; 1,333 yards gained (1,170 rush, 163 pass)
Defense: 7th, large schools; 1,515 yards allowed (795 rush, 720 pass)
Offensive standouts: C Mike Romano (Louisville commit, 6-4, 270, No. 20 on the Big Board).
Defensive standouts: DB Lamarcus Brutus (FSU commit, 6-0, 180, No. 11 on the Big Board).
Common opponents with Atlantic: Beat Jupiter, 20-7.

Atlantic had possibly its worst game of its up-and-down 2010 season last week. Not the best news heading into the playoffs.

“We weren’t reading defenses properly, and our receivers were running the wrong routes. We looked like a preseason football team,” coach Chris Bean said.

The Eagles will need to sort out their issues (more on that in this article) before Friday night’s game against Treasure Coast, but it’s not all negative. If they can get their offense going, they have a good chance to advance to the second round.

Even without suspended All-American Keelin Smith (more below), Treasure Coast’s defense is very good. Senior Lamarcus Brutus, like Smith a Florida State commit, has the ability to lock down any of Atlantic’s talented wide receivers.

But the Titans don’t bring very much on offense. The Titans have gained 1,333 yards, ahead of only Royal Palm Beach, Forest Hill and Spanish River for fewest among large school teams.

“Physical. Good defense. A team that feasts off turnovers,” Bean said, when asked what he sees of the Titans on film. “Not much offensively. What you see in them is three yards and a cloud of dust, offensively. They’ll grind you down, grind the clock, and they’ll beat you up defensively and on special teams. You make a mistake on special teams, or offensively against their defense, and they’ll hurt you. I think their defense outscored their offense this year. I wouldn’t be surprised.”

For the Eagles, who threw six interceptions and lost two fumbles in a 6-0 loss to Palm Beach Lakes (2-8), playing mistake-free football is paramount.

“They don’t get a lot offensively, but they get enough,” Bean said of Treasure Coast. “They just wait for teams to make mistakes. Their defense is that good. If you fumble the ball, they’re going to scoop and score touchdowns.”

“We can’t throw six interceptions like we did the other night. It was awful,” Bean said.

Treasure Coast’s Smith, a preseason Palm Beach Post Super 11 selection, was suspended three games by the FHSAA for throwing a punch in a Nov. 6 game against Jupiter.

He missed last week’s 26-14 loss to Sebastian River, a 4-6 team. In that game, the Sharks fed on Treasure Coast’s offense, forcing three fumbles in the first half and scoring on a fake punt.

And despite the loss of Smith, the Titans’ secondary wasn’t to blame for the loss; Sebastian River’s Nikko Finnegan racked up 151 rushing yards in the first half.

That should give Atlantic’s offense some confidence heading in.

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