Posted: 10:21 pm Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Playoff Primer 2010: Okeechobee hopes to upset Hollywood Hills 

By Jeff Greer

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

Okeechobee finished 3-7 this year, but the Brahmans got the one win that mattered most, a 21-8 victory over district foe Palm Beach Lakes that sent them to the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. Next up: Hollywood Hills.

Okeechobee has been outscored by an average of two touchdowns a game, but a few bounces and big plays could help the Brahmans pull off the upset and win their first playoff game since 1996. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Admission is $7.

BY THE NUMBERS

okeechobeehsOKEECHOBEE
Record: 3-7
How they qualified: Runner-up to Dwyer in District 15-4A.
Average points per game: 14.6
Average points allowed per game: 27.6
Offensive yardage totals: 1,794 (858 rushing, 936 passing)
Offensive stars: QB Jack Radebaugh (936 passing yards, 8 touchdowns, 9 interceptions), WR Aukeemian Mills (251 receiving yards, 1 touchdown), TE Alonzo Coleman (223 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns)
Defensive stars: RB/S Erick McQueen (96 tackles, 4 for loss)
Common opponents with Hollywood Hills: None.

hollywoodhillshelmetHOLLYWOOD HILLS
Record: 6-4
How they qualified: District 16-4A champs
Average points per game: 25.5
Average points allowed per game: 24.5
Offensive yardage totals: 3,105 (2,269 rushing, 836 rushing)
Offensive stars: RB Jeremy Donaldson (1,625 rushing yards, 19 touchdowns), RB Cody Hartwell (584 rushing yards, 6 touchdowns), QB Daniel May (836 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 46% completion rate), OL Jared Maldonado (6-3, 280), WR Reggie McKnight (384 receiving yards, 1 touchdown)
Defensive stars: LB Griffin Goins
Area opponents: Beat Forest Hill, 28-7.

This is a tall task for Okeechobee. Hollywood Hills possesses one of the leading rushers in South Florida in Jeremy Donaldson, whose 1,625 rushing yards have netted him 19 touchdowns. For an Okeechobee team that has struggled stopping the run (234.1 rushing yards), Donaldson’s presence is more than a little scary. It doesn’t help that Okeechobee has allowed more than 200 rushing yards seven times — and each of those came with a loss. So, the obvious comment here is … Okeechobee needs to figure out how to stop the run.

“They are a tough running team,” said Forest Hill coach Chris Kokell, whose team shares a district with Hollywood Hills. “If you can shut down their run, you’ll be in good shape. But they do play physical.”

The Brahmans have had some defensively solid showings this year. In two of their three wins this year, they held opponents under 100 yards rushing, but those performances came at the beginning of the season, when Okeechobee started 2-0. The Brahmans are 1-7 since, and those games are a distant memory. That means Okeechobee better remember how to stop the run, and quick.

“They have a direct running game,” Okeechobee coach Myron Jackson said. “They come right at you. They have big guys up front who can take you for a ride … To say we’ve ‘struggled’ is being kind. Last week against Clewiston, we were really exposed. So we went back to basics. Our guys know schemes, but we needed to get back to taking blocks and making sure our eyes are in the right place. One thing you don’t want to do is have your eyes locked in the backfield.”

On offense, the Brahmans have some nice pieces, particularly athletic receiver Aukeemian Mills and two-way starter Erick McQueen. Mills is a constant deep threat with 4.6 speed. McQueen has fallen just short of 100 yards in the past two games, with 96-yard and 92-yard performances to close out the season. Tight end Alonzo Coleman is another athlete who can make plays, as evidenced by his two-touchdown, 64-yard night against Bartow back on Oct. 29.

For quarterback Jack Radebaugh and the rest of his offensive starters, Hollywood Hills’ defense isn’t exactly a steel curtain. As good as the Spartans’ offense is, there are gaps on defense. Hollywood Hills allows 134.9 rushing yards and 109.9 passing per game. Okeechobee’s offense has gone stagnant at times, so avoiding the turnover bug (3.5 turnovers a game) could actually mean that Okeechobee’s offense keeps pace with Hollywood Hills.

“Our receivers have to get off the coverage and create space,” Jackson said. “(Radebaugh) will have to get the ball in some tight throwing lanes because they play such tight man coverage. We have to finish our blocks, too. Our running backs will have to be disciplined. It’s very easy to try to beat Hills outside, but they have the type of speed to chase you down. So we want our guys to try to stay between the tackles as much as possible.”

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

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