Posted: 9:45 pm Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Playoff Primer 2010: Seminole Ridge fired up for Vero Beach, and first home playoff game 

By Matt Porter

Next up in our playoff preview series is our Game of the Week, a Class 6A battle between Seminole Ridge and Vero Beach. Seminole Ridge is ready for its first-ever home playoff game, and the Hawks want nothing more than their first-ever playoff win.


verobeachhelmetVERO BEACH
Record: 6-3

How they qualified: Second, District 7-6A; lost title to Treasure Coast Oct. 29.

Average points per game: 18.3

Average points allowed per game: 12.8

Offense: 1,815 yards gained (1,354 rush, 461 pass)
Defense: 2,081 yards allowed (981 rush, 1100 pass)
Offensive standouts: OL Marcus Jackson (6-3, 310, committed to Miami).
Defensive standouts: DB Larry Franklin (6-0, 185, 4.6 40-yard dash); DE Cody Horstman (6-3, 231, 4.7 40-yard dash).

Common opponents with Seminole Ridge: Beat Jupiter, 20-13; beat Palm Beach Gardens, 31-21.

Area teams played: Beat West Boca Raton, 21-7; Jupiter, 20-13; Palm Beach Gardens, 31-21; South Fork 24-7 and Centennial, 17-0; Lost to Fort Pierce Westwood, 22-21 and Treasure Coast 7-3.

seminoleridgehelmetSEMINOLE RIDGE
Record: 9-1

How they qualified: District 8-6A champions; won district when Park Vista lost to Boca Raton Nov. 5, and Atlantic beat Palm Beach Central Nov. 5.

Average points per game: 21.5

Average points allowed per game: 12.4

Offense: 7th, large schools; 3,048 yards gained (1,700 rush, 1,348 pass)
Defense: 21st, large schools; 2,350 yards allowed (1,339 rush, 1,011 pass)

Offensive standouts: RB Gary Holmes (171 carries, 1,043 yards, 14 TD); QB Trevor Vanscoy (575 passing yards, 52.8 completion percentage, 6 TD, 3 INT); FB Tyler Butler (117 carries, 658 yards, 8 TD).

Defensive standouts: DL Pierson Massillon (6-2, 260, FIU offer); LB Tyler Butler (6-2, 225, No. 26 on the Big Board); DL Matt Gray (6-5, 260).

Common opponents with Vero Beach: Beat Palm Beach Gardens, 13-7; beat Jupiter, 35-0.

There’s a lot of writing on cars in the student parking lot: words of encouragement for individual players, the Hawks as a whole, and plenty of reminders that oh yes, they’re district champions. Advance tickets are selling well, the halls are buzzing, and the stands should be packed on Friday night.

“They’re excited,” Dickmann said. “They’ve got a little pep in their step.

“It’s a great community. There are a lot of volunteers, a lot of help from the parents. It’s a great place to be a head coach.”

Since Seminole Ridge opened in 2005 and Dickmann was tabbed as the school’s first head coach (and given his first head coaching job), he’s brought the team to the top. A winless (0-9) 2005 gave way to a .500 (5-5) 2006, and the Hawks’ first trip to the playoffs. They went 5-5 in 2007, then 7-3 in 2008 and 2009.

Credit Dickmann and his staff. The coach, of course, credits the players. “They’ve set a standard,” he said. “They’re 9-1 and district champs. It’s our first home playoff game. Hopefully it’s our first playoff win.”

Two years ago, Seminole Ridge lost at Vero Beach 27-24. Last year, they lost in Loxahatchee, 13-7. The seniors on the team remember those games well, but Dickmann’s memory is longer.

He spent 17 years as Charlie Persson’s offensive coordinator in Jupiter. In 1991, the Warriors were 9-1, and 1992 they were 8-2. Both years they were district champions. And both years they were bounced out of the playoffs by Vero.

“The kids know about that. They know it’s a little bit personal for me,” Dickmann said with a smile.

Most Seminole Ridge fans probably don’t know about that bit of history, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be any less loud on Friday. Expect Vero Beach to bring a large contingent of red-clad fans as well.

What they’ll see is two teams who run the ball well and don’t make many mistakes. We’ve talked all season about Seminole Ridge’s run game, but Vero’s rushing attack is strong, too.

The Indians have one of the best run blockers in the country in senior guard Marcus Jackson. The 6-3, 305-pound Jackson (he’s listed at anywhere from 6-2, 295 to 6-4, 315; I’m taking the median) is a simply dominant athlete. He’s committed to the University of Miami. Senior running back Jormonte Hunter benefits most from Jackson’s presence.

Jackson is the biggest name on a team that’s stocked with Division 1 talent. Safety Larry Franklin is rated one of the top defensive backs in the state, drawing interest from Wisconsin and Purdue. Defensive ends Cody Horstman and David Dixson are future Division 1 pass-rushers. Linebacker Dion Holmes has interest from Marshall, FIU and FAU, among others. Running back Hunter has drawn interest from Cincinnati. The Indians also have senior Todd Fennell, who went into the summer as Kohl’s Kicking Camps fifth-ranked punter in the nation.

On offense, the Indians haven’t put up overwhelming numbers. Their season high in points was 31 (against Palm Beach Gardens), but they average just over 18 a game. Lately, they’ve struggled — Vero put up 7 points against Treasure Coast Oct. 29 and was blanked by Palm Bay Nov. 5 before scoring 21 against Westwood last week. All three games were losses. After starting 6-1, that’s not the way the senior-heavy Indians expected to finish.

Seminole Ridge has run the same offense all season, employing big fullback Tyler Butler and junior speedster Gary Holmes (1,043 yards, 14 TD) in the Wing-T to eat up the turf and grind out wins. Quarterback Trevor Vanscoy has become an effective director of the offense.

Despite its consistency, Dickmann said the offense “sputtered a bit” in a 18-11 win over Wellington Nov. 5. “We shot ourselves in the foot too much. We didn’t do the same things we’ve been doing all season. We forgot a few of the details.”

A bounce-back 35-7 beating of western county rival Royal Palm Beach last week seemed to put the Hawks back in the flow. Don’t expect them to forgo the details on Friday night.

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