Posted: 4:11 pm Saturday, December 11th, 2010
By Jeff Greer
The first day is in the books in Orlando. Glades Day repeated as state champs, winning its seventh title in school history. American Heritage came out flat and lost 27-10 to Jacksonville-Trinity Christian.
But now we get Glades Central-Cocoa: The Rematch. Last year Cocoa won 27-13. Glades Central has been thinking about its chance for revenge since last year. Here are some pregame thoughts on tonight’s contest.
Big time. There’s a reason why we made this our Game of the Week.
Here’s a list of the Division I prospects (according to Rivals) playing in this game …
For Cocoa: K Cody Bell, DB Datarius Allen, QB Trai Campbell, DB Rick Rivers, FB Devonte Jones, DE Marcus Jones, LB Tyrell Denson and LB Grady Redding.
For Glades Central: WR Davonte Allen, WR Jaime Wilson, DB William Likley, DB Crevon LeBlanc, DE Robert Way, QB Jamarious Rowley, LB Dominique Gibson, LB Jatavis Brown, OL/DL Jeffery Philibert.
But it’s more than just those guys. These teams are both extremely talented and fast.
Inside the hashes. Cocoa is a run-heavy offense. The Tigers have run the ball 384 times and thrown it 71 this season. They are equally as dominant in both halves, outscoring opponents 160-24 in the first half and 170-24 in the second. They’ve turned the ball over just seven times this season and allowed just three sacks. They average 220.1 yards rushing a game.Meanwhile Glades Central arguably played the best defense of any area team this season, allowing 6.5 points and 104.8 yards a game. The late emergence of a running game has given the Raiders an offensive option that balances their attack. And even without Kelvin Benjamin, there is a bag full of receivers that QB Jamarious Rowley can hit. The Raiders like to run vertical routes on first down, pound it on the ground on second (if the deep ball doesn’t work) and rely on quick slants and underneath drag routes on third.
A little history. Cocoa has won back-to-back state titles (in Class 3A in 2008, 2A in 2009) and those are the only two times the Tigers have been to the state title.
Glades Central has six titles in nine appearances.
No distractions. The Glades Central coaching staff collected its players’ cellphones yesterday. As coach Jessie Hester has told me time and time again, nobody talks more than the Glades Central football community. Everybody has an opinion. Holed up in an area hotel, there’s only one way to get in touch with a player, and the staff eliminated that.
No Buie. We’ve talked about Chevelle Buie’s suspension exhaustively, so I don’t want to waste too much more space on it. But his absence is a major blow Cocoa. Yes, the Tigers have other athletes, like Tarean Folston (968 rushing yards, 12 TDs) and Devonte Jones (620 and 7), but none of them are like Buie.
Where to watch. It won’t be live in South Florida, which I assume includes Belle Glade if FOX Sports Florida uses normal definitions of Florida’s regions, but here’s the broadcasting schedule for tonight’s game.