Posted: 12:15 am Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Glades Central vs. American Heritage: Who has the edge? 

By Jeff Greer

Glades Central’s defense has earned a reputation as hard-hitting and fast. American Heritage’s running attack, featuring junior Greg Bryant, is feared by opponents.

So, on Thursday night when the top two teams in the area meet, who has the position-by-position advantage?

CHECK OUT OUR GAME OF THE WEEK PREVIEW OF THE BIG GAME

Let’s dive right in:

Special teams
Nobody has speed like Glades Central. Nobody else has Will Likely or Jaime Wilson, two of most underrated players in South Florida (not by us, but by national recruiting services). Each of them has a kickoff return for a touchdown. Beyond that, Central kicker Giovanni Lugo gives the Raiders a field-goal-kicking option and a formidable kickoff specialist. The cherry on top? Wilson can boom punts with the best of them.
Big Advantage: Glades Central.

OFFENSE
Glades Central has more home-run hitters, but American Heritage has a better scheme and strategy and certainly has a few playmakers of its own. The Stallions are more disciplined on offense and have a better offensive line (more on that in a minute). While the number of penalties Heritage racked up last year (18) against Central worries me, it’s not enough to think the Stallions’ O isn’t better.
Slight Advantage: American Heritage.

Quarterbacks
There’s a lot of potential for Central’s new QB Tanner Redish, but he’s still in the process of acclimating to a whole new level of speed and defenses he never saw at the Class 1B (now Class 2A) level with Glades Day. Junior Heritage QB Marcus Davis is a dual-threat signal caller who can break off big runs and sling the ball a bit. He’s mostly called on to offer a lightning option behind running back Greg Bryant, but he can locate and hit open receivers just as easily.
Advantage: American Heritage.

Running backs
Before it’s all said and done, Bryant may be the biggest Class of 2013 prospect in Palm Beach County. He’s certainly in the discussion if nothing else. I’ve heard several debates over who’s better, Bryant or Glades Day’s record-breaking back Kelvin Taylor. But don’t forget Central’s Aaron Baker, a 5-11, 210-pound bruiser who may have the most potential of them all. Jeremy Gaskins is Bryant’s backup, but would be a starter for most other teams. Meanwhile Dominique Gibson is a great No. 2 behind Baker.
Slight Advantage: American Heritage.

Wide receivers
Do we even need to say all the reasons why Glades Central is the cream of the crop in this category? Wilson and Likely are versatile speedsters who run good routes and have great hands. Wilson is one of the best blocking receivers in the area, and he might be the smartest receiver, too. Likely has devastating speed and elusiveness. Heritage has some nice, quick receivers in Edwin Thomas and Marcus Coby, but Cameron Posey is the best target the Stallions have. Unfortunately for them, Posey’s participation will be limited on Thursday as he recovers from offseason surgery.
Big Advantage: Glades Central.

Offensive line
American Heritage regularly puts together a big ol’ line. Glades Central typically doesn’t. That showed against Dwyer, where the Panthers’ defense essentially lived in the backfield. Central’s offensive line isn’t overly mobile and doesn’t slide protect in the spread, which means there are consistently massive holes created. That’s not good. Heritage is disciplined and smart up front, in addition to being downright manly.
Big Advantage: American Heritage.

DEFENSE
Go over to my other scouting report on this game and read what Coach No. 2 says about Glades Central’s defense at the bottom of the post. I’ll wait here. Oh, good, you’re back. The Raiders are fast, hungry and hellacious when they hit. Since I moved here last July, I’ve seen Central play seven times. In each of those games, the defense has delivered at least three or four um-that-probably-didn’t-feel-good hits. At least. The secondary is closed for business. The linebackers are tough as nails and play with unparalleled heart and the D-line is small but fast.
Advantage: Glades Central.

Defensive line
This is the only area of the defense where American Heritage is close to Glades Central, which is scary considering how good Heritage’s linebackers and defensive backs are. Heritage D-end Mike Wallace is a quick-stepping, go-getting end who plays with fire. Central’s Paul Whyte and Cordero Phillips will be problems off the edges. But in terms of matching with the O-lines, Heritage has a much more favorable matchup.
Slight Advantage: American Heritage.

Linebackers
I don’t need to go into this too much because I’ve already touched on it, but the Central linebacking corps has three vastly underrated players. Gibson’s the heart and soul with a great blend speed and power to negate his smaller frame for the position. Jatavis Brown, in my opinion, is the most underrated, unappreciated player and prospect in the county. (Unless you’re the Palm Beach Post — we picked him as our Defensive Player of the Year last year.) And speaking of underrated, Don’Kevious Johnson gets it done, too. Heritage has great linebackers in Silmore Dallaway and Zach Slafsky, but it’s tough to match what Glades Central has.
Advantage: Glades Central.

Secondary
Glades Central carries a portable no-fly zone wherever it plays, be it home, away or Pluto. It doesn’t matter where the Raiders are, you are not going to throw on them. Crevon LeBlanc, another underrated prospect (noticing a theme here?), brings the lumber at safety and is a ballhawk. Likely is a shutdown corner whose side of the field teams generally avoid. Then David Bailey, who at all of 5-10, 160 pounds, was jawing with Dwyer’s 6-7, 280-pound tackle Pat Miller two weeks ago, and John Brockman handle their business. This is where Heritage could be in trouble. The secondary, manned by Davis and Bryant and other two-way players, could start to wear down as the game carries on. I guess that’s why Heritage has such a grueling offseason conditioning program.
Big Advantage: Glades Central.

The pick to win: Glades Central, 24-20.