Posted: 4:13 pm Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Playoff Primer 2011: Centennial tries to right ship against Palm Harbor University 

By Jeff Greer

There are 16 playoff games on Friday involving teams from our area. In the buildup to the games, we’ll break down every matchup.

This is a matchup of two big schools that are relative newcomers to the playoffs. Palm Harbor University has never made the postseason. Centennial has, with five appearances, but the Eagles only have two wins to show for ‘em. The last W came in 2003. Beyond that, both teams are similar in their makeup on the field.

Centennial’s last few weeks haven’t been all that great. A loss to rival Port St. Lucie was preceded by a washed-out game against Fort Pierce Central. All the momentum from beating Vero Beach at home, which is a monumental task, was swept away by two weeks of blah. Now the Eagles have to turn things around again with a do-or-die game. It’s not going to be easy, but at least they’re at home.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at South County Park. General admission is $8; reserved seating is $9.

PALM HARBOR UNIVERSITY AT CENTENNIAL

PALM HARBOR UNIVERSITY
Record: 6-4
How they qualified: Runner-up of District 7-8A.
Average points per game: 24.8.
Average points allowed per game: 19.
Offensive yardage totals: 179.8 rush, 135.2 pass per game.
Offensive stars: QB Billy Pavlock (57% completion rate, 11 TDs, 2 INTs, 602 rushing yards, 14 TDs), RB Ryan Myers (1,091 rushing yards, 10 TDs), WR Hunter Beam (662 receiving yards, 6 TDs)
Common opponents with Centennial: None.
* – Statistics courtesy of the St. Petersburg Times

CENTENNIAL
Record: 5-3
How they qualified: Winner of District 8-8A.
Average points per game: 21.5.
Average points allowed per game: 17.1.
Offensive yardage totals: 131.9 rush, 98.7 pass per game.
Offensive stars: QB Tim Caffey (67% completion rate, 6 TDs, 1 INT), RB Jonny Poma (541 rushing yards, 6 TDs), ATH Ty Jackson (364 receiving yards, 104 rushing yards, 3 TDs)
Common opponents with Palm Harbor University: None.
* – Statistics courtesy of the TCPalm

Palm Harbor University’s Billy Pavlock is the difference-maker. He makes his team go. He runs, he passes, he does it all. Preparing for him will be similar to preparing for Treasure Coast quarterback Travares Copeland, though Copeland’s athleticism is superior. Pavlock has some nice weapons in Ryan Myers and Hunter Beam. First-year coach Matt LePain is a defensive-minded guy, and the stats reflect that. University isn’t going to blow this game out.

For Centennial, the key will be getting running back Jonny Poma going. Poma had two touchdowns last week in Centennial’s tough, tough loss to Port St. Lucie, which ended on a last-second field goal. It’s normal to wonder if Centennial can recover from that loss. Poma and QB Tim Caffey have to have big games. And guys like Ty Jackson and Mike Nesmith need to play big roles, too. The Eagles, much like University, haven’t just rolled through teams. There are a lot of close games on that schedule, and this one should be just as tight.

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