Posted: 5:23 pm Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Playoff Primer 2011: South Fork looking to break through against tough Melbourne defense 

By Matt Porter

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

South Fork wants to bounce back after its season-ending loss to Kelvin Taylor and Glades Day, but it won’t be easy: Melbourne is one of the best teams in Brevard County.

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

MELBOURNE
Record: 8-2.
How they qualified: Runner-up in District 13-6A.
Average points per game: 20.
Average points allowed per game: 6.7.
Offensive stars: RB Jarvis Mustipher (653 yards, 5 TD)
Defensive stars: DL Jamal Stadom, LB Kody Boswell, LB Grant Eller LB Kyle Straus.
Common opponents with South Fork: None.

SOUTH FORK
Record: 6-4.
How they qualified: Winner of District 14-6A.
Average points per game: 34.3.
Average points allowed per game: 21.6.
Offensive yardage totals: 263.1 rush, 114.8 pass per game.
Offensive stars: QB Cody Labanowitz (59.2 completion percentage, 1,078, 12 TD, 2 INT), RB Dalton Pollock (894 rushing yards, 13 TD), WR Michael Messier (293 receiving yards, 5 TD)
Defensive yardage totals: 162.1 rush, 96 pass per game.
Common opponents with Melbourne: None.

South Fork’s defense is “just OK,” coach Dennis Lavelle admitted before his team played Glades Day Nov. 11. That may not get it done this week.

While Taylor (388 yards, six touchdowns) gashed South Fork, Melbourne’s defense has been outstanding. It has allowed more than 10 points in a game twice and given up just 67 points this year. And while Joebud Staggs Stadium is a tough place to play, the Bulldogs don’t get shaken by playing on the road (5-0).

Melbourne’s losses came to powerful Merritt Island and Palm Bay. In their eight other games, the Bulldogs have allowed a total of 32 points.

South Fork’s option attack, which has put up an average of 377.9 yards per game, relies on good decision-making from Labanowitz, hard running from Pollock and several athletic receivers, including Messier, Rami Rouhi (283 receiving yards, 2 TD) and Ricco Pierre (231 receiving yards, 3 TD).