Posted: 12:12 pm Saturday, November 19th, 2011
By Matt Porter
After one round of playoff games, plenty of area teams are left. Here’s a quick look at the second-round playoff football matchups. All games are Friday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. …
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Friday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Class 8A regional quarterfinals
Palm Beach Gardens at Seminole Ridge
Class 7A regional quarterfinals
Oakland Park-Northeast at Dwyer
Martin County at Fort Pierce Central
Class 5A regional quarterfinals
Glades Central at Merritt Island
Class 3A regional finals
Davie-University at American Heritage
Class 2A regional finals
Jupiter Christian at Glades Day
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In Class 8A, Palm Beach Gardens visits Seminole Ridge in an outstanding battle of run-based teams. When the teams met Oct. 28 in Loxahatchee, Seminole Ridge’s 341 yards on the ground helped push them over the top. Gardens put up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but a missed extra point halted the comeback. Seminole Ridge, 28-27, in one of the most exciting games of the year. Gardens, missing senior Alex Clark (ankle sprain), got 184 yards and two touchdowns from Roshard Burney, while Ridge’s Gary Holmes went for 221 yards and a pair of scores.
It should feel pretty familiar, seeing Palm Beach Gardens getting it done with the run. In their 2005 Class 6A state championship win, the Gators set a state record for fewest passes attempted in a state title game: one.
Things are a bit different this time around, though. They have sophomore J.P. Caruso and junior Frank Brown, which has developed into one of the area’s best passing combos. With seniors Roshard Burney and Alex Clark ripping off carries and pounding the defense, Caruso and Brown have had time and space to get comfortable, and it’s showing.
In the Gators’ 35-21 win over Park Vista in the Class 8A regional quarterfinals, Caruso hit Brown for two touchdowns in the first half, and zipped a 40-yard pass to senior Andre Doran in the end zone to open up a 28-0 lead. From there, Burney and Clark pounded the ball — the Gators finished with 310 yards on the ground, with the two combining for all but a few yards — and ate up clock. In stormy conditions, Park Vista tried three onside kicks and recovered two, but Gardens was able to put it out of reach.
Seminole Ridge was in its first year as a varsity program when Gardens won that 2005 state championship, but Matt Dickmann’s program has steadily grown into a title contender. The Hawks, who beat Palm Beach Central 17-7 in the first round, won their first district title last year and repeated this year, doing it with a grinding modified Wing-T built around Holmes (1,358 yards, 24 touchdowns). The Hawks have won eight in a row and are playing their best football.
Like Gardens, Ridge has an efficient passing attack that keeps the defense off-balance. Junior Antwan Washington (1,107 yards, 13 TD, 2 INT) loves to throw to senior Darian Williams (563 yards, 5 TD), whose size (6-2, 175) and athleticism create matchup problems. Tight end Alex Santacroce is a skilled blocker and has sure hands. Junior Elie Turene is a skilled blocker and has 381 yards and 5 TD on the ground.
The winner plays the Miramar-Cypress Bay winner in the regional final.
* In Class 7A, Dwyer hosts Northeast, which was a 14-13 winner over Royal Palm Beach in the quarterfinals. Dwyer’s defense pitched a 28-0 shutout over Pompano Beach-Ely, allowing just 27 yards on the ground and shutting down star receiver Avery Johnson. The winner gets the Cooper City-St. Thomas Aquinas winner in the regional final.
* Also in Class 7A, Fort Pierce Central and Martin County square off at Lawnwood Stadium. Martin County stunned powerful Punta Gorda-Charlotte on the road, while Fort Pierce Central overmatched Port Charlotte at home. The winner plays Venice or Bradenton-Manatee in the regional finals.
* In Class 5A, Glades Central visits Merritt Island, which handled Boynton Beach in the opening round. Despite missing four players, including two defensive stars — they’ll also miss this game, but may return after — the top-ranked Raiders moved to 11-0 on the year by blanking Astronaut at home.
Junior Will Likely intercepted two fourth-quarter passes on the goal line in the fourth quarter, and senior Dominique Gibson had a pick-six in the second quarter. Offensively, seniors Tanner Redish and Jaime Wilson connected seven times for 123 yards and a touchdown. Likely also rushed for 122 yards and two scores. The winner gets the Miami Jackson-Miami Norland winner in the regional finals.
* In Class 3A, American Heritage hosts fellow powerhouse University in a regional final. Both teams were blowout winners over their first-round opponents. In American Heritage’s 48-7 win over Hollywood-Chaminade, junior Greg Bryant and senior Jeremy Gaskins rushed for three touchdowns. Bryant (189 yards on 11 carries) and Gaskins (211 yards on 14 carries) helped the Stallions pile up 550 yards of total offense.
Meanwhile, University (11-0) scored on its first five possessions and stomped Cardinal Newman 37-15. University lost in the 2A state final 56-55 last year, while American Heritage lost 27-10 in the Class 1A state final. The winner gets the Fort Meade-Berkeley Prep winner in the state semifinals.
* Finally, Class 2A has another showdown. For the third straight year, Jupiter Christian and Glades Day will meet in the regional final. The history between these teams is well known: Glades Day beat Jupiter Christian in the last two regional finals on its way to a pair of Class 1B state championships. Jupiter Christian won the Class 1B state championship in 2007 and 2008, while Glades Day was in Class 1A.
In the first round, Glades Day beat Hialeah-Champagnat 35-8 thanks to Kelvin Taylor’s 210 yards and three touchdowns. Taylor also had a 60-yard touchdown reception. In a 32-27 win over Dade Christian, Jupiter Christian’s Kedric Bostic rushed for a score and threw for another in the final 4:42, completing a 69-yard touchdown pass to Nate Cannon with 41.5 seconds left for the go-ahead score.
The winner plays the Canterbury-Admiral Farragut winner in the state semifinals.
* Salute to the area teams who lost in the first round: Boynton Beach, Cardinal Newman, Centennial, Clewiston, Inlet Grove, Palm Beach Central, Park Vista, Royal Palm Beach and South Fork.