Posted: 12:09 am Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Playoff Primer 2012: District champs Inlet Grove hoping for more 

By Jeff Greer

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

Inlet Grove’s second trip to the playoffs has more to it than the first. Sure, the ‘Canes worked hard to reach the playoffs last fall after a two-season sabbatical. But this year’s charge yielded a first-round home game and some expectations to come with it. Inlet Grove went from spunky comeback crew to host and district champ. That’s a tall task for a team that struggled this fall against some of the worst teams in Palm Beach County.

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

INLET GROVE
Record: 5-4.
How they qualified: Winner, District 7-4A.
Average points per game: 16.6.
Average points allowed per game: 18.
Offensive stars: ATH Shawun Lurry.
Best win: 40-18 over North Broward Prep.

GULLIVER PREP
Record: 5-5.
How they qualified: Runner-up, District 8-4A.
Average points per game: 26.8.
Average points allowed per game: 21.5.
Best win: 21-20 over Monsignor Pace.

PBGametime favorite: Gulliver Prep.
Pinkos’ prediction: Gulliver Prep by 21.
Lazindex favorite: Gulliver Prep.

Inlet Grove has never won a playoff game in three playoff trips. The Canes have been all over the place in the past few weeks, ranging from a 3-0(!) loss to Wellington to a 25-6 win over district rival Somerset Academy. What concerns me is the results against some of the teams that have struggled most in our area: A 38-22 win over Jupiter Christian, a 12-6 win over Suncoast and a 3-0 victory over Forest Hill tell us more than maybe we want to know about Inlet. Do the Canes play down to their opponents? Can they rise to the occasion?

The potential difference-maker is Shawun Lurry. He has nine touchdowns and a boat load of talent. Lurry may not be the biggest kid on the field, but he will produce big plays, in the vein of Atlantic’s Brisly Estime, Dwyer’s Ezra Saffold or Glades Central’s Will Likely. He’s that fast.

But Gulliver Prep is a regular in the playoffs, and Earl Sims has coached big playoff games before. That experience gives Gulliver the edge, even if it’s slight.