Posted: 12:16 am Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Playoff Primer 2012: Glades Central meets an old familiar foe 

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.

Glades Central's Will Likely could have a massive postseason against unfamiliar opponents.

Underestimate Glades Central at your own peril. This is a team built like a race car, and slower clubs from other parts of the state will have their hands full. This hasn’t been the ideal season for the Raiders, who started 0-4, but it’s come around. Coach Roosevelt Blackmon won his second Muck Bowl, and his Raiders haven’t lost since September. Is this team rounding into form at the perfect time?

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

GLADES CENTRAL
Record: 6-4.
How they qualified: Winner, District 14-5A.
Average points per game: 29.1.
Average points allowed per game: 15.2.
Offensive stars: RB Will Likely, WRs David Bailey and Ronquavion Tarver.
Defensive stars: CBs Likely and Bailey.
Best win: 31-19 over Dillard.

ROCKLEDGE
Record: 7-3.
How they qualified: Runner-up, District 13-5A.
Average points per game: 21.3.
Average points allowed per game: 14.2.
Best win: 23-21 over Astronaut.

PBGametime favorite: Glades Central.
Pinkos’ prediction: Glades Central by 17.
Lazindex favorite: Glades Central.

Do us a favor: Take the first four games of Glades Central’s schedule, look them over and then throw them out. That team doesn’t exist anymore. The newer version of Glades Central isn’t setting the world on fire — playing at their current level, the Raiders would maybe go 2-2 in that early-season slate — but it looks a lot better than it did. There’s a few reasons why.

First, the linebacking corps isn’t in bubble hockey mode anymore. In other words, they can move sideline-to-sideline. They spent more time running past a play than the chain gang in the early part of the year. What’s more, the big plays are back. The guys who needed to step up to help Will Likely and David Bailey have, finally, and can pop off at any second. The emergence of Ronquavion Tarver, Yvesner Ferdinand and Jonathon Istache make the passing game a lot better, and Aaron Baker and Raheem Burgess give offensive coordinator Reidel Anthony some options.

Ultimately this isn’t a Glades Central team that screams state-title contender, but it is one that must be watched. This is a group capable of surprising some folks, and they may be peaking at the right time. But it won’t come without obstacles. Rockledge has been a thorn in Central’s side in the playoffs, and Merritt Island poses an even bigger challenge if Central gets by the first round.