Posted: 12:42 am Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Playoff Primer 2012: Martin County hopes for more playoff success 

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.

A season ago, Martin County beat Charlotte 14-10 in an exciting first-round matchup. But that Martin County team, armed with two Division I prospects and a loaded senior class, expected to win that game. This time around, Martin County’s in different shape, a group that needed a three-way tiebreaker to qualify for the playoffs and arrives in the postseason on a three-game losing streak. Charlotte, on the other hand, recovered from a late-season losing slump with an emphatic regular-season finale victory, and enters the rematch with Martin County a slight favorite.

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

MARTIN COUNTY
Record: 4-6.
How they qualified: Runner-up, District 12-7A.
Average points per game: 18.7.
Average points allowed per game: 24.9.
Offensive yardage totals: 2,709 (1,690 rush/1,019 pass).
Offensive stars: RB Dan Fillhaber.
Defensive yardage totals: 3,121 (1,905 rush/1,216 pass).
Best win: 35-0 over Clewiston.

PUNTA GORDA CHARLOTTE
Record: 6-4.
How they qualified: Winner, District 11-7A.
Average points per game: 32.5.
Average points allowed per game: 18.6.
Offensive stars: RB Clyde Newton.
Best win: 24-21 over Venice.

PBGametime favorite: Charlotte.
Pinkos’ prediction: Charlotte by 28.
Lazindex favorite: Charlotte.

This is a tough order for Martin County for two reasons: The Tigers are playing a team hungry for revenge from last year’s playoffs, and they’re also facing one of the best running backs in Florida. Martin County allows more than 190 rushing yards a game, and Charlotte senior Clyde Newton, who’s verbally committed to play at Indiana, averages 178 a game. He gets 8.3 yards per carry and has 20 touchdowns to his name. That’s a bad combination.

Martin County hopes to counter Newton’s impact with its own tough runner, Dan Fillhaber. The sophomore back has popped off a few times this fall, including 137 yards against Viera two Fridays ago, and three consecutive 100-yard performances in September. If the Tigers can get him going, perhaps we’d see a shootout similar to Martin County’s 30-24 win over Port St. Lucie. After all, Charlotte has been vulnerable at times to the run, too.