Posted: 2:56 pm Thursday, November 21st, 2013
By Anthony Chiang
We are back for another Playoff Preview. This time, we teamed up with a football coach from Palm Beach County to break down the Class 8A regional semifinals game between Palm Beach Central (8-3) and Palm Beach Gardens (7-4). The contest will be played at Palm Beach Central. These two teams faced off the in the regular season on Nov. 8 and the Broncos won 20-13 behind 242 rushing yards from running back Tommy McDonald.
Here is how an unnamed football coach from Palm Beach County sees Friday’s matchup going:
Scouting report on Palm Beach Gardens: “They are going to use a zone blocking scheme, and they are going to run at you and mix in the play-action pass. When the quarterback (JP Caruso) is on, he’s the best kid in the area. From what I hear, he was on last week. Defensively, they always have a great scheme and a sound defense. They have great linebackers this year, especially junior Te’von Coney.”
– Caruso finished last week’s first-round victory over Park Vista with 260 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Scouting report on Palm Beach Central: “They probably have one of the best offenses in the area. With the weapons they have and the offensive line that they have, they are explosive on offense, but they can also pound you when they need to. When they’re winning and they need to run the clock out, they can do that because their offensive line is so big. They run an attacking, blitzing defense with a lot of man coverage. They’re not very big, though. They have to bring in Kc McDermott a lot on defense in order to match up size with people.”
– Broncos running back Tommy McDonald leads Palm Beach County with 1,378 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns this season.
Which team has the better offense?: “I would say Palm Beach Central has the edge on offense. I think they have more weapons. With Gardens, the whole thing centers around JP Caruso. If he’s on, they can hurt you. The one thing I will tell you about Palm Beach Central is that with Kevin Bramhall at quarterback and them being able to put Kemar Downer at receiver balanced up their offense last week. Seminole Ridge couldn’t roll coverage to Rudolph St. Germain. In the air, St. Germain is one of the best kids at going up and getting the ball. But when Kemar had to play quarterback, you could roll coverage to St. Germain. Now, with Kemar on the other side, you can’t do that. You have to stay balanced in your coverage. That’s one of the big keys Friday night.”
– Bramhall threw for two touchdowns in the Broncos’ first-round victory over Seminole Ridge. Both touchdown passes were caught by Kemar Downer.
How do you stop Palm Beach Central’s running game?: “In that situation, it’s about if you have the personnel to match up with it and the discipline and the commitment. They will pound you into submission if you don’t. You have to be committed and disciplined. The kids constantly have to do what they’re supposed to do every single play.”
– Over its current seven-game winning streak, Palm Beach Central has outrushed its opponents by a combined total of 2,176-761.
Which team has the better defense?: “I think Gardens has the edge on defense. Central has to play a lot of their kids both ways and eventually they’re going to run into teams with personnel that can match up. The Gators have a slight edge on defense. Gardens is bigger up front and as athletic as Central.”
– The Gators have allowed an average of 14 points per game in their seven wins. In their four losses, they have given up an average of 29 points per game.
How can Palm Beach Gardens beat the Broncos?: “You’re going to get man coverage, so you have to win those one-on-one routes with their kids, and Gardens has to take advantage of the play-action pass and find Caleb Perez down the field.”
– In the Broncos’ loss against Boca Raton on Sept. 20, the Bobcats took advantage of Palm Beach Central’s man-to-man coverage. Boca Raton quarterback Scott Long threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
How can Palm Beach Central beat the Gators?: “On defense, they have to confuse them with their blitzes. If they do that against Gardens, I think Central will win. I was at their first game, and the Broncos confused them with their blitzes.”
– In the Broncos’ regular-season matchup with Palm Beach Gardens, Caruso was limited to just 17 passing yards and threw one interception.
Coach’s prediction: “I think Palm Beach Central will win 28-21. The Broncos are going to attack on the outside with Downer and St. Germain. I think Bramhall is going to play quarterback. Gardens is going to force them to throw the ball. They are going to load up the box to stop the run, but then Central is going to get one-on-one matchups on the outside. If the Broncos can make big plays out of those one-on-one matchups on the outside, I think they win.”
About the Author
Anthony Chiang began his writing career in Gainesville at the University of Florida’s student-run newspaper. At The Independent Florida Alligator, he covered the school’s golf, volleyball, baseball, and football teams. The Miami native has also written for the Sun Sentinel and MLB.com, following the Tampa Bay Rays.