LELY AT DUNBAR
Dunbar is unbeaten behind an explosive offense led by QB Melvin German. German, however, has been out with an ankle injury and former WR Miguel Rodriguez took over. Last game, Dunbar brought up freshmen Tyrese Jiles who threw for over 100 yards in his debut. With German, this team is capable of winning the state championship. RB Jorvonte Jones is a horse. Jones has over 1000 yards rushing and is a punishing runner with burst and wiggle. The WR's are right up there with the best in the state. Antavian Edison(460 rushing, 422 receiving) is a weapon no matter where he lines up. Joel German is a route runner with hands. Javian Battle is a big play specialist. The offensive line is solid, but is on the small side. It will be interesting to see how they match up with a team like Naples who has a physical front 4.
Defensively, this is an undersized front 7 who fly to the football. Defensive end's Desmond Kearse(21 sacks) and Devouris Means(12.5 sacks) are terrors on the edge, however both are under 180 pounds. Aramis Calloway heads a linebacking unit as he registered 66 solo tackles. Edison also doubles as a cornerback and is capable of locking down any WR. Despite its size, this defense hits across the board, punishing teams who underestimate them.
Interesting notes: Dunbar beat playoff bound Desoto County(3A district winner) and Cape Coral(5A) as well as North Ft. Myers(5A).
Lely has scored more that 30 points in every game sans a week two loss at South Ft. Myers. Running back Darion Hall has over 1600 yards and is averaging 11+ yards per carry. He is not the only weapon on offense, Dennis Marcellin is a dual threat QB with over 1200 yards passing and 377 rushing. There are plenty of weapons at WR with Romanthi Mathurin, Quinton Antoine, David Isme, and Matt Costello. Leading WR Jeff Charelus is sidelined with a broken collarbone, but could return if Lely makes a run in the playoffs. The offensive line is huge with Cotorey Seals(305), Matt Calcagnini(275), Gerard Eustache(315), Max Tyler(255), and Aaron Henderson(285).
Defensively, Lely is led by senior LB Emmanual Edouard and S Errol Boyd. As a unit they have been real solid this year, however Naples hung 50 on them in the 'Coconut Bowl'. Adjustments will need to be made going forward against the run. Junior CB Johny Faustin is elite and few play the run as well as him. The defensive line needs to create more plays for negative yardage.
Interesting notes: Lely lost to South Ft. Myers who did not get out of their district, however they will finish the year 8-2. Lely hung with defending state champions Naples for three quarters before running out of gas. Solid 42-21 win over 4A district champ Barron Collier in the opener.
RIVERDALE AT NAPLES
Naples, the defending 3A champion, is a run first attack led by a pair of outstanding running backs. Carlos Hyde is a hammer with light feet who is downright scary in space. Greg Pratt is the lightning part of the equation. He is a play-maker who is at his best when it is 'crunch time', he has consistently made big plays when it mattered throughout his career. The unsung hero is QB Juno Prudhomme. Prudhomme is a great runner, but also very consistent in the passing game keeping defenses honest. The offensive line is big and physical at the point of attack. Nick Alajajian is the headliner, but this unit is what it is because they are solid across the board. They play with an 'edge' or 'nasty streak' that separates them from most other teams.
The defense has not been as good as Head Coach Bill Kramer would like, don't let his high expectations fool you. This is a physical unit who is more than capable of stepping up in the playoffs. This is a team defense, not a defense with a couple of individual stars who carry the team. The secondary is vulnerable against speed wide receivers, but a team will find it real tough to run consistently. Linebacker Jose Davila is everywhere and likes to bring the wood. He personifies what this defense is all about.
Interesting notes: Naples lost the opener to Monsignor Pace(3A district champ) when Kramer went for '2' at the end of the game instead of playing for overtime. Later they beat Cape Coral(5A playoff team) by getting '2' at the end of a thrilling contest when Naples drove the field with under a minute to play to win 36-35. They also beat both 4A playoff representatives from the area: Barron Collier and Gulf Coast.
Riverdale is not going to get the publicity of some other teams and they will be a big underdog vs. the powerful Naples squad, but don't underestimate this team. Offensively, they are going to give the ball to junior RB Garrett Greenwell and then give it to him again and again. Greenwell is a tough, physical runner who has some burst through the hole. As soon as they have you looking for Greenwell, QB Nathan Gahafer is capable of beating you with his arm. Likely targets to receive those passes are super athlete Kyle Waldrop, burner Cordaveous Brown, and big Dustin Greenwell. This is an offense built for the playoffs because they are not going to beat themselves and have enough players who can make plays to be dangerous.
Defensively, this is an underrated unit who is starting to gel at the right time. Real solid at all 11 spots, the key is for junior DT Tymichael Powell to begin to make his presence felt more often. Tommy White is an outstanding, versatile linebacker who is adept against the run and pass, Trevor Dunn makes plays at another LB spot. Defensive end Dwyane Truttling had nine sacks and another super athlete- Broderick Sherrod- is capable on the other side of great things. Kyle Waldrop is an excellent safety, perhaps the best in the area, while Rhoderick Lindsey is a corner who can check just about anyone one on one. It is the overall athleticism of this unit that makes you a believer.
Interesting notes: The big win was on the road at South Ft. Myers where the defense stifled the explosive Wolfpack attack, while Greenwell pounded the ball 35+ times in soggy conditions. Their only losses are by '4' at Hardee and '6' to undefeated Dunbar. They beat 2, 5A teams: Baker and North Ft. Myers. They also beat 2, 4A teams: Cypress Lake and Lehigh.
TBD at GLADES CENTRAL
Glades Central has been nothing short of explosive on the offensive side of the ball. Only Dwyer, a favorite to go deep in 4A, has held them under 35 points. Weapons abound at the skill positions. Junior QB L.J. Thomas has thrown for 1934 yards with 24 touchdowns. A host of wide receivers are in the mix: Rantavious Wooten(31-909, 13 TD), James West(16-260, 2 TD), Fred Pickett(16-207, 3 TD), and Kevin Benjamin(12-196, 5 TD). At running back, Antonio McCloude has 710 yards followed by Antoine Chisolm's 422. Henry Orelus and Rupert Bryan headline an outstanding offensive line. It is very hard to find more raw talent on this side of the ball in the state.
We can talk all day about the offense, but the defense has actually been better. Glades has pitched 5 shutouts this year. Three other teams scored 6, 7, and 8 points respectively. Dominant is the proper word here. Speed, speed, speed at all spots is an eye opener for opposing teams. They pack a wallop when they get there as well. When a defense performs at a level like this, it is not an individual, but a team effort. This is a top 5 defense in the state, and scary when you combine it with the offense.
Interesting notes: beat Palm Beach Lakes, Palm Beach Central, and Palm Beach Gardens by a combined score of 125-15.
At this time, we don't know who will be playing Glades in round 1. There is a 3 team tiebreaker for one spot between Key West, Belen Jesuit, and Miami Edison.
CARDINAL GIBBONS AT MONSIGNOR PACE
Pace has been a little up and down offensively. They are balanced offensively with running back's Deandre Johnson(635 yards) and Ronnie Dickens(465 yards) leading the way. Quarterback Stephen Morris has thrown for 1121 yards with 12 td's. His favorite targets are Sterling Griffin(27-412) and Kayvon Webster(25-239). They average 21.6 points per game which will need to improve to go deep in the playoffs with Glades Central looming in round 2. They are capable, but the offensive line will need to become dominant and Morris has to be on top of his game.
The defense has been stingy, only giving up 10.6 points per game. They are one of the top teams in the state against the pass, giving up 235 yards for the year. The defense has pitched three shutouts in the last four games and appears to have worked out the kinks that Sarasota Riverview exposed in week 6.
Interesting notes: beat Naples, stopping a Naples 2 point conversion late in the game. Lost to top 5, 6A team Miramar, but held them to 24 points which is solid.
The Cardinal Gibbons offense is has been consistently explosive since the week two loss to Northeast. Quarterback Chris Schirripa has been steady with 1278 yards passing and 11 td's. Running back's Dareyon Chance(745), Eric Mclamore(346) and Orville Reynolds(260) all average 8+ yards per carry behind a great offensive line. Wide receiver Sean Corker is averaging 22 yards per catch and has been a weapon. Very, very balanced and there is enough talent here to give any team a scare. Limiting mistakes will go a long way for them because they can score.
The defense lacks big play ability. They are giving up 27 points per game and have been unable to to control the line of scrimmage. They will need to rely on some timely defense to make a run in the playoffs, things like critical stops on third and fourth down and forcing turnovers. Someone needs to step up and make a play.
Interesting notes: Lost to crosstown rival St. Thomas 49-3 and local rival Northeast 17-7 in the first two games. Turned things around there and played Glades Central as well as anyone, scoring by far the most points against them. They seem to be a different team late in the year and the offense could keep them in any game.