Posted: 12:23 am Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Playoff Primer 2012: South Fork faces tough first-round challenge 

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.

What do we make of South Fork? Is it the team that started 8-0 and made in-roads toward a statewide ranking in Class 6A? Is it a state contender? Or is the record more of a mirage, a reflection of a weaker schedule? Guess we get to find out pretty soon.

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

SOUTH FORK
Record: 9-1.
How they qualified: Runner-up, District 14-6A.
Average points per game: 33.7.
Average points allowed per game: 16.8.
Offensive yardage totals: 3,452 (2,761 rush/691 pass).
Offensive stars: RBs Mike Harris and Lorenz Velasco, QB Cody Labanowitz.
Defensive yardage totals: 2,723 (1,795 rush/928 pass).
Best win: 55-54 over Glades Day.

PALM BAY
Record: 6-4.
How they qualified: Winner, District 13-6A.
Average points per game: 22.3.
Average points allowed per game: 10.5.
Best win: 7-6 over Palm Bay-Heritage.

PBGametime favorite: Palm Bay.
Pinkos’ prediction: Palm Bay by 14.
Lazindex favorite: Palm Bay.

South Fork put on a good show for its fans this fall, winning nine games and carrying an unblemished record into November. The blowout wins over inferior opponents should provide some confidence that South Fork is a good team, but the 116 points allowed in the past three games is probably worth the shivers they give. That’s not good, no matter how impressive Glades Day’s All-American running back Kelvin Taylor is — 54 points to a Class 2A school just doesn’t smell right. Nor does 41 to a district rival in the biggest game of the season. Now, Palm Bay is beatable — it has trouble scoring consistently and has tripped up four times this fall — but that schedule implies Palm Bay is battle-tested. This isn’t a knock entirely on South Fork — the Bulldogs had the same schedule last year and it was a tough one — but this time around the Bulldogs’ slate may be a detriment, especially when they have to hit the road to start the playoffs.