Park Vista 28, John I. Leonard 14: Cobras clinch a playoff berth
Friday, November 02, 2012
by Matt Porter
With a playoff spot on the line, eighth-ranked Park Vista and John I. Leonard were far from on fire.
Both teams came out tight and flat. Short gains and negative plays were common. They combined for eight fumbles.
"There wasn't energy out here tonight," Park Vista coach Brian Dodds said. "It was one of those games ... I'm just relieved to get through it."
No. 8 Park Vista (7-1, 2-1 in District 10-8A) got through it more easily, beating John I. Leonard 28-14 to secure second place in the district and a playoff spot. The Cobras will visit Seminole Ridge in the Class 8A regional quarterfinals on Nov. 16. Leonard (4-5, 1-2), which has put scares into some of the area's better teams, needs a win next week to salvage a .500 season.
"They've improved dramatically throughout the season," Dodds said of Seminole Ridge (5-2), which has ascended to The Post's No. 6 ranking since an 0-2 start. "We're going to see them at their best."
The winner will play either Palm Beach Gardens or Palm Beach Central in the semifinals. If it's Park Vista who advances, it will be because its grind-it-out, run-first offense is clicking for four quarters.
The Cobras weren't consistent in gaining 203 yards on the ground.
Junior quarterback Qwad Martin hit on three of seven passes for 72 yards, but one was a screen pass to senior Adrian Cerrato that went for a 36-yard touchdown to open up a 14-0 lead.
Senior LeKraig Bens' 1-yard run made it 7-0, coming after the Lancers let Martin loose for a 27-yard gain. Cerrato's touchdown came after Cobras senior linebacker Josh Aldrin sacked Leonard senior Daniel Deshommes, who fumbled. The Cobras made it 28-7 on short touchdown runs by Cerrato and Martin.
"You can't make mistakes in big games," John I. Leonard coach Wayne Monroe said. "You can't turn the ball over in big games. And you can't get off to a slow start. There's no doubt we can play with anyone in our district. The difference is the mistakes."
Meanwhile, the Cobras fumbled five times and lost two, including one with 2:06 left that John I. Leonard senior Ovenson Cledanord recovered at the Cobras' 37. With 28 seconds left, Cobras junior defensive back Emmanuel Smith sealed it with an interception.
"We're hit-and-miss," Dodds said, citing two weeks off in the past month due to Hurricane Sandy and a bye week. "We're not really smooth with our operations right now."
Leonard, never out of a game because of its quality quarterbacks and ultra-athletic receivers, couldn't hit on enough big plays to score the upset.
Senior Adam Johnson was his usual playmaking self, going 16-of-29 for 133 yards while keeping plays alive in the pocket. He made it 14-7 in the third quarter with 26-yard touchdown pass to sure-handed junior Jerry Jones.
In the fourth quarter, Deshommes (9-of-15, 117 yards, TD) threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jones. That play was set up by a one-handed, 37-yard grab by 6-foot-3 sophomore Tavares Martin. Junior Larry Dunnon (five catches, 70 yards) was also impressive.
"We're not far off," Monroe said. "I hope the kids understand that. That's the most important thing."