P.K. Yonge hosts Bradford (Starke) in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs
By Marco Martinez
Twitter – @MarcoJMartinez_
P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) Blue Wave
Coach: Marcus McDonald
Key Players: #1 Jacoby Byrd (JR., WR/FS), #2 Israel Wilcox (SR., RB/CB), #4 Carter Kutchko (SR., QB), #6 Pernell Sylvester (SR., RB/OLB), #7 Jacari Byrd (JR., WR/SS), #10 Quintin Williams (SR, WR), #17 Deontae Mavin (JR., WR/DB)
Outlook: The Blue Wave have reached the Class 4A state playoffs after an outstanding seven-game winning streak. They’re currently undefeated against 4A teams, including a 6-0 record at home during the regular season. Lucky for them, having to play away won’t be an issue just yet. The Blue Wave have achieved home-field advantage for the regional quarterfinals game against the Bradford Tornadoes due to their 9-1 record and No. 4 seed in 4A-Region 2. The Tornadoes are the fifth seed. The Blue Wave is led by an abundance of great player chemistry and are thriving under head coach Marcus McDonald’s running-game mentality. The run game that’s led by the dynamic duo of Wilcox and Sylvester has failed to disappoint expectations. Their success flows with either bursts right through the O-line, or screen passes that go for huge yardage. Either or, this game will be one of their biggest challenges of the year as the Tornadoes are 4-1 when playing in opponent territory.
Bradford (Starke) Tornadoes
Coach: Brian Tomlinson
Key Players: #2 Erric Smith (SR., RB/CB), #3 Austin Lovell (SO., WR), #4 Nathaniel Davis (JR., SS/WR), #9 Adrien Ciena (SR., QB)
Outlook: It’s been a rather consistent season for the Tornadoes. They had a three-game winning streak back in the late parts of September, heading into October. But, have lost two of their last three games of the season, one to 7-3 Cocoa (44-7) and one to 3-7 Middleburg (21-13) in their last game of the regular season. The Tornadoes were 10-2 just a year ago, but the 22 seniors that departed from last year’s team has played a huge role in their three extra losses this year. Head coach Brian Tomlinson had a spectacular season last year in his first year on the job for the Tornadoes. They eventually lost to the 4A state champions Raines (Jacksonville) in the state semifinals, and will be looking to get back to where they left off last season. But first, the Tornadoes have to face the Blue Wave, a team who hasn’t been to the playoffs in years. The issue with the Blue Wave is that they aren’t afraid of the challenge that comes when facing playoff experienced teams. It will be a great game nonetheless when the season is on the line.
Location: P.K. Yonge
Time: 7:30 P.M.
Prediction: PKY 38 – 21 Tornadoes