Maury WR Dashaun Peele and Indian River QB Dominique Brooks (Photos: Joe Barnes and Sarah Murphy/recruit757)
Friday night brings what could be a high scoring showdown between Maury and Indian River
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
REGION 5A FINAL: #3 Maury (11-1) at #1 Indian River (12-0) 7:00 p.m. Friday
The last time these two teams met in the playoffs, Maury and Indian River nearly broke the scoreboard.
It was only a year ago, but both teams have progressed so much since then. Indian River’s offense out scored Maury and seemingly no defense was played in a 76-41 shootout.
It’s a new year. Maury has been giving up only a little more than 12 points per game while scoring nearly 40 points per game.
Indian River only allowed 16 points in a win over Oscar Smith and has allowed 7 points per game while scoring an average of nearly 45.
WHEN MAURY HAS THE BALL:
Maury’s attack is balanced and they have plenty of weapons. Running back C.J. Beasley (1,406 yards and 14 touchdowns) carries the load in the running game while quarterback Alvonte Lawton is a dual threat. At 6-2 and 220, Lawton is tough to bring down and he’s thrown for 2,273 yards and 28 touchdowns after transferring from Norfolk Christian over the summer. Lawton led the Ambassadors to the VISAA Division II State Championship game last year, so he’s made his adjustment to the spotlight.
Commodore receivers have racked up a ton of yardage and touchdowns, and this receiver corps excels at getting yards after the catch. Ke’Andre Lambert (47 catches for 725 yards and 11 touchdowns), Dashaun Peele (37 catches for 755 yards and 7 touchdowns), Tyshaun Granger (29 catches for 405 yards and six touchdowns) and Sheridan Jones lead the way in the passing game.
WHEN INDIAN RIVER HAS THE BALL:
Quarterback Dominique Brooks has been exactly the leader that Coach Glenwood Ferebee needed. The Indian River offense has been solid for the past few years, but with Brooks at the helm, the Braves have been truly prolific week in and week out. Brooks has tallied 2,721 passing yards and 36 touchdowns. He doesn’t need to run much. The offensive line has protected him well and Dominique has made good decisions when it has come to finding an open receiver or getting rid of the ball.
Running backs Carmello Sweat and Ricardo Ray have been season long weapons for the Braves, but linebacker Ahshawn Moore has emerged since he was heavily used against Oscar Smith. Moore scored a rushing touchdown and had a touchdown catch against the Tigers. Now he’s a tough yardage weapon for Ferebee.
The receiving corps has been productive thanks to Brooks’ distribution of the ball, with Lamareon James, Rasheen Brooks and Tyrell Spruill leading the way.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Expect a sell out. The atmosphere should be just as electric as it was when Indian River visited Oscar Smith last month. In tonight’s game, the loser goes home.
Both teams are able to exploit opposing defenses. While Indian River topped Smith by a score of 28-16, it’s highly likely that more points will be scored between Maury and Indian River.
Both teams have been tested. Maury’s only loss (Lake Taylor) came in week four. Two weeks after that, Maury went on a five-game binge where they shut out four of five opponents and rolled up 248 points against a total of 6.
The winner here may be the last team to score, just like Maury did with a last second Luca Weber field goal to help the Commodores pull out a win over Salem last week in a 31-28 victory. Indian River has clutch kicker of their own in Thad Blackburn. Expect a high scoring game that could come down to the last possession of the game.
– Andy Hilton