Boca star faces former team tonight
Thursday, November 05, 2009
by Jason Lieser
If Park Vista captures the District 8-6A football title tonight, the Cobras will have to do it against the quarterback who led them to the biggest win in school history — then left them behind.
Boca Raton quarterback Eddie Sullivan, one of the area's most prolific passers the past two seasons, started for Park Vista as a sophomore in 2007 and scored the winning touchdown in a regional semifinal win over Vero Beach.
A few months later, he transferred to Boca Raton in a move the Florida High School Athletic Association later determined was the product of illegal recruiting.
The violation vacated all of Boca Raton's wins from its 9-3 season in 2008 and factored into the firing of head coach Eddie Giersbrook, who was replaced by Keith Byars in May.
Park Vista has plenty of incentive to win this week, regardless of Sullivan. The winner claims the district championship. If Park Vista (6-2, 2-1) loses, it could fall into a three-way tie for second place with Atlantic and Seminole Ridge. All three teams would meet Monday to compete for the remaining playoff spot.
"The biggest thing right now is the district," Park Vista senior defensive lineman Henry Jartu said. "I don't care about Eddie."
But Jartu said it would be nice to pick up a sack against his ex-teammate.
"I didn't get to hit him when we practiced against him because he had the red shirt on the whole time," he said. "He was too precious."
Sullivan, who didn't want to talk about his Park Vista history, is on track for his second straight 2,000-yard season. He has thrown for 1,752 yards and 16 TDs and just six interceptions.
Last week against Atlantic, Boca Raton (6-2, 3-0) pulled off a dramatic 34-27 win thanks to 36- and 50-yard TD passes in the final three minutes. That victory clinched a Bobcats' post-season berth.
One of Sullivan's most impressive traits has been his distribution of the ball: He has completions to 11 players this season and six have caught TD passes. His top receiver, Terrell Williams, has 23 catches.
"If the defense is going to give me something, that's where I'm going with the ball," said Sullivan, who has committed to Wake Forest. "I don't care what kid it is."
Park Vista has struggled against the pass, yielding 270.9 yards per game through the air and allowed a total of 88 points to Atlantic and Dwyer's explosive offenses.
Boca Raton similarly is loaded and scored at least 27 points in five of eight games. The statistic that concerns Park Vista coach Brian Dodds the most, though, is Sullivan's four touchdown passes of 20 yards or more in the past three games.
"If they are hitting big plays, we're in trouble," Dodds said.
Since Sullivan's departure, the Cobras are 14-5 under senior quarterback Billy Perez. Park Vista mixes in senior Justin Davis at times, but primarily relies on Perez to direct a run-heavy offense.
Park Vista's offensive line and running back Tre Mason have helped the Cobras amass an area-best 2,117 rushing yards.
Dodds said he would have incorporated more of the spread offense to maximize Sullivan's skills if he had stayed but admits there's no guarantee it would work.
"Eddie wants to throw the ball more than he wants to run. Billy will adapt to the situation and not really worry about it. He's been a good leader for us."