Super picks

Published 9:33pm Thursday, January 31, 2013

Suffolk players, coaches predict big game winners

High school football season has long since been over, but that doesn’t mean local football coaches and players are not still living, breathing and sleeping football. Some of them took time this week to share their picks for Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

“This is the Super Bowl I predicted preseason,” Nansemond-Suffolk Academy senior linebacker Jacob Laine said.

He expects a hard-hitting game with an emphasis on defense.

“(There are) two great linebackers in this game, Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis, both of which are my idols, so it should be interesting,” he said.

He highlighted the two coaching styles of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and his younger brother, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, describing them as “calm and collected and super-energetic,” respectively. He predicts the Ravens will win.

King’s Fork senior slotback/defensive back Charles Clark similarly expects a defensive game in favor of Baltimore.

“They’ll be able to hold the 49ers, and the 49ers, they’ve got a little dynamic offense, but I think they rely a little more on their defense,” he said.

He spoke for many of the local players when he said, “I want to see Ray Lewis do well, since it’s supposed to be his last game.”

Clark’s head coach, Joe Jones, a former National Football League player, is rooting for the Niners.

“I actually was a free agent with the 49ers in 1986,” he said. “I was in training camp with them when they had (Joe) Montana and (Dwight) Clark, Roger Craig and all those guys and Jerry Rice.”

But a local connection causes him to give a sliver of love to the Ravens.

“There’s a part of me (that’s) liking the Ravens because of Tyrod Taylor being a local guy,” he said. “He’s the backup quarterback of the Ravens and a (Virginia Tech) Hokie. I don’t wish any ill will on Joe Flacco, but it’d be neat to see Tyrod in the Super Bowl, and I know his dad.”

The 49ers have a 5-0 Super Bowl record and will try to match Pittsburgh’s win total. Nansemond River head coach and Steelers fan Tracey Parker Sr. does not want company in this regard and is willing to root for an archival to keep it from happening.

“I’m pulling for the Ravens,” he said. “It hurts me to say that. I guess it’s selfish, I don’t want San Fran to get six.”

Lakeland freshman linebacker Jaquan Yulee said, “I’ve got to go Ray Lewis, I’ve got to go with Baltimore.”

“The defense and offense is pretty good too,” he said. “Ray Rice, I don’t think anybody’s going to stop him. That’s a little, short quick dude.”

He also thinks Ray Lewis will use the recent allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs as extra motivation to quiet the critics.

NSA senior quarterback Tim Burns said second-year 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be the difference in the game.

“I think the 49ers are going to win because of Colin Kaepernick’s ability to read a defense, especially on that read option,” he said. “They isolate the outside linebacker, and Frank Gore can either go up the middle or (Kaepernick) can take it.”

Former Lakeland head coach Glenwood Ferebee had multiple reasons for predicting the Ravens will win by a touchdown.

“Just the fact that they’ve been there before, that they had the Super Bowl experience, and they’re hot right now,” he said. “The record might not say it, but the last two Super Bowl champions have been on a roll right at the end of the year. And they’re basically playing for Ray Lewis right now, so they’ve got extra motivation.”

King’s Fork senior wide receiver/defensive back Davon Grayson had similar thoughts about Baltimore trending at the right time.

“If they establish that run game like they have been, it’s no stopping them then, along with that deep ball threat with Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith,” he said. “And then the secondary from San Francisco has been real cold.”

Lakeland senior wideout Michael Piersawl likes the Ravens, “because I feel like there’s no corner in the league that can successfully shut down Anquan (Boldin). And Torrey Smith is going to do damage to their defense — and Ray Lewis, he’s just got that heart. He’s going to pump the whole team up.”

“I don’t think he’s going to retire, either,” he said. “I think he’s coming back like Brett Favre.”

NSA head coach Lew Johnston made his allegiance clear.

“I left my heart in San Francisco,” he said.

However, he suspects that a well-prepared Baltimore defense means he will “probably fall asleep in the third quarter when it’s still 3-0.”

He expects the 49ers to have a couple surprises in store, though, and favors Jim Harbaugh between the brothers, because the “young one’s always got to try harder.”

Latrell Sandifer, junior running back for the Warriors, had a quick answer for who will win the game.

“Niners,” he said. “I think they can win it. That team’s just too complete.”

His teammate, junior tight end/linebacker Marvin Branch, was on the opposite side of things.

“I want Ray Lewis to get his last ring,” he said.

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