Playoffs on the Line for Leal, Atlantic

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Mark Leal ‘s recruiting card

Back-to-back losses have put Atlantic’s (Delray Beach, FL) playoff prospects in jeopardy, but hope remains heading into Friday night’s contest against Palm Beach Central.

“It’s just been those kinds of weeks,” senior quarterback Mark Leal said of the outcomes of the last two games. Each game concluded with a 34-27 score. “When we lost last Friday, we thought we were done for good. It ended up being that we still had a chance. This will be our third chance at getting a playoff spot. With this many chances, everybody is motivated. We need to hop on it and take advantage.”

Hopefully for the 6-1, 185-pound quarterback, the next week will be a busy one. Atlantic must win tonight, but it also needs rival Boca Raton to defeat Park Vista. If both outcomes come to pass, Atlantic will be in a 3-way tie for second place in its district with Park Vista and Seminole Ridge. The winner of the tiebreaker, which would take place on Monday, would earn a playoff spot.

“We would play Seminole Ridge for one quarter,” Leal said, explaining what the tiebreaker entails. “The winner of that would play Park Vista for a quarter. The winner of that would be given second place in the district and get the playoff spot.

“It has been a crazy week this week. We’ve practiced for Palm Beach Central, but for the last 30 minutes of each practice we have prepared for Seminole Ridge. We are pretty much preparing for two teams.”

Atlantic’s record isn’t what Leal envisioned, but he has been pleased with what he has done individually.

“Individually, I think I’ve had pretty much the best season I could’ve asked for,” said Leal, who has completed 62-percent of his passes for 1,902 yards with 21 touchdowns to only three interceptions. His completion percentage has improved by 11 percentage points from last season. “Team-wise, I am disappointed. I had high expectations. We just let ourselves down so far, but we still have chances.”

The Virginia Tech commitment watched Tech’s win over East Carolina last night. He watched as a fan and also as a future player, evaluating the offense. He likes what he sees.