Glades Day repeats as state football champions
Friday, December 10, 2010
by Jeff Greer
Photo by Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post
Glades Day running back #21 Kelvin Taylor scores on a 17- yard run. Taylor carried for a state record 44 times. Taylor also scored five touchdowns.
Another huge game by Kelvin Taylor and Corey Garcia's timely recollection helped Glades Day repeat as Class 1B state football champions Friday.
While Taylor rushed for 248 yards on a whopping 44 carries and five touchdowns, it was Garcia's play with a minute remaining that helped the Gators escape with a 42-35 victory over South Daytona-Warner Christian at the Citrus Bowl.
Garcia swore he'd seen it before: Warner Christian quarterback Tyler Barron dropping back and looking right, locking in on his receiver running a route across the middle.
When Barron wound up to throw, that's when it clicked for Garcia - it was exactly what he'd seen on tape while preparing to face the Eagles. At that point, all he had to do was catch the ball, and after first bobbling it, he pulled it in to end Warner Christian's final drive.
"I watched film all week," Garcia said, "but you never expect something like that, to be exactly in that moment. When he threw the ball, I was in the perfect spot."
It was the second year in a row that Glades Day outlasted Warner Christian by a touchdown in the state championship. The Gators won last year's final 27-20 in overtime.
On Friday, Warner Christian stormed out to a dominant 21-0 lead in the opening 16 minutes, finding space along the edges for its runners on offense and manhandling Glades Day's offensive line on defense.
By halftime, the Eagles led 21-7, having limited Taylor to just 51 yards on 15 carries.
In the second half, however, turnovers undid everything Warner Christian had built.
Glades Day's Steven Williams intercepted a Barron pass on the second half's opening possession. The Gators didn't capitalize then, but later in the quarter, Glades Day recovered two Warner Christian fumbles that led to touchdowns.
From that point on, Glades Day clearly had the momentum, even after Warner Christian took a 35-28 lead.
"They made a mistake by keeping us in the game," said Williams, who also had a 28-yard touchdown reception. "We made them pay for it. Gators never die."
Apparently they don't go down easily, either. At least Taylor doesn't.
The sophomore, who with his five touchdowns tied the Florida high school football record for career TDs with 110, had 197 yards and four scores in the second half.
The difference was his offensive line, which struggled out of the gate, but recovered extremely well. The tide was turned after a halftime pep talk and Taylor found mammoth holes on his cutbacks after the break.
"Eventually I'm gonna break one," Taylor said. "I just kept going. No team's gonna stop me. I don't care if it's (Class) 6A, nobody. My offensive line can block anyone, any time."
Taylor's 14-yard dash tied the game at 35 with 8:25 to play. His 19-yard run put the Gators ahead for good minutes later.
That's when Garcia sealed the deal.
"It just feels fantastic," Garcia said. "It's just a rush, you know? My adrenaline just hit me. There's no better feeling."
Friday's win was the seventh championship in Glades Day's storied history. The Gators evened their record in state title games at 7-7 and this is the first time they've won consecutive titles.
"I guess these guys are going to go down with legendary status at Glades Day," Gators coach Pete Walker said.