Posted: 6:09 am Friday, September 25th, 2009
By Jason Lieser
Tonight’s game between Glades Day and No. 5 Jupiter Christian (at Benjamin) is the most significant game of the season to this point.
The Eagles look susceptible to a strong passing attack and Glades Day has some tall, quick receivers, led by junior Devonte Allen, but the Gators’ biggest threat is freshman running back Kelvin Taylor. The man tabbed with slowing him down is Jupiter Christian linebacker Will Powers.
“I’ll be following his steps,” Powers said. “He’s good at finding the cutback lanes, so the linebackers need to stay together. Last year he was stopping in the hole and looking for seams. This year he doesn’t stop.”
After Dwyer’s Matt Elam, Taylor (5-11, 205) is the area’s most talented runner. He is already running a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and looks smarter behind his line than he did a year ago. He averaged 143.3 yards per game and 9.1 per carry as an eighth-grader. This season, he is second in the area in rushing yards (499) and touchdowns (10).
It will take a collective effort to limit Taylor’s impact tonight, but Jupiter Christian’s defense revolves around Powers, a Super 11 pick. Powers (5-9, 186, No. 37 on The Big Board) lacks in size and pure speed, but he offsets that by recognizing the play at the line and making a quick first step.
“He reads fast and he doesn’t seem to get blocked a whole lot,” Gators coach Pete Walker said.
Powers also doesn’t miss many tackles. Even against bigger, stronger players, if Powers gets a hand on them, he almost always brings them down.
When these teams met in Belle Glade last November, Taylor burned the Eagles for a 66-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Other than that play, he averaged 2.3 yards per carry. He finished with 91 yards.
Look for Taylor to at least match that number this week, but if Jupiter Christian keeps him around 100 yards (60 or so below his average), the Eagles have done their job.