Posted: 2:45 pm Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Glades Day, riding hot streak, readies for talented Miami-Belen Jesuit 

By Jeff Greer

When Glades Day started the 2010 football season, expectations were high–with good reason. The Gators returned star running back Kelvin Taylor, Division I-level defensive backs Eaton Spence and JT Thornton, and junior quarterback Tanner Redish to a team that won the Class 1B state title.

At first, everything went according to plan. Glades Day ground out a 24-12 win over Twiggs County (Ga.) in Daytona Beach. Taylor, who had offseason knee surgery, played and looked as close to full health as he had all offseason.

Then the Gators slipped up. Twice.

Back-to-back losses to District 7-1B archrival Jupiter Christian and Miami-Dade Christian knocked Glades Day out of the Palm Beach Post rankings and jarred the team a bit.

“You come off a championship year and you get some really great teams right out of the gate,” Glades Day coach Pete Walker said. “We just weren’t focused.”

Since that 20-0 loss to Dade Christian back on Sept. 10, Walker said the Gators’ focus has returned. Glades Day has won three in a row, including back-to-back wins against district foes Village Academy and Summit Christian. Now the Gators get one of the top 3A schools in Florida, Miami-Belen Jesuit, at home on Friday night.

“We finally realized that we aren’t entitled to anything,” Walker said. “This’ll be a good test for us.”

Belen Jesuit (5-1) has won four straight, outscoring opponents 164-48 in those wins. Its only loss came against the Associated Press’ fifth-ranked 6A team, Miami-Christopher Columbus. Like Glades Day, Belen Jesuit has its fair share of Division I recruits, including Miami commit Nick Menocal, a 6-3, 235-pound linebacker. The Gators lost to Belen Jesuit last year in Miami, 17-14.

Needless to say, Walker expects a very tough challenge in Belle Glade on Friday.

“We know we’ve got our hands full, but we’re prepared,” Walker said. “I feel like we’ll play well. The kids are up for it.”