Posted: 1:44 pm Friday, December 10th, 2010
By Jeff Greer
Some quick thoughts at the conclusion of the Class 1B state title game. Glades Day defeated Warner Christian, 42-35, in yet another thrilling finish.
Play of the quarter. Well, in a quarter that had four touchdowns and all kinds of big plays, the biggest has to be Corey Garcia’s shoestring interception to clinch Glades Day’s win. Warner Christian quarterback Tyler Barron dropped back and looked right. The linebacker Garcia dropped into zone coverage about 8 yards off the line of scrimmage and just followed Barron’s eyes. The pass was about eye-high on Garcia, who knocked it down, bobbled it and finally controlled it with his fingertips. Glades Day ran the clock out after that.
Talk about a rollercoaster. Momentum had already swung in Glades Day’s favor in the third quarter, but Kelvin Taylor really got going in the fourth. The sophomore found creases just big enough to help Glades Day sustain two scoring drives in the final 10 minutes. He had 127 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth, and his offensive line did a fantastic job of getting a good old-fashioned push against a fast, aggressive Warner Christian.
Stats: Kelvin Taylor ran for 248 yards and five touchdowns. Tanner Redish was 4 of 10 for 60 yards and one touchdown. Garcia had eight tackles — one for loss — and the interception. Warner’s Breon Allen had 147 yards and a touchdown. Marcus Dixon scored twice and ran for 120 yards. Tyler Barron was 4 of 9 for 117 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Play(s) of the quarter: Warner Christian fumbled an exchange on its second possession of the quarter (after throwing an interception on its first). Glades Day recovered at the Warner 17, and Kelvin Taylor punched it in from 12 yards on third down. So two turnovers and seven more points for Glades Day kept the momentum swing going in the Gators’ favor with 6:37 to play in the third.
The response. Well, Warner Christian had a pretty good candidate for play of the quarter, too. Backed up to its own 10 after a penalty on the kickoff return, Warner Christian’s Breon Allen took a carry outside on the left for 68 yards, pushed out at the Glades Day 22. That run set up Taylor Oldham’s end-around for 22 yards and a touchdown.
On Glades Day’s ensuing possession, Glades Day picked up a first down on two Taylor runs. Then the Gators ran a halfback pass. Taylor underthrew Mike Terrell and Warner’s Taylor Oldham made a fantastic catch in traffic for an interception. It ended what looked like a promising Glades Day series.
Still fighting. A fantastic punt return by Eaton Spence eventually led to a fourth-down touchdown pass to Steven Williams from Tanner Redish. Redish threw a right-side fade and Williams made an acrobatic catch. He snatched it at the last second and fell backward into the end zone to make it 28-20.
On the ensuing kickoff, Glades Day recovered a fumble on the kickoff. The Gators had the ball at the Warner 9 after the fumble recovery.
Play of the quarter: Tanner Redish found Corey Garcia wide open on the right side. It was the kind of completion that makes a defense think twice about stacking the box. Garcia turned up field and had the ball jarred loose and Warner Christian recovered. So instead of a first-down pass completion, Warner Christian took over at the Glades Day 35 and made the Gators pay with a 19-yard touchdown run by Marcus Dixon.
For Glades Day, the Gators got a big fourth-down catch by Eaton Spence that kept Glades Day’s scoring drive going. Shomori Williams was open on a drag route across the middle but Redish led him just a little bit too far. Spence dove after the ball and snatched it as he fell to the ground. Two plays later, Kelvin Taylor took it 24 yards to the house, finally getting Glades Day on the board.
A staggering start. Glades Day’s energy level seemed low for the first 18 minutes or so. The Gators’ offense had one play worth much in those opening minutes, an 11-yard run by Taylor in the first quarter. But the Warner Christian defense had something to do with it. The Eagles dominated the line of scrimmage early, stacking nine guys in the box. There’s usually been one deep safety and a cover guy. And they are immediately looking for the run.
Glades Day finally responded to Warner Christian’s defensive scheme with some throws. Two nice throws, including the one to Spence that I detailed above, set up Kelvin Taylor’s 24-yard touchdown run with 4:10 to play in the half.
On defense, Glades Day has bet everything on the run, but the Gators have been burned twice when the ball carrier gets to the second level and once when the quarterback throws.
Halftime stats. Kelvin Taylor has 51 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries. Tanner Redish is 3 for 7 for 32 yards. Warner Christian’s Breon Allen has 65 yards and a touchdown off seven carries. Marcus Dixon has 58 and one touchdown on 10 carries.
Biggest stat: Warner Christian has outgained Glades Day, 209-84, in total offense.
Play of the quarter: Well, it could be the 30-yard end-around by Breon Allen, where he broke around the left end, past his blocking receiving who held his block extremely well, and then blew past Glades Day’s safeties.
Or it could be Tyler Barron’s jump ball that Taylor Oldham snatched over Mike Terrell, who then slipped. Oldham ran another 60 yards untouched for an 80-yard touchdown.
How they started. Glades Day started out in the I-formation, using motion to run twins left to begin. Taylor took three runs for 4 yards. Warner is really shooting the gaps and blowing past Taylor’s lead blocks. He’s been bottled up, taking eight carries for 19 yards (11 of which came on one run).
Warner opened in a wing-T. The Eagles had two running backs, one as the dot in an I and the other offset over the quarterback’s right shoulder. Warner Christian ran effectively to start, but Glades Day stiffened up a bit after one first-down run, pushing the safeties way up in the box.
But that strategy burned the Gators on Warner Christian’s second possession. Breon Allen broke out to the left side, got outside his receiver’s block and literally outran Glades Day’s secondary for the first touchdown of the 2010 state championships. And it burned them again when Warner scored on the 80-yard pass. As soon as Terrell slipped, there was no safety net.