Posted: 1:30 pm Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Complete coverage: Glades Day’s Kelvin Taylor breaks Emmitt Smith’s state rushing record 

By Matt Porter

STUART – With a 34-yard run in the second quarter of a Nov. 11, 2011 game, Kelvin Taylor became Florida’s career rushing leader.

Taylor, a junior at Glades Day, entered Friday’s game at South Fork 217 yards shy of the 8,804 NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith put up at Pensacola’s Escambia High from 1983-86.

In a 43-22 win over South Fork, Taylor put up 388 yards and six touchdowns on 34 carries, passing Smith in the first half of the Gators’ season finale.

For his career, Taylor has 8975 yards and 141 touchdowns – both state records – on 1,001 carries. Click here to read about the other county and state records held by Taylor.

Taylor, who scored on Glades Day’s first six drives, entered the fifth needing 53 yards to break the record. With 4:43 left in the second quarter, Taylor set up as the tailback of the I-formation. On second-and-9 from the 34-yard line, he took a hand-off from quarterback John Barr and rushed up the left side.

httpv://youtu.be/2aOBFPiNMuk

(video by Wells Dusenbury, ESPN 760)

Another state record — and he has several — was his.

“Man, it feels great,” Taylor said after the game. “It’s unreal.

“As the play broke out, the offensive line got some great blocking going. I mean … it was a blessing. I feel great, man.

“Basically, pretty much just want to thank God, and thank all my coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to make that happen. I mean, I just want to thank everyone. It feels great right now.”

After he set the record, Taylor walked back to the sideline. His mother, Tiffany Campbell-McGrew, came down from the visiting stands and her son handed her the ball he used to set the record.

After the game, Campbell-McGrew beamed and punctuated her thoughts with giggles.

“It’s a big weight off his shoulders. He said he wanted to come in and do it tonight and get it over with,” Campbell-McGrew said. “I sort of knew he was going to do it tonight.”

“Now, we need a three-peat,” she added. Taylor has carried Glades Day to two state titles in a row.

She said she might take him to a restaurant to celebrate. “Or he’ll just go home and eat a bowl of Lucky Charms.”

“I don’t know when it’s going to set in. I’m very happy,” she said.

“I told him he’s the greatest football player I’ve ever coached and he’s the best back I’ve ever seen,” Glades Day coach Pete Walker said. “He’s a once in a lifetime kid.”

With 388 yards in Glades Day's regular-season finale, Kelvin Taylor became the leading rusher in the storied history of Florida high school football. (TCPalm.com)

With 388 yards in Glades Day's regular-season finale, Kelvin Taylor became the leading rusher in the storied history of Florida high school football. (TCPalm.com)

Read a detailed recap of Taylor’s chase for the record as it happened live.

PREGAME

South Fork (6-3) coach Dennis Lavelle knows his team needs to stop Taylor. That’s all.

“Pretty simple,” Lavelle said. “When you’ve got a big horse like that, you’ve got to ride it. What else would you do?”

Lavelle, whose team has allowed just under 20 points per game and scored more than 34, said his team is getting better defensively. “We’re just OK,” he admitted. “We’re going to do something differently. A lot of teams put 11 guys in the box, but we’re going to layer it, to try to put a lid on it. If we keep him from going the distance, we’ve got a chance.”

Lavelle said his Bulldogs have talked about the record all week.

“I said the other day, you guys are going to be old men, 40 years old on the couch, and someone will say ‘You ever hear of this Taylor guy?’ And they’ll say yeah, I played against him.”

South Fork is a larger school in classification (6A to 2A), in roster numbers (55 to 35) and in size, with 18 kids over 200 pounds. They’re the District 14-6A champions. They should be able to shut down Taylor. Will they?

“They’re kids. I don’t know,” Lavelle said.

Before the game, the words “Taylor” and “record” flew around the stands like summer mosquitoes. Glades Day repelled any talk of records.

“To be honest with you, we don’t even talk about it,” Gators coach Pete Walker said.

Click back here for quarter-by-quarter updates on Taylor’s record chase. Also follow me on Twitter @mattyports for score updates and other news.

FIRST QUARTER

Kelvin Taylor puts Glades Day up 7-0 with 5:2 left in the first quarter. On Glades Day’s first drive, he carries 7 times for 74 yards, including a 38-yarder on which he skipped and bounced through traffic, then outside for a huge gain.

Taylor ended the quarter after carrying the Gators to the 3-yard line. His total first-quarter stats: 12 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown.

He is now 82 yards away from Emmitt Smith’s state rushing record.

SECOND QUARTER

On the first play of the second quarter, Taylor carried in a 3-yard touchdown, capping a nine-play drive that gave the Gators a 14-7 lead.

Taylor is now 79 yards away.

Glades Day’s third drive started with 10:24 left in the first half. The Gators set up at their own 29.

South Fork scored to go ahead 15-14, but Taylor came back with a 10-yard touchdown on the end of a Glades Day drive helped by a 24-yard catch by Jose Hinton.

With 165 yards (and three touchdowns) on 18 carries, Taylor is now 52 yards away from tying Emmitt Smith’s all-time state record.

South Fork put up a score on two plays to go ahead 22-20 with 6:06 left in the first half.

Taylor took the field 52 yards away, and did it in style. On a 34-yard touchdown run with 4:32 left in the first half, Kelvin Taylor broke Emmitt Smith’s state rushing record.

He fell into the end zone for the two-point conversion, too.

The touchdown was his fourth of the first half and gave him 228 yards on 21 carries.

Click here to see another angle of Taylor’s record-setting touchdown, shot by the Sun-Sentinel’s Dieter Kurtenbach.

Glades Day recovered a fumbled on the kick, and two plays later, Taylor ran in a three-yard touchdown. It was his fifth touchdown of the first half and gave him 231 yards on 22 carries.

THIRD QUARTER

Taylor was still on the field in the third quarter. He gained 50 yards on seven carries on a drive that ate up almost the entire quarter. Will Zipperer’s 30-yard field goal capped a 14-play, 9:28 drive that put Glades Day up 37-22.

The Gators scored on their first six drives.

FOURTH QUARTER

Kelvin Taylor looked … have to say it … a bit tired on the previous drive.

He just showed he has plenty left.

With 10:30 left in the game, Taylor took a handoff behind the five-yard line, burst through the line and outran the secondary.

Showing a burst of speed he hadn’t displayed all night, he raced 95 yards for his sixth score of the night. 43-22 Glades Day.

He now has 377 yards and six touchdowns on 32 carries. An amazing display. An amazing talent.

With less than four minutes in the game, Taylor took the field again. On a five-yard carry, he was hit low by a South Fork player and was slow to get up. He limped off, but appeared to be OK on the sideline.

After the game, he said he was fine.

And claimed he wasn’t tired at all.

httpv://youtu.be/2f1MUiW9w4s

(video by Wells Dusenbury, ESPN 760)


FLORIDA’S ALL-TIME HIGH SCHOOL RUSHING LEADERS

Yards – Name – School – Years – Other stats

*8,975 – Kelvin Taylor – Glades Day – 2008-11 – 1,001 carries, 141 TDs

8,804 – Emmitt Smith – Pensacola-Escambia – 1983-86 – 1,127 carries, 106 TDs

7,947 – Willie Green – Kissimmee-Osceola – 1996-99 – 920 carries, 107 TDs

7,479 – Ciatrick Fason – Neptune Beach-Fletcher – 1998-01 – 933 carries, 96 TDs

7,411 – C.J. Hudson – Frostproof – 1996-99 – 71 TDs

7,321 – Mike Bellamy – Punta Gorda-Charlotte – 2007-10 – 110 TDs

7,224 – Travis Henry – Frostproof – 1993-96 – 79 TDs

KELVIN TAYLOR’S CAREER RUSHING STATS

2008: 193 carries, 1,584 yards, 28 TD

2009: 286 carries, 2,592 yards, 46 TD

2010: 290 carries, 2,470 yards, 34 TD

*2011: 232 carries, 2,329 yards, 33 TD

*TOTALS: 1,001 carries, 8,975 yards, 141 TD

* as of Nov. 12, 2011

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