Posted: 11:15 pm Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Playoff Primer 2011: Glades Day’s first test is Champagnat Catholic 

By Matt Porter

There are 16 playoff games on Friday involving teams from our area. In the buildup to the games, we’ll break down every matchup.

Champangant’s chances of advancing fall in line with its ability to stop Kelvin Taylor. 

Did you expect to hear something different? 

For a team that finished second in a weak four-team district and just barely had a positive point differential, the task of stopping the state’s all-time rushing leader is monumental. While Taylor can carry the ball for 48 minutes, in most games he doesn’t have to. He probably won’t have to here, either. 

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. General admission is $8; reserved seating is $9.

CHAMPAGNAT CATHOLIC
Record: 4-4
How they qualified: Runner-up in District 8-2A.
Average points per game: 22.1
Average points allowed per game: 22
Offensive stars: QB Charles Williams(6-2, 180), ATH Constant Antoine (6-1, 195) 
Defensive stars: DE Luis Dominguez (6-5, 225), DT Joe Jones (6-4, 245), S Isaac McDonald (6-6, 205).
Common opponents with Glades Day:  None.

GLADES DAY
Record: 7-3
How they qualified: Winner of District 7-2A.
Average points per game: 32.4
Average points allowed per game: 23.9.
Offensive yardage totals: 304.7 rush, 39.4 pass per game.
Offensive stars: RB Kelvin Taylor (2,329 yards, 33 TD on 232 carries), WR Steven Williams (190 receiving yards, 1 TD) 
Defensive yardage totals: 138.2 rush, 150.9 pass per game.
Common opponents with Champagnat: None.

If you haven’t seen Taylor play, here’s a description: he stands 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds. He’s the son of former NFL star, Florida great and Glades Central legend Fred Taylor. Every school in the country wants him, and he likes Florida and Alabama the most. He has everything you’d want in a running back — he makes ankle-breaking cuts, he sees plays develop quicker than anyone on the field and he has the speed to turn a fast-closing hole into a 70-yard touchdown. He could probably play in the SEC right now, and with one more high school season left, he’s going to leave an even bigger imprint on the state’s record book. 

In short, he’s one of the best anyone’s ever seen. 

Champagnat hasn’t seen anyone like him this season. The best player the Lions have faced, Dade Christian quarterback and Kansas commit Bilal Marshall, sliced them up in a 46-6 loss earlier in the season. But Taylor (who was named U.S. Army All-American Player of the Week for last week’s 388-yard, six-touchdown performance against South Fork) is a whole ‘nother animal. The Lions have size on defense – watch for 6-foot-6, 210-pound safety Isaac McDonald, one of the state’s most sought-after junior recruits, and 245-pound tackle Joe Jones – but they’ll load the box and hope Taylor falters. 

Glades Day sets up Taylor with strong blocking up front, and fullback Will Zipperer and junior Nigel Allen help out with the occasional carry. They have a capable quarterback, John Barr, and 6-4, 170-pound receiver Steven Williams, who has an offer from Northern Illinois. But if everyone does their jobs – and they usually do – Taylor is all they need to win.

It’s been feast or famine for the Lions, a young program in season one of district play. In four wins, they’ve outscored opponents by a combined 150-20 margin. In four losses, they’ve been outscored 156-27. Glades Day’s defense isn’t a world-beater, but Taylor will eat all the yardage he wants, and that’ll be the difference. It has been for Glades Day in their last two playoff runs, which ended with Taylor and the Gators hoisting state championships. 

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