Posted: 3:07 pm Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Playoff Primer 2012: Kelvin Taylor, Glades Day cruise into Dade Christian 

By Matt Porter

The challenge for any team facing Glades Day is stopping one of the nation’s best backs, senior Kelvin Taylor. While Dade Christian is 10-0 and ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, they might be too banged-up to do it with a trip to the final four on the line.

CLASS 2A REGION 4 FINAL
Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
at Dade Christian School, Miami
General admission $8; reserved seating $9.

GLADES DAY
Record: 9-2
How they qualified: District 7-2A champion.
Last round: Beat Hialeah-Champagnat 39-14 in regional semifinals.
Average points per game: 43.1
Average points allowed per game: 23.7
Offense: 351.5 yards per game (262 rush, 89.5 pass)
Defense: 256.4 yards per game (136.1 rush, 120.3 pass)
Offensive standouts: RB Kelvin Taylor (197 carries, 2,260 yards, 40 TD) FB/LB Jose Penton (6-2, 220), C Cody McGahee (6-2, 280), TE/DE Nathan Lee (6-6, 220).
Defensive standouts: DE/WR Calvin Darville (6-4, 175)

MIAMI-DADE CHRISTIAN
Record: 10-0
How they qualified: District 8-2A champion.
Last round: Beat Village Academy 39-16 in regional semifinals.
Average points per game: 37
Average points allowed per game: 11.6
Offense: 278.4 yards per game (228.9 rush, 49.5 pass)
Defense: 116.9 yards per game (31.2 rush, 85.7 pass)
Offensive standouts: QB/SS Gary Sampson (428 yards, 7 TD on 40-of-71 passing; 775 rushing yards, 8 TD), RB Mariel Steadman (666 rushing yards, 8 TD), FB Andrew Florvil (489 rushing yards, 7 TD).
Defensive standouts: DT/C Danny Nunez (6-2, 285), DE Vince Young (6-1, 210), LB Victor Young (5-11, 185), DT Kevin Acosta (5-10, 200), DE/TE Aaron Batten (6-4, 220).

History: Have not played this year. Glades Day is 3-0 in playoff meetings, winning first-round games in 1982 and 1988 and most recently, the 2006 state semifinals. Dade Christian beat Glades Day in the 2010 regular season. In 2012, each is 3-0 against common opponents (Village Academy, Hialeah-Champagnat, Fort Lauderdale-Archbishop Carroll, which Glades Day won by forfeit).

Matt’s pick: Glades Day 41-38.
Pinkos prediction: Dade Christian by 1.
Lazindex: Dade Christian by 7.

However talented it may be, no small-school team has a deep roster. That statement certainly applies Dade Christian, which has talent but real issues with depth.

Dade Christian coach Mike Sonneborn has lost two starting linebackers, an offensive lineman and a cornerback. He told the Miami Herald this week that his team currently has “about 25 healthy bodies.” Nearly all of them will be focused on stopping Taylor.

No team has done that this season. Taylor is fifth all-time nationally in rushing yards and has a shot at second. Before heading to Florida, Taylor has a maximum of three games left to add to his totals. We’ve written plenty about Taylor on this site. If you haven’t seen him play, he is as good as advertised — 5-11, 215, quick feet, great vision, takes several defenders to bring him down. He is one of the best high school backs in history.

The obvious counter would be to throw 10 defenders in the box, but freshman Josh Carr has become skilled running the Gators’ play-action. He has 876 yards and nine TDs on 51.6 percent passing, throwing to big targets in Darville and Lee and the sure-handed Penton.

Dade Christian has a similar style, attempting just 90 passes in 11 games. The Crusaders run the ball with several different ballcarriers and try to keep defenses honest with the pass. But they’re a little smaller up front than Glades Day, and don’t have a guy like Taylor.

Glades Day has won seven state titles, tied for second all-time, and is looking for its third in Taylor’s five years at the school. Dade Christian has yet to win it all. Having to go through Glades Day at less than full strength is a monumental task.

helmets courtesy of Florida Helmet Project

Other playoff previews:
CLASS 8AIn regional semifinals, Seminole Ridge and Palm Beach Central ramp up the rivalry

CLASS 7ADwyer’s dominant defense tries to contain Boyd Anderson

CLASS 7AFort Pierce Central meets rival Martin County

CLASS 5AGlades Central hitting its stride in playoffs?

CLASS 3A American Heritage, University meet in powerhouse matchup