Glades Central 35, Tampa-Robinson 10: Raiders run into Class 2A state final vs. Cocoa
Friday, December 03, 2010
by Jeff Greer
Before the game on Friday night between Glades Central and Tampa-Robinson, all the chatter focused on Robinson running back J.J. Hubbard.
Hubbard had 27 touchdowns coming into the game and was a big reason why pundits thought Robinson had a good shot at exacting revenge on Glades Central, which beat Robinson 33-0 in the state semifinals last year.
But Glades Central running back Aaron Baker stole the show.
Baker ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns to propel Glades Central (12-1) past Robinson (10-3) for the second straight season, 35-10 in the Class 2A state semifinals.
The win sets up a rematch with last year's state champion, Cocoa, which beat Glades Central 27-13 in the title game. Cocoa beat Live Oak-Madison County 17-15 in the other semifinal.
"Our guys have to understand that this year's team is not last year's team," Glades Central coach Jessie Hester said of the upcoming title rematch. "We just have to make sure we take care of business and not get caught up in the revenge factor."
Baker got going early. On his 10th carry, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound sophomore broke loose, breaking at least five tackles on his way to a 38-yard touchdown.
The score gave Glades Central a lead it wouldn't surrender. His 1-yard run in the third quarter put the game away.
"He said, 'Coach, it's working — the pumping of my feet,' " Glades Central coach Jessie Hester said of Baker. "So I told him, 'If you continue to move your feet, people will not be able to bring you down.' He's just a big kid who can run the ball extremely well."
The story was different for Hubbard.
A Division I talent, the senior ran for 177 yards and two touchdowns in Robinson's 21-7 win over Tampa-Jesuit in the regional final last week.
But on Friday night, Hubbard met one of the state's fastest defenses. Glades Central's defensive line and linebackers swarmed to Hubbard all night, limiting him to four rushes for 4 or more yards.
He finished with 71 yards on 20 carries.
On Hubbard's biggest run, a 20-yard sprint down the left side, the diminutive 5-8 back shook Glades Central defensive end Robert Way and blew by him. Twenty yards later Way caught up to him, ripping the ball loose. The Raiders recovered at their own 5, ending a scoring threat.
That, plus two first-half interceptions by sophomore cornerback William Likley, set the tone for the night.
"We're fast, too," Way said. "We already knew we were going to contain him."
With its defensive speed and an emerging running attack, Glades Central is back where it was last year, but the Raiders are hopeful they can get a different result .
"Everybody wanted the rematch," Way said. "They got it."