Glades Central's normally pass-heavy offense adds a strengthening rushing attack
Thursday, December 02, 2010
by Jeff Greer
Normally known for its aerial assault, Glades Central unleashed a rude surprise on its opponents late this season: a punishing running game.
Sophomores Aaron Baker and William Likley, who each possess different qualities, have emerged as the team's main rushing threats in recent weeks. Raiders' fans hope they can make an impact in Glades Central's Class 2A semifinal at Tampa-Robinson Friday.
The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Baker is a north-south runner who punishes tacklers and gives Glades Central an in-between-the-hashes rushing option.
Baker has run for 460 yards and seven touchdowns on 63 carries, but his workload has increased in recent weeks. In the past five games, he has rushed for 308 yards and five touchdowns on 44 carries.
"It's a nightmare," Glades Central running backs coach Randy Williams said. "You're sitting around on defense, wondering where the little small guys are and all the sudden, out of the blue, this 200-pound freight train comes through and smacks you in your face."
The 5-7, 160-pound Likley, also a cornerback, is lightning-fast and can make tacklers miss.
He busted out against Suncoast on Nov. 5, rushing for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Likley is often paired with senior Neville Brown, who is the same size, allowing Glades Central to call running plays off the edges to take advantage of their speed and look for the home-run play.
"That's the purpose of having smaller guys," Williams said. "Neville and Will are explosive. That's the only word I can use to describe them. Will has an eye back (on the back of his head). He can see things that normal guys can't see."
But to concentrate just on Glades Central's run game would be a mistake for opponents, especially considering the Raiders' potent passing game.
Despite the loss of star receiver Kelvin Benjamin, the No. 2 recruit on the Post's PBGametime Big Board whose high school eligibility ran out after eight games, the Raiders still boast a trio of talented receivers. Div. I prospects Jamie Wilson, Davonte Allen and Jaqavein Oliver have combined to catch 77 passes for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns.
So if Tampa-Robinson can stop one aspect of the Raiders' offense, chances are the other will make up the slack.
"We keep them guessing," Likley said.