Kelvin Taylor scores four times as Glades Day wins Class 1B title
Friday, December 11, 2009
by Jason Lieser
ORLANDO -- Glades Day cornerback J.T. Thornton spent the entire game watching South Daytona-Warner Christian beat him on the same out route.
But the fifth time he saw it, Thornton cut it off for an interception, sealing the Gators' 27-20 overtime win over Warner Christian in the Class 1B state championship at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
"They'd been picking on me all game, but that time I recognized it," Thornton said. "I knew it was mine. I knew we were state champions when I saw that ball in the air."
Glades Day took the lead on Kelvin Taylor's 3-yard touchdown run in the first overtime and Thornton ended the game by picking off Warner quarterback Shelton Willis at the 6-yard line on the Eagles' possession.
When Thornton fell to the ground with the interception, his second of the game, the Gators (12-2) swarmed him on the field in celebration of the school's sixth state title. The Gators have played in 13 state championship games, winning in 1980, '82, '86, '95, '06 and this year.
As he did throughout the regular season and the playoffs, Taylor carried the Gators' offense. He ran the ball 42 times, tying a 37-year-old state record, for 213 yards and scored all four of Glades Day's touchdowns.
Taylor, the son of former Glades Central and Florida Gators standout Fred Taylor, ran for 1,158 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on 146 carries in Glades Day's four post-season games. He piled up 1,439 yards and 28 touchdowns on 149 attempts in the regular season.
Warner Christian (12-2) never stopped Taylor for a loss and he had five runs of 11 yards or longer.
"I knew he was going to have a good day," said Warner Christian coach Andy Price, whose team lost the 2008 title game to Jupiter Christian. "He didn't run as hard as I thought he would, but I underestimated his quickness and I think our kids did, too."
Glades Day got the ball first in overtime and handed the ball to Taylor three times.
On third-and-goal from just beyond Warner Christian's 3-yard line, Taylor e broke to the outside, then cut back toward the middle before dragging Warner Christian defensive end Marcus Bush across the goal line.
"I really had to fight my way into the end zone," Taylor said. "I was patient and it turned out all right."
Glades Day's defense forced Warner Christian to punt on five of 11 possessions during regulation and limited the Eagles' time of possession to 16:23.
Warner Christian burned the Gators on three big plays for touchdowns, however. Running back Breon Allen scored on a 60-yard run in the first quarter and the Eagles scored on passes of 22 and 61 yards with trick plays.
Glades Day led 20-13 in the fourth quarter when Willis hit Rashad Greene on a 6-yard out route, then Greene pitched the ball back to Sharrod Williams.
Williams sprinted 61 yards through the Gators' secondary to tie the game with 2:01 remaining.
"All in all, the defense played great," Glades Day coach Pete Walker said.
"They had a big touchdown run and that hook-and-ladder, but we didn't quit. The defense was solid."
Photo by Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post