Kelvin Taylor sets state rushing record in Glades Day's 43-29 win over South Fork
Friday, November 11, 2011
by Matt Porter
STUART -- Kelvin Taylor had no problem declaring he was gunning for Emmitt Smith's all-time state rushing record.
It didn't matter that Glades Day is already in the playoffs, or that Friday's non-district game against District 14-6A champion South Fork was a mere tune-up in his team's quest for its third state title in a row.
Taylor wanted the record. This week.
As he's done so many times since he first suited up in eighth grade, Taylor lived up to the hype.
Needing 217 yards to break Smith's record, Taylor gained that, and more, in the first half. The son of former NFL running back and Glades Central great Fred Taylor finished with 388 yards and six touchdowns on 34 carries.
And he set the mark in style, on a 34-yard touchdown with 4:32 left in the first half of Glades Day's 43-29 win. (Click here to see video.)
Swarmed by reporters, family and friends after the game, Taylor thanked his teammates and coaches. He said it felt wonderful and was relieved.
"I just told myself I want to break it during the regular season and then take care of business in the playoffs," he said.
Entering the playoffs of his junior season, Taylor has 8,975 yards and 141 touchdowns, both state records, on 1,001 carries. Smith, who set the record from 1983-86 at Pensacola's Escambia High, is second with 8,804 yards.
Taylor, who scored on Glades Day's first six drives, took the field late in the second quarter needing 53 yards to break the record. With 4:43 left in the half, he set up at the back of the I-formation. On second-and-9 from the 34 yard line, took a handoff from quarterback John Barr and rushed up the left side.
The right guard pulled to the left, and Taylor raced past everyone. He was tackled in the end zone, but got up, unsnapped his helmet and calmly walked to the sideline.
On the sideline, Glades Day coach Pete Walker had a brief moment with his star.
"I told him he's the greatest football player I've ever coached and he's the best back I've ever seen," Walker said. "He's a once-in-a-lifetime kid."
At that point, Taylor admitted afterward, he might have been a little tired. It was his 21st carry of the evening and 228th yard on the ground.
He looked a bit weary, but his best was yet to come.
With 10:30 left in the game, Taylor took a handoff behind the 5 -yard line, hit the hole and outran the secondary. Calling on a burst of speed he hadn't used all night, he covered 95 yards for his sixth touchdown.
"He split 'em and he was gone, wasn't he?" Walker said, marveling. "He looks as strong on the 34th carry as he does on the first five or six."
Glades Day (7-3) stopped a strong option offense run by South Fork (6-4), the District 14-6A champion. Bulldogs quarterback Cody Labanowitz led the way with 147 yards and two touchdowns on 9-of-19 passing.
Taylor was stopped for a loss just twice. The South Fork players who tackled him - senior Zach Hinds and junior Mike Harris - can boast about it for years.