This game was a much ballyhooed matchup between Glades Day and Yulee High School which included the top 2 rushers in Florida High School football history; it was a battle of incredible running backs where both sides were looking to run the ball and run the ball often.
Derrick Henry (#4 ranked ESPN150 Athlete) commemorated his commitment with the Alabama Crimson Tide today with the game’s first touchdown and then some; he struck “Yulee’s” gold with a 65 yard touchdown run in which he shed about 4 tackles and outran a few members of the defense as well. When asked why he joined the Tide Henry responded, ”Seeing how they work on TV, and see how they work, the players work hard and I just wanted to be a part of it.”
Kelvin Taylor (#1 ranked ESPN 150 RB), the son of Pro Bowler Fred Taylor who was in attendance, answered with a power run in the red zone to hopefully tie the game with 9:32 left in the 2nd quarter, but the kicker missed the extra point (oh high school football) and then nothing went quite right for the Gators or Taylor.
The two running backs have both surpassed Emmitt Smith’s Florida rushing yards record to become the top 2 rushers in Florida High school football record, and that’s why this was such a heavily marketed matchup. Both these running backs have had success though with vastly different frames.
Taylor, 5’11″ 216 lbs., is a bit reminiscent of Trent Richardson (and Fred Taylor) with his tremendous power and jump cut ability. He needs to develop his upper body a bit more, but his lateral agility is really fantastic.
Derrick Henry, 6’3″ 243 lbs, is listed as an athlete in the ESPN 150 rankings and impressed in the first half with two long rushing touchdowns and then had even more to say in the 2nd half. With such amazing size and speed it will be intriguing to see if he plays running back in the crowded Alabama backfield or if he is used more on defense as a linebacker or H-back.
Talking heads have consistently said he might play linebacker at the next level, but Henry has insisted he will play running back and he made a strong case for that tonight by outplaying the top ranked RB in the country. ”I try to be a physical back because I’ve got a big frame,” Henry said. “I’ve still got a lot of stuff to work on, after practice I’m still working and then I go to the weight room.”
The second half truly belonged to Henry; he scored his 3rd touchdown in the 3rd quarter to give Yulee a 15 point lead that helped his team eventually with 2 more second half touchdowns to close out the game 35-7.
Following up his record breaking performance last week (he broke the Florida single game rushing record), Henry had a truly impressive outing recording 363 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. Taylor had a decent game as well (over 222 yards and 1 TD), but was out-classed by Henry in this one. ”If you got a dream just pursue it,” Henry said. “Take the negativity and use it as motivation like I did today.”
These two backs will surely play against each other again as they are both playing college ball in the SEC. Though Henry got the better of Taylor in this match, these two young men are both going to be fantastic college football players.