Florida commitments Maurkice and Michael Pouncey are keeping a weekly diary for Gator Country for the remainder of the season as the Lakeland Dreadnaughts try to win their third straight state championship and their second straight USAToday national championship. Lakeland has won 36 straight games including last Friday night’s 46-7 win over Lakeland Lake Gibson.

Next up for the Dreadnaughts is Centennial at Bryant Stadium in Lakeland at 7:30 p.m. Friday

MICHAEL: The Swamp was a jumping joint Saturday! Man, that was ultra-loud. I’ve never been anywhere that loud and everybody loves the Gators. I’m watching. I’m listening. I’m thinking this is the place I’m going to play football. I’m loving it.

During the game people were calling out our names and speaking to us, too. Even outside the stadium and everywhere we went in Gainesville people recognized us. Man, that’s crazy when people come up to you and say hey, we read your diary every week on Gator Country and they tell you how they love it and how they’re going to be big fans of the Pouncey Twins when we come to Florida. Everywhere we go in Gainesville, there is somebody that knows who we are. That’s really crazy.

That was a tough win for the Gators. I was really proud of them the way they played like a tough team that was determined to win the game in the second half. The first half was kind of tough but they really got going in the second half. They knew they had to win this game and they made sure they played as hard as they can.

After the game in the locker room, it was exciting. Coach Meyer was up there calling out the guys who had played great games. I’ve seen him do that before but never like it was Saturday night. You could tell he was so proud of everybody on the team and you could tell that all the players want to play hard as they can for him. You listen to him in the locker room and you know you have to play for this guy. You got to play hard for him.

John Brown was with us and he loved it. He’s coming back with us this weekend for the LSU game, too. We think he’s going to commit to the Gators this weekend. You know, he had told everybody it’s Florida and Alabama. We told him during the game that Florida looks like it wants to win more than Alabama. He just laughed and said yeah. We really want him to come to Florida with us and we feel pretty confident he’s going to do it.

Friday night we beat Lake Gibson in a district game. All week they were talking about how they were going to beat us but we just said you guys have a great team and a great coach and great fans, but we’ll play Friday night and we’ll see who’s better. Midway through the second quarter they weren’t talking anymore. They do have a really good team but we were ready to play.

The guy on Lake Gibson that I’m really proud of is their tailback Bilal Powell. Ever since he became a Christian, he’s a new guy and I’m really proud of him for that. He’s going to be successful in life no matter what he does. A lot of big schools are trying to get him. He’s a great tailback. I’d love to see him be a Gator. Other than Chris Rainey, I don’t know if anybody’s faster than he is and he’s got moves, too.

Rainey was really ready Friday night. Usually, before a game he’s really quiet but Friday night he was jumping up and down and really yelling at everybody before the game to be ready and play hard. I think sitting out that game the week before because he was hurt got him more focused because he missed playing. He really got out there and showed everybody what he can do.

He did that front flip into the end zone after that last touchdown run, too. We love the way he celebrates. He really fires us up when he does something like that. You see the way he runs and moves and then when he celebrates, you want to get out there and block for him again. You want to see what he can do next time. I’ve been playing with Rainey for a lot of years but he still does stuff that surprises me.

Our team is not playing our best football yet. We’re getting there every game but we know we have a lot of work to do. This week we’re really going to push ourselves in practice and we’re going to work harder on conditioning. We know what we have to do the rest of the way and we have to be in the best shape we’ve ever been in to do it. Three straight state championships and three straight unbeaten seasons, that’s the goal. We’re going to do it.

MAURKICE: Before the game Saturday in Gainesville we were at a gas station out on I-75 when people recognized us and said they had been reading our diary on Gator Country. They knew who we were and knew our names and everything. When we got to the stadium there were lots of people calling us by name. Just a few months ago nobody in Gainesville knew us. Now it’s funny, everybody knows us.

Once we got there for the game, it was great. That was the loudest place I’ve ever been. It was crazy. Every time the Gators made a play it got a little louder. You think you’ve heard it as loud as it can be and they get louder.

It was a great win by the Gators. We were really excited when Bubba Caldwell got that touchdown. He faked that Alabama guy right out of his shoes.

What I really liked about the game was watching how the team leaders are the guys that made big plays when the team needed them. Your big time guys have to make big plays when you got to have them and that’s what happened.

We talked to D-Lo and a bunch of guys from Glades Central during the game. They were pretty cool guys and we had a good time talking to them. Most of the time we were with John Brown and letting him know that this is where he needs to be, here at Florida with his friends. He really liked it a lot and he’s coming with us next week for the LSU game. We’re really hoping that this is the week he’s going to say yes to the Gators.

After the game in the locker room, Coach Meyer was really excited. He said a lot of stuff that got everybody jumping around. He told everybody to thank the fans and the people that support the team, that they can’t win without them. Man, I really like that. That’s one coach that can really get crunk!

After that, we talked to all the coaches, some of the recruits and Jason Watkins. He’s a lineman from Lakeland but he played at Lake Gibson. He’s really a great guy.

We have a game Friday night against Centennial. They are a tough team and we know we can’t take them lightly. We know we have to be at our best every game. We can’t afford a letup. It would be really disappointing for us if we didn’t win the state championship and finish up with 45 straight wins.

Even though we beat Lake Gibson pretty bad in our last game, I’m really glad for Bilal Powell. We like him a lot. He’s a really great running back and he’s got his life on the right track. He’s working hard on his grades and everything so he can go to a big school. He’s really fast and he’s got great moves, too.

Before the game with Lake Gibson, we told Chris Rainey we never saw you do a flip into the end zone. We were just kidding him but he did it! He’s an awesome athlete. He just runs and good stuff happens. You feel pretty confident knowing that if you make your block and take your guy out that Rainey might go all the way with it. The same thing is true for our other back Jamar Taylor. We told him in the huddle Friday night that it was time for him to get his highlight for the game, too. I pulled around and kicked out their defensive tackle and Jamar just turned it on and got his long touchdown run, too. When you’ve got backs like these guys, you want to make sure you take your guy out every time because they only need a crease and they’re gone.

I want to say something about my offensive line guys. We work together, all of us. I trust every one of them and I trust the guys who are our backups, too. We have a lot of confidence that we can get the job done and we work hard together every day. All you got to do is say let’s go and we’re ready to get in the game and play.

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.