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LAKELAND CONFIDENTIAL: “Toughest Time Ever”

Written by Franz Beard, October 16, 2006, 0 Comments,
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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 38 straight games including Friday night’s 78-0 win over George Jenkins.

MAURKICE: I think this is the toughest time I’ve ever gone through. I had to sit out this game and I have to sit out the next one, too, because of that suspension. I had to watch my teammates on Senior Night and that was really rough. I mean, we blew them out and none of the first team guys played past the first quarter but still, they were out there playing hard and I was on the sideline.

This is the first time I’ve ever missed a game and I’ve never even missed a practice going all the way back to when I first started playing ball. I knew it was going to be tough but I really didn’t know it was going to be this tough. I cheered my teammates on and I was happy for them but it’s an empty feeling that you can’t help them.

The suspension is for one more game, too. I’ll be back for the game with Kathleen and that’s our biggest rival so I’ll just work hard and stay in shape and do everything I can to help everybody else get ready.

The ref that wrote the report on me from the Centennial game said I was standing over that dude and I kicked him. I didn’t kick him. I’ve never kicked anybody in a game. I wasn’t raised like that. If you know my dad (Rob Webster) and my mom (Lisa Webster) you know that if I did something like that there would be big trouble. My dad’s like Teddy Roosevelt — speak softly and carry the big stick. With him and my mom, you better do the right thing or else.

What was bad was that the ref wanted me suspended for six games. Coach Castle called the state and appealed it. The other refs from that game said they supported me, too, because they knew I had never done anything like that so the state reduced it to two games and said there was nothing they could do to reduce it more than that because of the way the report was worded. You know, I know he didn’t have a good look at things because he was following the interception and he didn’t see everything that went on. I tried to jump over that dude and I just landed on him.

This is a real lesson for me. You can’t take anything for granted and you have to understand that sometimes people that don’t see everything make judgments about you that can be wrong.

We scored five defensive touchdowns in the game. Ahmad (Black) had one in the first quarter and JB (John Brown) was just all over the place. They moved this guy from tackle to guard to try to stop him. The guy was 6-6 and more than 300 but JB just killed him. It wasn’t close. Right now I don’t think anybody can stop him.

He’s going to make a decision sometime about school and I really want him to be a Gator. He’s my cousin, you know, so we keep telling him this is family and you don’t want to split up the family. That’s what (Chris) Rainey was telling everybody after he committed to Florida. He told us he’s going to Florida and nothing would change that so the rest of the family needed to be at Florida, too. That’s what got all of us started and we committed to be Gators. We think that’s what JB is going to do, too.

It’s really hard to think about it but high school is almost over. Nine more weeks of classes and I’m through and then I’ll be coming to Gainesville. I thought the time would go slower than this but it’s happened so fast. We’ve got seven more football games to win and then it’s off to Gainesville. It’s hard to imagine that I’m going to be in college in January.

Watching the Gators was tough. Auburn’s a great team and all that but the Gators should have won that one. Everybody played hard and it was a great game, but the Gators let that one slip away.

That’s a good reminder for me. Don’t take anything for granted. We have to win one more state championship and one more national championship for the Dreadnaughts.

MICHAEL: We broke the school record for points against Jenkins but we called the dogs off early or it could have been a lot worse. We could have scored 100 if Coach Castle had let the first team play more than just the first quarter. It was really bad, something like 64-0 at the half.

The old school record was 77 and that was when Chris Rainey’s brother (Rod Smart) played here. I think they did that against Jenkins, too. We got the record though.

I had this one block when we got a touchdown. I just drove the guy and kept on my block and we went all the way through the end zone through the gate. They called a penalty on me but I wasn’t trying to hurt him. I was just staying with my block all the way.

We’ve got some minor injuries but we’ve got an off week to get everybody healed up and ready to go the last two games. Jamar (Taylor, Alabama commit) got hurt in the game but it’s just a sprained ankle. He’ll be ready when we play Kissimmee in two weeks. That game is for the district championship. They’ve lost two games but they’re a tough team. They lost to Lake Gibson last week and they lost to Edgewater. They beat Jenkins, the team we beat bad Friday, 28-14.

We’ll practice real hard this week even though we don’t have a game on Friday. We want to stay sharp for our next game and we don’t want to lose our edge. We want to go out with 45 straight wins. That’s really important to us.

We’ll end the season at Kathleen. They’re our big rival. They aren’t as good this year as some other years but we know they’ll put up a real fight. We’re going in there ready to play like it was a playoff game.

We had nine week exams this week. We studied hard and did really good. The grades went in and my brother and I got good news. Really it was what we expected. We knew we were going to make good grades. I’ve got one more class and my brother has two and then high school is over and we’ll be in Gainesville right after that to start college.

You know when I think about college I wonder where all the time went. It just seems like yesterday that my brother and I were freshmen here and now we’re going to be freshmen in college real soon. We’re both really excited about it. We’re going to finish out our high school careers with another state championship and then about two or three weeks later we’re going to be starting our college careers as Gators. Time is going to fly and then we’ll be in the real world.

We watched the Gators Saturday night. I was really mad about the way the game turned out because I know we’re better than Auburn. We should have killed them but we made stupid mistakes like that blocked punt. That was a game-changing mistake. Away games you can’t do those kinds of things because the crowd really gets into it. You make a mistake like that on the road and it’s a killer. That Auburn crowd really got loud after that.

I hope we get to play Auburn again in the SEC championship game. I think this time Florida doesn’t make the stupid mistakes and wins it really big.

Franz Beard

About 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.

Franz Beard Football
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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 38 straight games including Friday night’s 78-0 win over George Jenkins.

MAURKICE: I think this is the toughest time I’ve ever gone through. I had to sit out this game and I have to sit out the next one, too, because of that suspension. I had to watch my teammates on Senior Night and that was really rough. I mean, we blew them out and none of the first team guys played past the first quarter but still, they were out there playing hard and I was on the sideline.

This is the first time I’ve ever missed a game and I’ve never even missed a practice going all the way back to when I first started playing ball. I knew it was going to be tough but I really didn’t know it was going to be this tough. I cheered my teammates on and I was happy for them but it’s an empty feeling that you can’t help them.

The suspension is for one more game, too. I’ll be back for the game with Kathleen and that’s our biggest rival so I’ll just work hard and stay in shape and do everything I can to help everybody else get ready.

The ref that wrote the report on me from the Centennial game said I was standing over that dude and I kicked him. I didn’t kick him. I’ve never kicked anybody in a game. I wasn’t raised like that. If you know my dad (Rob Webster) and my mom (Lisa Webster) you know that if I did something like that there would be big trouble. My dad’s like Teddy Roosevelt — speak softly and carry the big stick. With him and my mom, you better do the right thing or else.

What was bad was that the ref wanted me suspended for six games. Coach Castle called the state and appealed it. The other refs from that game said they supported me, too, because they knew I had never done anything like that so the state reduced it to two games and said there was nothing they could do to reduce it more than that because of the way the report was worded. You know, I know he didn’t have a good look at things because he was following the interception and he didn’t see everything that went on. I tried to jump over that dude and I just landed on him.

This is a real lesson for me. You can’t take anything for granted and you have to understand that sometimes people that don’t see everything make judgments about you that can be wrong.

We scored five defensive touchdowns in the game. Ahmad (Black) had one in the first quarter and JB (John Brown) was just all over the place. They moved this guy from tackle to guard to try to stop him. The guy was 6-6 and more than 300 but JB just killed him. It wasn’t close. Right now I don’t think anybody can stop him.

He’s going to make a decision sometime about school and I really want him to be a Gator. He’s my cousin, you know, so we keep telling him this is family and you don’t want to split up the family. That’s what (Chris) Rainey was telling everybody after he committed to Florida. He told us he’s going to Florida and nothing would change that so the rest of the family needed to be at Florida, too. That’s what got all of us started and we committed to be Gators. We think that’s what JB is going to do, too.

It’s really hard to think about it but high school is almost over. Nine more weeks of classes and I’m through and then I’ll be coming to Gainesville. I thought the time would go slower than this but it’s happened so fast. We’ve got seven more football games to win and then it’s off to Gainesville. It’s hard to imagine that I’m going to be in college in January.

Watching the Gators was tough. Auburn’s a great team and all that but the Gators should have won that one. Everybody played hard and it was a great game, but the Gators let that one slip away.

That’s a good reminder for me. Don’t take anything for granted. We have to win one more state championship and one more national championship for the Dreadnaughts.

MICHAEL: We broke the school record for points against Jenkins but we called the dogs off early or it could have been a lot worse. We could have scored 100 if Coach Castle had let the first team play more than just the first quarter. It was really bad, something like 64-0 at the half.

The old school record was 77 and that was when Chris Rainey’s brother (Rod Smart) played here. I think they did that against Jenkins, too. We got the record though.

I had this one block when we got a touchdown. I just drove the guy and kept on my block and we went all the way through the end zone through the gate. They called a penalty on me but I wasn’t trying to hurt him. I was just staying with my block all the way.

We’ve got some minor injuries but we’ve got an off week to get everybody healed up and ready to go the last two games. Jamar (Taylor, Alabama commit) got hurt in the game but it’s just a sprained ankle. He’ll be ready when we play Kissimmee in two weeks. That game is for the district championship. They’ve lost two games but they’re a tough team. They lost to Lake Gibson last week and they lost to Edgewater. They beat Jenkins, the team we beat bad Friday, 28-14.

We’ll practice real hard this week even though we don’t have a game on Friday. We want to stay sharp for our next game and we don’t want to lose our edge. We want to go out with 45 straight wins. That’s really important to us.

We’ll end the season at Kathleen. They’re our big rival. They aren’t as good this year as some other years but we know they’ll put up a real fight. We’re going in there ready to play like it was a playoff game.

We had nine week exams this week. We studied hard and did really good. The grades went in and my brother and I got good news. Really it was what we expected. We knew we were going to make good grades. I’ve got one more class and my brother has two and then high school is over and we’ll be in Gainesville right after that to start college.

You know when I think about college I wonder where all the time went. It just seems like yesterday that my brother and I were freshmen here and now we’re going to be freshmen in college real soon. We’re both really excited about it. We’re going to finish out our high school careers with another state championship and then about two or three weeks later we’re going to be starting our college careers as Gators. Time is going to fly and then we’ll be in the real world.

We watched the Gators Saturday night. I was really mad about the way the game turned out because I know we’re better than Auburn. We should have killed them but we made stupid mistakes like that blocked punt. That was a game-changing mistake. Away games you can’t do those kinds of things because the crowd really gets into it. You make a mistake like that on the road and it’s a killer. That Auburn crowd really got loud after that.

I hope we get to play Auburn again in the SEC championship game. I think this time Florida doesn’t make the stupid mistakes and wins it really big.

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Would Have, Could Have, Should Have

The Florida Gators lost a game to Auburn that they should have won and won by a big margin.

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