LAKELAND CONFIDENTIAL: The Awesome Tunnel
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 32 consecutive games. Next up for the Dreadnaughts is Winter Haven Friday night.
MAURKICE: Man, it was amazing Saturday at The Swamp. Watching the team in the tunnel getting crunk before they ran out was unreal. We have a tunnel at Lakeland but it’s nothing like that. When we run out on the field everybody goes orange and black crazy but Saturday that orange and blue crazy made us want to suit up and get out there with the rest of the Gators. I was really excited and bouncing around. I wanted to run out on the field with them.
It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished a lot to be a Gator and to know I’m going to be a part of that next year. Those fellas are working their butts off to make something of themselves in life and they give everything they’ve got for their family on the field. The Gators are really family, same thing we’re doing at Lakeland. You give everything for your family. That’s the biggest reason we’re going to be Gators. There really is a family atmosphere and it’s real.
Percy Harvin really showed up last night. A lot of those freshmen stepped up and showed they can bring it. Mike and I looked at each other and said if they can do it, why can’t we? Those freshmen are playing because they worked harder than anyone else. We can do that, too.
It’s amazing how Percy Harvin and Chris Rainey (Lakeland tailback and fellow Florida commit) are alike in the way they make people miss and with their speed and they way they make moves going full speed. I was watching and I’m thinking man, this is gonna be scary with them on the field at the same time next year. They’re gonna drive people crazy because you can’t catch them. They’re too fast and they’re too good.
We got to go in the locker room after the game and that was fun. Coach Meyer gave a great speech after the game. He told them they didn’t play as good as they could have on offense. He said they should have easily run through Southern Miss but they didn’t play hard like he knows they could. He said we have the talent to slice through like a hot knife through butter and that’s what we need to do. He wasn’t satisfied and I don’t think the team was either. They know they can do better. I think we’re going to be a lot better this week against UCF.
Our season at Lakeland is going good. We’ve won two games pretty big (42-7 and 42-14) but our starters don’t get to play the second half. I think we’re a lot better team this year than we were last year. Last year in the first five or six games we were ahead something like 7-0 or 14-0 at the half. This year we’re just killing people so far. We haven’t played in the third or fourth quarter. We’ve got Winter Haven this week and I think we’ll play pretty good.
We’re happy with the way we’re playing. We’re getting close to the way we played the end of the season last year. We’re really working hard and we’re trying to get better every day we practice and every game. We’re playing good right now, but you know we aren’t even close to hitting our potential. I think we can be a lot better. I think we’ll keep getting better.
We thought we were going to get to play one series in the second half against Miami Norland Friday night but Jamar Taylor (Alabama commit) took the kickoff and pitched it back to Rainey and Rainey took it all the way. That was that. We didn’t get to play in the second half. Coach played the young guys after that.
After all this time playing with Chris he still surprises me. In the Venice game he did a full spin going full speed and it was like, where did he get that from? I’ve seen him do all kinds of things and he always does something new that’s amazing. I still don’t know how he does it. He just knows when someone is close and he makes them miss. He’s got the vision and the feet. He’s confident too. He knows he’s going to shake them. He knows nobody’s hardly going to touch him.
I like the way I’ve been playing. I look back at last year and saw that I had a lot of improving to do. I was okay physically but I had to be ready to play more from the mental part of it. I’ve got my focus now. I know what I’ve got to do. I’m coming to play every game and I feel like I’ve really been able to get in a zone when I get on the field. I just do the assignment and then we celebrate a lot because we make a lot of big plays because that’s the way everybody on our team is doing it. I’ve got plenty of room to improve but I’ll do that because I’m working hard and staying focused.
You know, I can’t wait to get there to Gainesville in January. I want this to be a great high school season and then I want to get up there to Florida to start in the spring. I’m so ready to be a Gator.
I’ll see everybody in Gainesville next Saturday, too. We’ll be there for the UCF game.
MICHAEL: I’m standing there Saturday with Maurkice and watching the team in the tunnel and oh my God it was so loud and the guys were so hyped up. The players were really ready to play but man, the crowd was wild and it was so loud. I can’t wait to get up there and play for the Gators. I really felt part of it. I really knew I am a Gator.
In the locker room after the game, everybody is so friendly and close. The players are all happy to see us, saying what’s up and just chilling with us. They made us feel like we’re home.
We talked with Coach Hevesy and Coach Adazzio before and after the game. They were happy to see us. Coach Mattison, you knew he was gonna come by and tell us he can’t wait to cut his defensive guys loose on us. He’s a trip. I love the way the Florida coaches love the game.
Watching Percy Harvin you don’t believe he’s a freshman. I’m watching this number eight and I asked Maurkice who is that? He said that’s Percy Harvin and I said dang. Now I know why everybody thought he was so good. I’ve never seen a freshman play like that. You would think he’s been there three years the way he plays like a veteran.
It will be fun to watch him playing with Chris. Those two guys are so fast and they’ve both got great moves. They’re like playing the game at another level. Percy is really great but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone that can compare to Chris. When we’re Gators we’ll just be doing our assignments and make our blocks and then we’ll be running down to the end zone to celebrate with them.
The Dreadnaughts are looking really good. We’re playing like a real team and everybody’s playing hard. We played Norland on Friday and they had some size and some speed but they weren’t ready for the Dreadnaughts. They sure weren’t ready for Chris. Coach Castle told us we could play one series in the second half but then Chris scored on the kickoff so we didn’t get to play again.
Ahmad Black (Lakeland corner, Florida commit) made this great play at the end of the first half. They threw this pass and hee jumped up and picked it and took it back 70 yards for a touchdown. Their quarterback looked at his receiver all the way so when he threw it we knew Ahmad was going to get it. He can cover anybody.
Steve Wilks (Lakeland safety, Florida commit) hit this one guy from Norland so hard that they gave him a penalty for roughness. It was a clean hit but they said he just hit the guy too hard and they had to call something. If he comes at you with a full head of steam you better just fall on the ground. You don’t want to feel what he brings.
I feel bad for Paul Wilson (Lakeland wide receiver, Florida commit). He can catch anything and he’s so fast that nobody can catch him but we only threw the ball twice about three times against Venice and we maybe threw it twice against Norland and one of those was a screen pass and the other one our quarterback threw it into the stands. We’re just running the ball and beating people bad now so we’re not throwing. When we have to throw it you guys better watch out because he’s really good. He runs the hurdles with his dad after practice. His dad has really trained him so he’s got great speed.
What’s scary is watching JB (John Brown, Lakeland defensive tackle). He is double teamed on every play and some of the time they triple-team him but nobody can stop him. He’s only played less than half of two games and he’s got three sacks and a few tackles behind the line. They pay so much attention to him that the other guys are cleaning up. The good news with him is he’s now ahead of the pace to qualify. He’s really working hard on his grades. Of course, he’s going to be a Gator too. Bet on it.
Rainey is scary too. Last year he had that shoulder so he never really cut loose like you see him now. Last year he only had about 50 yards a game after the first three or four games because his shoulder was so bad but now that he had it operated on he feels good and it’s just run Rainey run. You see him in person and you never think he’s a football player. Put a uniform on him and try catching him. Man, you’ve never seen anything like him. He’s scored eight touchdowns in two games. You wonder what his numbers would be if Coach Castle let us play in the second half.
D-Lo (D’Angelo McCray) was at the game Saturday night at The Swamp. He’s cool to hang with. We talked about a lot of schools but he’s got Florida back on track again.
Stephen Garcia was there, too, and Micah Grimes and a whole lot of other guys I don’t know. I’m going to get to know more of the recruits this weekend when we come up for the UCF game. All our guys from Lakeland will be there. JB will be with us, too. It’s going to be loud and it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Tell everybody in Gainesville that we’ll be there in January. We can’t wait to start school and go through spring practice. We’re ready to be Gators.
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2014 Football Commits
|Davidson (NC) Day|
|Cross City (Fla.) Dixie County|
|Jacksonville (Fla). Raines|
|Deland (Fla.) High|
|New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine|
|Miami (Fla.) Central|
|Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas|
2013 Basketball Commits
|Clermont (Fla.) Montverde Academy|
|Bonifay (Fla) Holmes County|
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