LAKELAND CONFIDENTIAL: We LOVE Gator Fans!
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 41 straight games. Next up for Lakeland is Tampa Gaither Friday night in the second round of the state 5A playoffs.
MICHAEL POUNCEY: The first thing I want to say is we LOVE Gator fans and we LOVE being Gators. We were at a rest stop on the way up to Gainesville Saturday and this stretch limo pulls up. Man, everybody piles out of that limo and they see us and they say “Hey it’s the Pounceys!” They were on the way to The Swamp and when they saw us they came over and started talking to us. It was so cool!
When we got to Gainesville, everybody knew us there, too. It seems like everywhere we go somebody is saying “Hey Pouncey!” They can’t tell us apart so they just call us Pouncey and that’s okay. Ever since we started coming up to The Swamp for games people recognize us and every week it’s more and more who know us. I really do love the fans at Florida. They are the best.
During the South Carolina game we were hanging around with a bunch of players from Belle Glade and we had a great time. We had so much fun. The Swamp was really loud and it got everybody excited especially there at the end. When that guy lined up to kick that last field goal for South Carolina, my brother and I were telling everybody no way he makes it --- either it gets blocked or he misses. Next thing we know big old Jarvis Moss jumps up and gets it and the place just went crazy. It was really loud some other games, but when he missed that field goal, that’s the loudest I’ve ever heard The Swamp.
We got to go in the locker room after it was over and man, that was great. Brandon Siler got up and talked and then Percy Harvin, Jarvis Moss, Ray McDonald and Joe Cohen had something to say. We loved it when Percy told everybody, “I love all you guys and I love this team. My ankle was hurting bad but I said ‘F’ it … we gotta win this game and I had to go out there and help my team.” You should have heard everybody yell when he said that.
We won again Friday night. We beat Brandon 49-6. Chris Rainey had 95 yards and he only carried the ball six times. He got two touchdowns and he had a long kickoff return, too. On his second touchdown, he was holding on to my jersey and I was running ahead of him. I told him next time, give me the ball and let me score and you be the blocker. He laughed and said, “Okay, next time!” He hurt his shoulder but he’s going to be okay. He’s getting it checked out this week in Gainesville just to be sure everything is fine.
The guy that was really balling for us against Brandon was Steve Wilks. He had three interceptions, a touchdown, six solo tackles. I think every important play on defense he was there. Ahmad Black had three long punt returns and one of them was for a touchdown. Paul Wilson caught three passes and he scored a touchdown on a reverse.
I could have scored a touchdown. The ball was loose but when I went to pick it up, I kicked it. If I had scored there would have been about 50 yards of penalties because everybody would have been called for excessive celebration. I haven’t scored a touchdown since little league.
We’re 11-0. Next game is Tampa Gaither. We’re home for all the playoffs until the finals but we can’t look ahead. It’s one game at a time. We’ll work hard this week and get ready. I think we’re going to have a good game.
MAURKICE POUNCEY: I met Tracy McGrady’s sister Chatty in Gainesville Saturday. Oh man. She and her roommates read Gator Country so they already knew who we were. We moved our official visit back to this coming weekend against Western Carolina. I hope I see her. She goes to Santa Fe Community College and I think she’s transferring in to Florida either the spring or the summer. She’s a cheerleader there.
Now we’ve got some great looking girls in Lakeland, but up there in Gainesville? Dang. At The Swamp everywhere you look there’s someone that’s a new level. I put Chatty McGrady there. On a 1-10 scale, she’s at least an 11.
At the end of the Gator game I thought everybody was going to rush the field. I was ready to run out there but then we saw all those cops with the dogs. That changed my mind. I think I’ll let someone else get chewed up by one of those dogs.
It was a great game and I love it that the Gators won but those close games are ridiculous. I like blowouts. I gotta say this to Gator fans. We really do love you guys. You’re part of the reason we’re really happy we’re going to be Gators. I think you guys are the best fans in the world.
The locker room after the Gators win is pretty special. Coach Meyer is really jacked up and the players all get up there and have something to say. You see why the players love him and all the coaches so much. It makes you want to hurry up and get there so you can be a part of all that.
We beat Brandon pretty bad Friday night. My brother could have scored a touchdown but he kicked the ball and never picked it up. We’re still ragging on him about that. We were over at Ahmad’s house today and everybody was still laughing about it. He’s going to have to live with that for a long time.
Wilks was something. He had this one hit --- the linemen held this guy up and Wilks comes in there and finishes him off. He hits you and you feel it for a long time. Even the refs walked by him and said, “Good hit #21!”
It’s a four-game season for the Dreadnaughts and then we make history. We’re 11-0 this year and 41 straight wins. The past doesn’t help us though. It’s what we do now that counts. We have to have a good week of practice and we have to be focused to beat Gaither. It’s the playoffs and we can’t take anybody for granted. We have to assume that every team is really good or else they wouldn’t be in the playoffs.
I’m very confident in my team. When we practice, there’s no joking around or laughing. It’s just hard work. We save all the joking around and laughing for when we’re on the bus on the way back to the school after the game. That’s a lot of fun. If you haven’t gone on a ride with the Dreadnaughts after a win, you’re missing something.
All the upperclassmen sit in the back of the bus. We’ve got a great singer in Phillip Bryan. He made the first cut on American Idol. He sings at church, funerals, banquets. You see him and you wouldn’t believe it. He’s a big old offensive lineman with dreadlocks but I’ve never heard anybody sing like he can.
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