The Braves have not made it to the Regional Finals since 2006, but they were determined to change that, and did. It was a dominating defensive performance for Lake Gibson. The Braves rely on a trio of young, talented defensive linemen to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks and control the line of scrimmage. In the first match-up between these two teams, the Lake Gibson defensive line accounted for 10 sacks on Kathleen's quarterback. In Friday night's contest they only had three sacks, but completely disrupted Kathleen's offense.
The best example of Lake Gibson's stout defense came in the end of the first quarter when Kathleen had a first-and-goal from the Lake Gibson 5 yard line. After running four plays for no gain and getting a first down due to pass interference, it was first-and-goal from the 2 yard line. A false start and four defensive stops led to a turnover on downs at the 1 yard line. However, Lake Gibson's offense would go 3-and-out and punt from the 10 yard line. The punt was blocked and recovered at the 1 yard line by Kathleen, but Kathleen would fail once again to get anything going against the Brave's defense, walked away with only a field goal and only score on the night.
2011 RB Remi Watson
Watson continues to dominate. He is a great blend of speed and power who excels well as the go to running back or as the quarterback in wildcat formations. Whether it is between the tackles or outside, Watson has the lateral and straight ahead speed you want. At about 5'10" to 5'11" and 190lbs, he also possesses great size to play at the next level. You can always count on Watson to run aggressively and with a purpose when the game is close. Against Kathleen, Watson finished with 155 yards and a touchdown, bringing his season rushing totals to 1,616 yards and 16 touchdowns.
2011 RB/LB Shawndell Artis
Artis is a true power back at about 6'0" 210lbs. He works as the perfect complement to the speedy Watson who is the better lateral runner, but Artis still has very good speed of his own. He excels at getting the tough yards, but still can break the long runs if gets through the line and opposing defenses do not wrap up well and pile on. The big, athletic back also has good moves, and has been known to hop over defenders in full stride. Against Kathleen he ran for 83 yards and a touchdown, bringing his season totals to 1,177 yards and 14 touchdowns.
2012 DE Trent Taylor
Trent Taylor, who sports an offer already from Miami, is the biggest and most dominant of the Brave's big three. The 6'3" 250lb Taylor has developed well over his junior season, learning how to use leverage and some nice moves to beat opposing tackles around the end. He wreaked havoc on the 6'4" 285 Savion McKenzie from Kathleen most of the night. Taylor finished the night with 6 tackles, 1 sack, and 3 pass deflections and now has 60 tackles and 15 sacks on the season.
2012 DT Devante Terrell
Another member of the Braves' big three, the 6'0.5" 275lb Terrell is a little on the short side, but he is strong with a tremendous bull rush. He continues to get better at maintaining good pad height and his speed is good for someone his size. He excels at controlling his gaps and run support, but can provide a good pass rush too. On Friday night he had 4 tackles and 1 pass deflection at the line in addition to a couple of quarterback hurries.
2012 OT/OG Glenn Nichols
Nichols has really established himself as very good lineman this season. Playing in the shadows of Erin Joe, he has impressed me most of all. In the several times I have seen him play I have seen improvement each time. Nichols gets better in pass protection each time and he already excels as a tremendous, powerful run blocker. He currently plays as the right tackle for the Braves, but at about 6'3.5" 295lbs and where he is at ability wise, he projects better as a guard the next level. He has good footwork and balance, but has room to improve, especially in pass protection.
2013 DT/DE Kennard Swanson
Swanson is the third and youngest member of the trio and measures in at 6'0" 250lbs. Swanson is young and will hopefully grow a little taller over the next two years. Where he finishes height wise will determine where his future lies. He is the fastest of the three it seems on the field, while still having great size at 250lbs. He was the most dominant of the three Friday night with 9 tackles and 2 sacks to go along with the constant pressure he put on Kathleen's quarterback. His speed and quick initial step make him very hard to block, and even when he is blocked he does a tremendous job fighting through blocks to get back in the play.
2011 S/LB Terrick Colston
Colston's identity this season has become confusing because he has played so many positions. He started out the season as a safety that occasionally played close to the line like a linebacker. When Kathleen's starting quarterback went down due to injury, Colston stepped in and ran the offense with ease. At 6'1" 185lbs, Colston is fast and athletic with a good arm. He was perfect for the spread type offense that Kathleen ran, but his mechanics and delivery need work. Ultimately, Colston projects best as a linebacker or safety. He would be perfect for a defense that utilizes hybrid positions like the spur or bandit. Colston has great instincts in pass coverage and his ability to deliver hard hits with sound tackling makes him valuable in run support or blitzing off the edge. He does not have the elite speed you would like in a safety, but he still plays the position very well. I believe he would excel at LB or a hybrid position at the next level.
2011 LB Gionni Paul
When watching Gionni Paul, one is amazed at the talent just oozing from this kid. Against Lake Gibson, Paul hurdled over the offensive line to chase the ball carrier down showcasing just how athletic and dominating he can be. In some unofficial stats, Paul is averaging 15 or more tackles a game from his linebacker position. You will see him in every pile and around every tackle whether he gets credit for it or not. Paul has great speed allowing him to fly to the ball, and he can deliver vicious hits. His instincts are outstanding as is his ability to read and react. It is fitting that a player who draws comparisons to Ray Lewis would be playing at the same high school where Ray Lewis once dominated.
2011 WR Aaron Baysdon
The 6'1" 205lb Baysdon is a tall, athletic target. He runs pretty good routes and has great hands and leaping ability to catch balls in traffic and at their highest point. His performance has been limited this year by Kathleen's offensive struggles, but he has good size and natural ability, making him a good pick up for mid to lower D1A schools.
2011 WR Jacques Mackeroy
The 6'0" 205lb UCF commit has done his best this season through the ups and downs of Kathleen's offense and the addition of wide receiver Aaron Baysdon. He turned a decent season with around 500 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns. With his speed and athleticism, he will make a great target for UCF's talented rising quarterback Jeff Godfrey.