Polk County Spring Game Headlines

Spring ball has come and gone across Florida, and it was a productive one as ever in Polk County, where many questions were answered and glimpses of the future were seen. One thing is evident; there is no lack of talent in Polk County. Here is a look at some big spring headlines for Polk teams.

Quarterback Battle

Although many are looking at Victory Christian's Demeitre Brim as a safety or linebacker at the next level, in the spring game, he entered a dual-threat QB battle with Tenoroc's Travis Tucker. Both quarterbacks exchanged back-to-back 70 yard touchdown runs to close out the first half, and looked pretty good throwing. Brim, a senior and current commit to Virginia, finished 5 of 10 for 74 yards and a touchdown to go along with 10 carries for 174 yards and a touchdown. Tucker, a rising sophomore, was 7 of 10 passing for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns to go along with his 7 carries for 113 yards. Tenoroc won the game 21-14, ending spring on a high note and momentum going into next season.

Transfers, Transfers Everywhere…

For the Lakeland Dreadnaughts, media attention this off-season was focused on the five transfers from George Jenkins, especially 2012 quarterback Jadrian Clark. In their spring game, the transfers showed exactly why they were a big deal, helping Lakeland beat Dante Fowler and the St. Lakewood Spartans 50-14. Clark threw for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns in addition to his work on the ground which included a 14 yard touchdown run. S/LB Chandler Brunson recovered a fumble caused by LB Logan Cochran, and returned it for a touchdown. Ricquan Southward caught two of the touchdowns on the night in addition to some other very good receptions, and Erik Andre caught the third. Transfer Darryl Clark did not play which is unfortunate for the very talented 6'4" 200lb WR with good hands. There are a lot of questions in the run game, but it looks like Taylor Placides who ran for two touchdowns may emerge as the top ball carrier. The team looked good, but Clark was still critical of himself:

"I feel we did very well as a team, but I made too many mistakes and know I have a lot of work ahead of me this summer."

For the Spartans, things started out well as their explosive play makers on offense kept the game close. QB Tracy Johnson hooked up with Shaquill Griffin and Marques Valdez for touchdowns. Dante Fowler contributed at every position on the field, but was not able to get past Lakeland's star offensive tackle, Evan Goodman. Then to close out the half, Fowler was banged up on a running play and forced out of the game, followed by an injury to Tracy Johnson. The Spartans played tough, but it was too much to overcome.

Answers Emerge for the Braves

While the Braves have a solid crop of defensive talent, including a defensive line that is unparalleled around the state, the offense has a lot of holes to fill. Though they lost to Kissimmee Osceola 21-14 after being without five defensive starters, the Braves can walk away more confident with their offense. Anthony Grant, the replacement for Remi Watson, turned in a solid performance rushing for 110 yards on 28 carries and rising freshman QB Trey Congdon was 10 of 22 for 157 yards and a touchdown in addition to scrambling for a touchdown. Eric Carter, a transfer from Kathleen, emerged as the go-to receiving target, catching 7 of Congdon's 10 passes. Sam Burroughs is also a name to keep an eye on at the fullback position as he has excellent hands out of the backfield and is a great blocker.

2013 RB Adam Lane has a ton of interest from BCS schools and is only a rising sophomore

He Did What?

What would lightning and thunder look like bottled up? More than likely, it would probably closely resemble Winter Haven's Adam Lane, who at 5'9" 205 pounds and runs a 4.4 in the 40, is a perfect blend of speed and power. In the Blue Devil's spring game vs. Belen Jesuit from Miami, Lane went off, running for 305 yards and 4 touchdowns. His touchdowns came on runs of 71, 80, 41, 80 yards. Lane is tough to tackle with a strong lower body and when he gets to the next level and in space, he can take it the distance every time. He also excels as a pass catcher, making him the complete package as a prospect, and he is only a rising junior.

In addition to Lane, Winter Haven gets Levi Borders back as the teams quarterback after he suffered a season ending injury early last season. Borders, who is about 6'2" 180, showed flashes last spring and looked ok in the game going 8 of 12 for 100 yards and a touchdown, but made some mistakes and threw 2 interceptions.

Highlanders Showoff Plethora of Talent

The Highlanders always have tough defense, and with a loaded linebacker corps and ton of talented dual position players in the secondary, the trend continues. However, it is the offense where the big questions exist after losing their star quarterback, three wide receivers, and a top offensive lineman to graduation. In their spring game vs. Lake Region, Coach Rod Shafer can feel more comfortable after a 21-3 victory.

The Highlanders rotated three players at quarterback: Rolan Milligan, Railond Garrett, and Drake Haff. The best of the bunch could be rising junior Railond Garrett, who is a tall, lanky athlete at 6'3" 180, but possesses a good arm. At running back, star linebackers David Jones and Jonte Sergeant, a speed and power combination respectively, combined for 137 yards on 13 carries and each scored a touchdown. The wide receiver corps was led by Marcel White and Lamar Welch. White is a basketball star that has good size and great hands, impressing scouts from FAU, FIU, and Miami with his athletic, acrobatic catches. Welch is a talented receiver as well, but is getting heavy interest from Oklahoma State and Texas Tech to play safety.

For the Lake Region Thunder, offensive lineman Travis Noles was a bright spot. Noles showed potential from his right tackle spot. At 6'3" 245, he is undersized, but has good technique and uses his hands well. He is strong, but with more size and time in the weight room, he could play offensive guard at the next level.

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