The Miners of Fort Meade jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first half of the game before the Vikings finally scored with about 3 seconds left before halftime. That 28-7 score proved to be the final as the Miners controlled the ball well in second half and miscues plagued the Vikings. Despite the lopsidedness, there was so good talent on the field for both squads
Without a doubt, 2013 running back DeVante Clark was the most important player for the Miners. His 283 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns really took the air of Lakeland Christian and kept the Viking offense off the field. Clark is not overly big at 5'8" 165, but he has plenty of speed and good moves in the open field. His size actually works to his advantage to hide behind blockers, find the hole, and then explode into the second level or cut back outside. Clark is also a threat catching passes out of the backfield like many very good Fort Meade running backs before him.
Maurice Russell was also a huge factor in the game. The 6'0" 220 2012 fullback and linebacker had 37 yards receiving and 34 yards rushing to go with a rushing touchdown. He has the size and speed to play either fullback or linebacker at the next level, but his offers have come at the linebacker spot. Russell is tough as nails and brings a lot of tenacity to the game. On offense he runs with a excellent blend of power and speed to go along with solid hands catching out of the backfield. At linebacker, his ability to blitz from his inside spot, move well laterally, and cover well, make him a great pickup.
2012 linebacker Jamie Willis is another player who continues to shine since making a name for his self during his sophomore and injury shortened junior seasons. Willis who played defensive end for a couple of season and lined up at a rush linebacker position a lot against LCS, has all the intangibles of a BCS prospect. He is a rangy player with extra long arms, has speed and great change of direction, closes well on the ball carrier, covers well, and makes punishing hits. His smart play, understanding of both the defensive end and linebacker positions, and intangibles landed him in the SunStateFootball Top 100.
A couple of young playmakers for Fort Meade also had good nights. 2013 wide receiver/defensive back Chris Morris and 2014 wide receiver/defensive back Tobias Culpepper. Both players continue the legacy of speedy playmakers coming out of Fort Meade and both are dangerous in space. The 5'11" 165lb Morris has the makings of a very good cover corner. He has good hips, breaks on the ball with good closing speed, and wraps up well, making good open field tackles. He has a bit of physicality at the line and is good in zone coverage. Culpepper, who is about 5'11" 170lbs, shined from his receiver spot. With plenty of time to develop as a player and fill out, he could become a receiver prospect to watch. He already is a good route runner and had the hands to go with it. In space, he is a dangerous weapon and was a deep threat target several times on the night.
Lakeland Christian School
Quarterback Christian Alexander is making a name for himself as a player to watch for the 2015 class. Yes, that's right, the 2015 class. The talented passer is way ahead of many older quarterbacks around the state in areas like footwork and decision making and he is only a freshman; A 6'2" 200lb freshman. Alexander, whose Head Coach and mentor is former Florida Gator four year starting quarterback Wayne Peace, has tremendous footwork. His pocket presence is exceptional for a freshman and he has an added bit of mobility which enables him to elude a pass rush and some plays with his feet. He has a good arm at this stage, but needs some work on his release point and quickness as balls tend to sail and float on him a bit.
Lakeland Christian has another 2015 prospect to watch in 5'11" 175lb running back T.J. Simmons. A balance back with good speed and power, Simmons can pick up tough yardage, keeping his feet moving and running through contact well. He is not a constant home run threat, but if he gets into space, he could take it the distance. He did not factor in the receiving game so it is unknown how good his hands are out of the backfield, but he is a tough pass locker for quarterback Alexander. With three more years to grow and fill out, Simmons is an intriguing big back prospect to watch.
Blocking for Alexander and Simmons is 2013 offensive linemen Houston May. At 6'5" 295lbs, May has tremendous size and strength, which has caught the eye of quite a few of the larger DI-A colleges around the country. He has the size to play tackle which is what he currently plays, but he needs to get depth quicker in pass pro and get his hands up faster. He has a good punch though and is a very physical run blocker, the reason they run off his side. He could play either guard or tackle at the next level, and has another year to work technique.
One player who shined despite all odds on the night was 2012 wide receiver, defensive back, and return man Michael Wheary. Wheary, a 5'10" 170lb transfer from George Jenkins after last season, is a tough player for his size with tons of speed and agility. He is the perfect slot receiver at the next level. He is a fluid runner with solid route running ability and an excellent head fake. Miscues on the night and Alexander's passes sailing on him really hampered his production, even though he beat Fort Meade defenders and was wide open deep downfield several times.