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October 12, 2012
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YULEE - Heading into tonight's First Coast - Yulee game, probably the biggest question mark was whether Alabama commit Derrick Henry would be able to extend his national record-breaking streak of consecutive 100 yard games.
Facing at eam that held him to 106 last time, Henry got his 100+ yards and finished with 186 , but his team fell 37-23 to First Coast.
Henry came in to tonight's game with 40 consecutive games of 100 yards, a national record. First Coast clearly has the best defense in Northeast Florida with 6 Divison 1 commits, including Florida commit Daniel McMillian and Florida State commit Tyrell Lyons.
The Hornets played inspired defense in the 3rd quarter and stifled First Coast on a couple of drives, but First Coast's offense still displayed explosiveness.
In a 3rd quarter scoring frenzy by both teams, perhaps the highlight was Henry's 3rd TD run of the night. From the 46 yard line, he found a hole in the middle and then started heading to the outside with one man to beat. As the First Coast defender went to make the tackle, Henry gave a crushing stiff-arm, sending the unfortunate defender straight to the ground and Henry trotted into the end zone to keep the score close at 24-21.
First Coast would answer quickly when sophomore QB DeAndre Johnson tossed a couple more TD passes on the next two drives. In the end, the FSU commit would throw for 4 TD's on the night and the Buccaneers finally pulled away.
Henry's 186 rushing yards was enough to put him just over the 10,000 career mark and keep him in the hunt for the National career record.
Longtime Buccaneer coach Marty Lee commented on facing a player like Derrick Henry:
"I've coached against a lot of good running backs in the area over the years; Leon Washington, Ciatrick Fason... Derrick is definitely on that short list as well".
The future SEC matchup
Probably the best matchup tonight was future Gator LB Daniel McMillian versus future SEC opponent Derrick Henry.
After the game, McMillian talked about the approach you need to take when facing a guy like Henry. "You have to make sure you squat and wrap up on a guy like him," McMillian said. "the key is wrapping up, and don't let go".
McMillian demonstrated this to perfection on one particular play in the first half with a highlight reel tackle when he dumped Henry for a 1 yard loss. He displayed his speed by getting to the line of scrimmage quickly, and after a loud pop, he wrapped up the 235 pounder and sent him sideways straight to the ground. After standing proudly over him for a brief second, he helped his opponent up.
There seems to be a mutual respect between the two players. When Henry was asked about what makes McMillian so good he emphatically gave a list of superlatives. "He's so good at shooting gaps, and reading blitzes," Henry said. "And his overall speed makes him such a great player".
The two look forward to hopefully squaring off one day in SEC play. Until then both of their teams are in good position to possibly win their district and make a playoff run. Yulee plays West Nassau next week for the District Championship and First Coast (7-0)has only Ed White to beat to become District Champions.