DeLand's De'Ante "Pop" Saunders and Marlin Lane of Daytona Beach Mainland aren't just two of the state's premier junior prospects who happen to play in the same county. They actually live right down the street from each other in DeLand and have been good friends pretty much all of their lives.
Another common thread: they led both their teams to 42-0 blowouts Friday night.
Saunders, the leading rusher in theSentinel coverage area, carried 15 times for 177 yards including a 54-yard touchdown run as the Bulldogs (6-0) rolled to a 42-0 homecoming romp past Deltona Pine Ridge. Saunders, who already has major college football and basketball offers, is close to 900 yards rushing for the season.
Lane, who orally committed to Clemson last summer, is Mainland's full-time tailback for the first time this year and is carrying the offensive load well. He rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and also took a punt return 58 yards for another score in a 42-0 rout of Spruce Creek. Lane has 750 rushing yards and is well on his way to surpass 1,000 yards for the third consecutive season with another year of high school play to go.
Lane (6-0/200) had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons as an eighth and ninth grader at Lighthouse Christian in DeLand, then transferred to Mainland prior to his sophomore season.
Longtime rivals DeLand and Mainland meet very likely with the Class 6A, District 2 title on the line on Nov. 6 at Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium. Land and Saunders both said they remain good friends and have avoided a lot of trash talk about that game.
"We joke around about what we're going to do to each other, but nothing much," Saunders said in an interview last month. "We were on the same flag football team when we were like four or five years old and we played together all the way through Pop Warner."
Shontrelle Johnson, who plays the other wingback in DeLand's prolific Wing-T offense, ran for 135 yards and two TDs against Pine Ridge. The Northwestern commit is No. 16 on the Sentinel's Top 100 seniors list for Central Florida. But the Bulldogs also showed future opponents some new wrinkles with converted fullback Nick Ciciarelli completing 7-of-14 passes for 137 yards and two TDs. Ciciarelli (6-0/230) who is No. 94 on our Central Florida Top 100, also ran for a 12-yard TD. It will be interesting to see what kind of recruiting attention develops for a player who probably projects as a college football H-back.
Quinn Bell (Sr., 5-10/175) again got the start at QB for the Bucs and ran for two TDs and was 5-of-7 passing for 68 yards for the Bucs. WR Chevin Davis (6-1/175, No. 73 CF), a senior prospect who was slowed by injuries in September, had four catches for 67 yards.
Seabreeze's Thompson at it again, Roberts returns, but Crabs lose
Daytona Beach Seabreeze (3-3) senior quarterbackMatt Thompson put numbers up again Friday, but the Sandcrabs potent offense still could not keep pace with state-ranked Orange Park Fleming Island (6-0, 1-0) in a 5A, District 3 game. The Eagles used a bruising running game with timely deep throws sprinkled in to rack up 553 offensive yards and a 42-21 win over Seabreeze.
Thompson (6-2/185), the No. 19 prospect on our Central Florida Top 100 seniors list and the area's leading passer, threw for 244 yards against heavy pressure and ran for 74.
Dominique Roberts (Ath., 6-1/203), the No. 17 area senior, returned from injury for Seabreeze and was on the receiving end of a 17-yard TD pass from Thompson. Roberts had four catches totaling 44 yards and ran six times for 43 yards. WR John Cristopher (5-10/180), an emerging junior prospect as Seabreeze's leading receiver, had five catches for 86 yards.