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A tale of two standouts

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published December 3, 2006


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Byronell Arline

School: Ridgewood

Year: Junior

Height: 6-0

Weight: 220 pounds

Position: Running back

Why we picked him: A two-time county rushing champion, Arline ran for 1,717 yards, and he practically missed an entire game, getting hurt against Gulf after five carries and 5 yards. Otherwise, Tyrone Tomlin's single-season record of 1,753 would have been history.

Significant statistics: Arline had a school-record 303 yards in one game. He had three other games over 200 yards. He carried the load against Tarpon Springs, even when the Spongers knew what was coming. In the season finale against Zephyrhills, he rushed for 233 yards and four touchdowns, giving Ridgewood a winning record for only the third time in its 23-year history.

Best moment: Against Zephyrhills, Arline faced what was probably the county's fastest defensive backfield and scored on an 80-yard touchdown run. "They were supposed to be the fastest and the best, so that was big for me," he said. "I'm 6-foot, 200 pounds, I'm not supposed to be outrunning them."

Most memorable play: The same 80-yard TD run, but not only because he outran everyone. Before he could do that, he had to use the best stiff arm of the season to spring free for good. "It was nice," he said.

One play you'd like to have back: Arline was a workhorse who played through sore ribs to lead his team to a stalemate with Tarpon Springs, the winner going to the playoffs. He carried 36 times for 192 yards, but he'd kill to have that 36th carry back, a fumble that led to the Spongers' winning field goal. "We could have went to the playoffs, so I'd like that one back," he said.

Why he wears No. 3: Cousins Calvin Wood, Marquise Gamble and Arline grew up together, playing on the same youth teams. Every year, to symbolize their unity, they wore No. 1 (Wood), 2 (Gamble) and 3 (Arline). Wood and Gamble played for Tarpon, and Arline ended up at Ridgewood. But the chain was never broken.

Coach's comment: "He's tough to bring down, and don't forget he's got some speed," coach Chris Taylor said. "He's the guy we're going to give the ball to and run our offense through. That's no secret."

What's next: County's career rushing record? That number, believed to be the 4,057 yards Godfrey Pestana gained at Land O'Lakes, will face a stiff test from Arline, who already has 3,091. Barring injury, and keeping the same pace he set this year, Arline could set the mark just past midseason. He plans to hit some summer camps and interest from Miami, Tennessee and Auburn has him charged up about the 2007 season.

 

[Last modified December 2, 2006, 22:08:32]


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