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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
NEW PORT RICHEY - Byronell Arline's breakout performance came his sophomore season on a team that won just once.
Ridgewood kept it close with Zephyrhills ultimately winning 21-14 that night, but Arline's performance to close out his sophomore season served as an appetizer for his final two years. He rushed 32 times for 175 yards and two touchdowns against a defense featuring Florida-bound Bryan Thomas. When he broke one for a 32-yard score, he noticed one thing.
"He's supposed to be running like a 4.3," Arline said of Thomas. "He couldn't even catch me."
Arline signed a letter of intent Friday with Dodge City Community College in Kansas because it was the one school that offered him a chance to play immediately. He held a small ceremony in the principal's office at Ridgewood with mother Shawanda sitting by his side.
"They're going to build their offense around them," Ridgewood coach Chris Taylor said. "When I first talked to them about (Arline) they said it was like a call from heaven."
Dodge City knows what it's getting, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound bruiser who rushed for 2,188 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior and holds Pasco County's rushing record with 5,279 yards.
Arline admits he couldn't point to the campus on a map, but isn't going there to study geography. He aspires to be a corrections officer.
"I don't think people around here will realize his value and his asset to the school for a few years," Taylor said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing for a running back to come through the school as good as he is."