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William Likely's moment to shine

It was a banner day for Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central junior athlete William Likely in his team's 24-10 victory over Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens).

The 5-9, 175-pounder started the day with a 99-yard kickoff return and added a spectacular 45-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
The plays made the top spot on SportsCenter's Top 10 list.

"I felt like I had to do something to show what kind of team we were and what we were going to do to win this game," Likely said. "It was important for this program to make a statement early."

Likely's play gave the Raiders a 21-10 lead and all but put the game out of reach thanks to an inspired effort by the defense, also led by Likely.

"Really the defense is where the momentum shift started," Likely said. "Once we established things on defense it was just a matter of time for the offense to get started."

The offense struggled early as Jamie Wilson, Tanner Reddish and Greg Davis all split time at quarterback.

"We didn't come out and do a lot of things right," said Glades Central assistant coach Reidel Anthony. "But we did enough and when you have players like William Likely and Jatavis Brown you've always got a chance."

Anthony, a former NFL and college standout, was part of a new coaching staff at Glades Central and said that Likely and Brown came up big at much-needed times.

"I think everyone was a little amped up because of television and we did things we weren't supposed to do," Anthony said. "But those two guys are student-athletes. They are students in the classroom and students of the game.

"As a coach you want to know who the guys are that you can count on in the tough games and they proved it."

Likely is expected to be one of the top juniors in the state and is already getting plenty of early recruiting interest.

"Right now Florida State, Florida, Miami, LSU, Alabama, Wake Forest, Oregon have all reached out to me," Likely said. "I'm looking for a situation with an aggressive defense and a strong defensive coaching staff.

"And, of course, a top program that plays in the big games."

Likely's touchdown is arguably the play of the year so far in Florida high school football. He said that quarterback Greg Davis recognized the coverage Dwyer was showing and Likely passed along some additional information.

"We figured out what they were doing on the previous play and they were also getting real tired," Likely said. "Greg hadn't thrown that much so he had a lot of deep throws left in him. We just burned them."

Bailey provides big boost
Hallandale (Fla.) High School's three-star cornerback Willie Bailey proved he's a lot more than coverage defender during Friday's 19-0 victory over Plantation.

Bailey blocked a punt that set up a touchdown and provided the pressure to force another errant kick in a game where points were at a minimum.

"I love to block a punt, that's probably my favorite thing to do," said Bailey. "We knew they had a good defense and we had to do the additional things to help the offense put points on the board."

Bailey who switched his commitment from Miami to Florida earlier in the spring says he's a solid commitment and excited to watch what the Gators can do this season.

"I talk with the coaches often and I love everything about the University of Florida," Bailey said. "I hope I can get to several games this season. I'm definitely going to go [when they play] Alabama and probably Florida State."

Bailey will be matched up against top junior Stacy Coley and UCF commitment Kevis Jones this week when Hallandale takes on Oakland Park (Fla.) Northeast.

Holmes sets up visit, looking for more
Running back Gary Holmes Jr. (Loxahatchee, Fla./Seminole Ridge) has had a strong start to his senior year with over 100 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over Palm Beach Central.

Now the 5-8, 175-pounder is hoping his first few games will help him raise his recruiting stock.

Holmes has offers from Middle Tennessee State, Western Michigan and Bryant and several other schools are inquiring.

"Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Georgia have all kept in contact with me," Holmes said. "I went to their camps over the summer and did pretty well, so we'll see."

Holmes has a December visit schedule to Western Michigan and is waiting to see before making any other plans.

"My goal to play in the SEC, ACC or somewhere close to home," Holmes said. "I want to keep working hard and show those programs that I can play at that level."

Notes from around Florida
• Junior running back Ryan Green (St. Peterbsurg, Fla./St. Pete Catholic) recently received an offer from Purdue.

• Running back Torry Clayton (Homestead, Fla./South Dade) was offered by West Virginia over the weekend.

• Under Armour All-American Brian Poole says he will take some official visits. Poole committed to Florida in July.

• Virginia Tech commit Jawand Blue (Boca Raton, Fla./West Boca Raton) had his six-week suspension reduced to two weeks after his appeal. Blue was suspended for his involvement in an in-game altercation.

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.