Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Alton Taylor's success with Countryside is no small wonder

Alton Taylor says he never expected this much success right away as the unbeaten Cougars’ primary back.


Alton Taylor says he never expected this much success right away as the unbeaten Cougars’ primary back.

CLEARWATER — The past two seasons, Alton Taylor has played more positions than most high school players would consider in their careers.

From catching passes to taking handoffs to returning kicks, Taylor is the ever-evolving man on Countryside's roster.

The senior also is a one-man microcosm of the balance the Cougars hoped to have on offense, with Jimbo Chmelik at quarterback and receivers such as Todd Shorter.

But coach John Davis wanted to give Taylor a more permanent role and figured the diminutive (5-9, 185 pounds) athlete was just the guy to give the running game a spark.

Taylor has flourished as the featured ball carrier, rushing for 660 yards and 15 touchdowns through four games.

That's not a misprint.

Fifteen touchdowns.

"I thought I had a chance to do pretty well," Taylor said. "But I never thought I'd get off to that kind of start, especially scoring touchdowns."

Taylor leads the county and bay area in scoring and needs just five more touchdowns to tie the single-season school record.

"Alton is willing to play any role," Davis said. "But he has really done well in this one."

Last year, Taylor was a situational back and carried the ball just 27 times. But Davis saw enough; he wanted to use Taylor more to offset the loss of the graduated Dawrence Roberts.

Taylor, a smallish, third-down specialist, is proving he can be an every-down, inside-running, big-play back.

"Alton has always been a pretty good running back, even in junior varsity," Davis said. "But we already had a pretty good guy here with Dawrence, who was a 1,000-yard rusher."

Countryside saw glimpses of what Taylor could do in the spring and preseason games, where he accounted for more than 350 rushing yards and scored six touchdowns combined.

In the regular season, the Cougars (4-0) have continued to turn Taylor loose, asking him to run inside as much as outside through four quarters. Taylor has delivered by being physical and determined.

His power resides in his lower body and legs. A strong base helps Taylor generate power and swivel into position to avoid, absorb or dispense hits.

It also helps to have an offensive line that is a mixture of experience, mobility, intelligence and toughness.

"The offensive line is a big key," Taylor said. "They open up a lot of things for me."

Taylor's fast start might soon slow down. Countryside starts the meat of its schedule tonight against Lakewood. And Davis wants to get backup Brenton Conley, who has 314 yards and three touchdowns, more involved in the offense.

"I'm not a guy who is going to feed a guy the ball just to get some records," Davis said. "Those are nice, but the biggest thing is winning games."

Bob Putnam can be reached at

Alton Taylor's success with Countryside is no small wonder 10/01/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 1, 2009 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Storm routs Cleveland


    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  2. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  3. Rowdies shut out Charleston


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Former closer Sergio Romo acquired from Dodgers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays made a move to help the bullpen Saturday night when they acquired RHP Sergio Romo, who had been designated for assignment last week by the Dodgers.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 7, 2017.
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. backs wife's "not worth risk'' opinion on Daytona

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Saturday defended his wife's Twitter post — and blamed himself for putting her in a position where she believed she had to speak out and upset some of his fans.

    Amy Earnhardt worries about Dale Jr.’s concussions.