He’s called “Rat.”
Oviedo running back Jurell Green got the nickname from an uncle at a young age and it stuck for whatever reason. But just like a rat, the shifty sophomore is hard to catch.
“He’s gotten bigger from his freshman year to now, obviously,” Lions head coach Wes Allen said. “He’s got a knack for vision, seeing the hole and making cuts. That’s probably his two biggest attributes right now.”
Up next to spring a trap on the 5-foot-7, 178-pound speedster is Lincoln (10-1), which will travel to Oviedo (11-1) for tonight’s Class 7A regional final.
Stopping Green, who has 1,589 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns on the year, is priority No. 1 for the Trojans, which gave up big yardage to Buchholz tailback Kenny Scott (312 yards) last week, thought most came with reserves in and a big lead.
“You have to stop the run in order to win in the playoffs,” Lincoln coach Yusuf Shakir said. “And, of course, they have to stop our run. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s the playoffs and there are only eight teams left. It will be a great game.”
Green, who received a scholarship offer from Louisville earlier in the year, rushed for 230 yards in a playoff-opening win, but he was held to just 23 yards on 11 carries in a 20-19 overtime win against Evans last week.
“They don’t run a lot outside, they run a lot inside,” Shakir said. “And they have a very athletic quarterback. We have to contain those guys. One of our strengths is team speed. We just have to make sure we’re in the right place.”
What Lincoln does have is firepower across the board.
Trojans running backs Ben Robinson (1,047 yards, 16 TD) and Cameron Lang (456 yards) provide a 1-2 “dash and smash” combo, while quarterback Cameron Joseph can sling the ball deep to receiver Taj Williams (500 yards, 8 TD) or underneath to sure-handed Myles Gaines (36 catches, 530 yards).
“You can’t just pack the box on those guys with the receivers they’ve got,” Allen said.
“Quarterback throws the ball well. You have to be balanced on defense in anything you do. They’re big, strong up front. They’ve got one of the best offensive lines we’ve seen. They get people moved, and they have two very good running backs. It’ll be a tough ballgame for us trying to slow them down.”
Perhaps the biggest difference maker for the game could come in the form of turnovers, which always hurts the unlucky.
“Our kids do a pretty good job taking care of the football,” Allen said. “Really any level of football, if you take care of the football, you have a chance to be in the game at the end.”
Oviedo has turned the ball over just five times on the year (4 INT, 1 fumble), while Lincoln has triple the damage (6 INT, 9 fumbles).
“Turnovers do decide everything,” Shakir said. “Most of the time, the team that doesn’t make mistakes will be successful. And, of course, you gotta do fundamentals and take advantage of those turnovers.”