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8 posts from December 2006

December 12, 2006


To the comment by Frank for NW. I agree Jacory Harris is extremely talented, more than anything his poise and solid decision-making in the pocket. As for Roland Smith, I've heard there are a few young coaches in Dade eager to jump on board  that revamped UM coaching staff next year.

As for Shardy, you make a few good points, but I think you're overblowing Lakeland's schedule a bit.

Granted NW did not play outside its county until the final game. Lake brantley, by the way, proved it was the best team in the Orlando area by taking down Apopka and Edgewater in the playoffs.

NW is in the process of scheduling a major out-of-state opponent next season likely in the Kirk Herbstreit Challenge.

As for Lakeland's opponents,

St. Xavier -- good scheduling as Lakeland did go to this year's Ohio challenge.

Mainland and St. Thomas are each quality opponents, products of a 5A bracket that is more spread out around the state than 6A.

But that's where it gets a little questionable.

Kathleen? I was there. They barely beat Pace on a field goal that followed a roughing the passer call.

then you have Lake Gibson, which beat Plant but lost to Winter Haven, the same Winter Haven, which beat Armwood in 2OT on a bad year by Armwood standards and the Winter Haven team that got slaughtered by Plant. That's Plant, which beat Booker T. by 5 points.

By the way, NW does play perennial teams from this area, like Booker T., whom they beat in the preseason 20-6 with 9 starters on the bench, and Central twice (80-12 combined score), and North Miami Beach 42-20.

While Lakeland beats Norland and Krop at home, two teams that this season, at least, weren't exactly Dade powerhouses. They combined for a 5-16 record. Typical scheduling in recent years when Lakeland has played teams like Miami High when they were on down years.

It would be interesting to see if Lakeland would agree to face some teams like Booker T. (which by the way has asked to play them next season) or a Glades Central or a Pahokee, not sub .500 squads to later claim that they've handled teams from strong football areas.

Lakeland or the West- the great debate

I've received a few emails regarding the Northwestern-Lakeland question.

GIve us your thoughts America...or at least Florida.

Here's one favoring Lakeland and another for Northwestern:


Northwestern Get's My Vote For #1
I would have a very hard time voting a team that gave up 42 points number one even if the game went into 2 overtimes.  Northwestern beat a very stubborn Lake Brantley team that lacked a good passing game.  But I grew up playing high school football in Miami and played college football.  I have never seen a High School team as skilled at every position like NW High!  If the U of Miami lets that NW quarterback get out of this town next year they need to pack and go with him he is awesome.  The Dolphins could use that kid!  Ok maybe that's taking it a little far.  But I do think coach Smith should be considered for the FIU job what do you think?
And a vote for the Dreadnaughts:

I am tired of hearing about Northwestern being better than


, or that they may be able to beat them.  It never stops.  There has always been, and apparently will always be those who think they can beat


just by looking at the way they play other teams.  Yet, when they line-up on the field they soon realize it is not as easy as it looks from the stands, or on TV.   Lakeland has played many teams (STA, Mainland, Kathleen, etc.) that are just as talented as them and/or Northwestern, with better quarterbacks, however, the result is always the same; Lakeland Wins!  The mind-boggling thing is this,


has a simple run-oriented offense that every team knows about, but is still unable to stop.  What is even more amazing is the fact that this run offense scores just as fast as any passing offenses.  Furthermore, on the other side of the ball, they have a defense that can create and capitalize on turnovers, as well as special teams.
Now, I will outline my argument against Northwestern.  The fact that NW is the first school to win a


state title without leaving its own county, or city for that matter, says it all. I think it is ridiculous that any team would consider themselves for a national title, or think that they have a legit argument for the state’s all-class title, when at best; all they have proven is that they are “City Champs”; with the exception of the championship game against Lake Brantley, they basically played the same sorry (Miami) teams in the playoff that they blowout during the season.  Therefore, how can they consider themselves to be the all- classification state champs?  In addition to that, they play in 6A, which everyone in the state knows is the weakest classification, even more so before the 1A and 2A split.  I mean, how competitive can that classification be when the Southern bracket comprises of teams in the Greater Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Area, and the Northern bracket is the rest of the state, particularly Sarasota, Orlando, and Jacksonville area.  They don’t even play the traditionally good teams in their area during the season, like STA, Monsignor Pace, Chaminade-Madonna,

Deerfield Beach

, or


Booker T.  Yet, they want to call out


, give me a break. Northwestern is just a cheap imitation of Belle Glade Central and you saw what happens to a team that just relies on raw talent without good coaching or discipline in South Carolina.
Now my argument for


is this, they played a schedule that not only included a national power, but they also played competitive teams from 3A, 4A, 5A, and 6A (talk about all-classification).  Secondly, they played the traditionally top teams in their area, Lakeland Kathleen and Lakeland Lake Gibson, and just for kicks, they play Tampa Hillsborough in the Kickoff Classic (though cancelled this year due to weather) and Bradenton Manatee (5A semi-finalist) in their spring game.  The only reason they don’t play Armwood is because Armwood would rather not play them (anymore), if you check the history books of the late 80’s and 90’s you will see why.  Thirdly, they played a schedule of which teams representing different areas of the state, Tampa, Daytona, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Kissimmee, Port St. Lucie, Venice, and had they not played in Ohio they would have played Cape Coral. In addition to that, the team NW played in the final was in no way comparative to the one


played, as was the case in




played St. Xavier and De La Salle played an Elder team that finished the season (6-4).  However, that’s another issue altogether.  Lastly,


beat more state ranked and higher Beef O’ Brady Top 25 ranked teams than NW, also many teams


beat had significant wins over good teams, and only lost to other good teams. 
·        STA (12-2) (beat Coconut Creek (11-2), Atlantic (10-2), & Manatee (9-5)) only lost to

Lakeland & Deerfield


·        Mainland (13-1)(beat Madison Co (10-3) & Bartram Trail (10-3)) only lost to


·        Kathleen (9-3) (beat Miami Monsignor Pace (9-2) &


(9-2)) only lost to





& Hardee (11-2)



(10-3) beat (Kathleen & Winter Haven) only lost to


twice &


Riverview (8-2)

Winter Haven

(9-3) (beat Armwood (11-2) & Bartow (10-4)) only lost to





, &


Plant (15-0, 4A Champ)
·        St. Xavier (10-2) (beat St. Edwards (12-2)) only lost to Lakeland & Colerain (13-1) All national competition


Osceola (7-3) only lost to







Edgewater (10-2, 6A #1 at the time)
Ironically, the only trash on Lakeland’s regular season schedule was Venice, George Jenkins, St. Lucie West Centennial (who held their own against Lake Brantley which only scored 10 point on them while LHS score 38 in the 1st half.) and the two garbage teams from Miami (Norland & Dr. Krop).  Moreover, no team in


beat Norland or Dr. Krop as bad as


; these two teams were actually competitive in


, go figure.  Well that’s my position on the subject; I would love to hear a rebuttal for “Da West”.

December 09, 2006

Amazing finish

How good was St. Thomas' near comeback against Lakeland last night?

Well, it made the ESPN Sportscenter top 10!

I tell you, I'm a 305 guy and I was standing there on the sidelines at Dolphin Stadium mesmerized.

All the reporters no matter how young or old looked like kids with grins on their faces and kept saying "wow" or "did you see that."

For me it was back in 1987 watching the Canes come back against FSU in Tallahassee or watching Dan Marino direct touchdown drive after touchdown drive until hitting Mark Ingram in the end zone after a fake spike to beat the Jets.

It was that kind of football magic at Dolphin Stadium last night.

Sorry for those of you that left the game early. I can't say I blame you. I was done with my work by the third quarter and almost left. But helping my boy Manny Navarro videotape the game enabled me to stay until the STA fireworks began.

In the end, an inch saved Lakeland from losing its state title. The Dreadnaughts might lose their status as the state and nation's best team, however.

December 08, 2006

Easterling's status still undecided

Antwain Easterling's playing status for tomorrow night's Class 6A title game remains undecided. I was at the school this morning and his mom and dad and aunt were among the family members pleading their case to Northwestern principal Dwight Bernard to let him play.

But it's up to the School Board to let him play. Should Antwain play and if he doesn't will the Bulls still finish with a state title in spite of the big distraction?

December 07, 2006

Chris Rainey

I'm sure most football fans in Miami-Dade County have seen and heard about the FHSAA's investigation of Lakeland star RB Chris Rainey for possibly violating the rules of amateurism after Rainey made his comments in a Miami Herald story this week.

What do Dade fans think? Did Rainey really accept these gifts or was he just joking as he now claims? Do you think Lakeland's coach Bill Castle should sit his star running back and should the state sanction the Dreadnaughts should they find proof and how severely?

Do you think this will affect the outcome of the game even if he does play?

December 06, 2006

Moraga headed to San Antonio

Who says Dade doesn't produce kickers?

Homestead senior kicker Julio Moraga, who connected consistently from 40 or more yards this season, has been added to the East roster of the US Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas.

Moraga joins Hialeah-Miami Lakes RB Armando Allen as the two Dade players selected to the roster thus far.
Moraga is rated the 4th best kicker in the nation by scout.com and according to their site has interest from Miami (OH).

Might not hurt Miami (FL) to take a look.


The All-State team that ran in the paper today is NOT the All-State football team picked at the end of the year.

That was simply an All-Star team picked from the 8 teams playing this weekend at Dolphin Stadium.

All-State selections won't come out probably for another few weeks.

the big week

I heard an interesting rivalry possibility for next week's high school football season once the state redistricts.

Archbishop Curley could be moving down to Class 1A, which would set up an interesting district battle between the Knights and 13-1 Dade Christian.

The Crusaders are working to set up games against Plantation American Heritage and possibly Archbishop Carroll.

La Salle is said to be moving up to District 8-2A, which will probably be a 3-team district next year with Carroll and Gulliver, which will be playoff eligible again.

And Booker T. may be getting a big time non-district opponent for their schedule next year.

I'll give hints as to who the top two possibilities are. One is playing for a national title this weekend, the other potential opponent plays in an game known as "the Muck," and its not Pahokee.