With a regular season game at national power Katy (Texas) in October, a district that has one of the nation’s top quarterbacks (Eugene Smith) and a region that includes powers Deerfield Beach, Miramar, North Miami Beach, Miami Central, Columbus and defending national champion Northwestern, Cypress Bay fired the first warning this spring that the Lightning will be ready to play - anyone!
As spring came to an end on Saturday at the ‘Bay with a White/Blue contest, dozens of college coaches, media outlets and fan recruiting websites were on hand with a few hundred fans as the state’s largest school showed off some 2009, 2010 and even 2011 players.
As head coach Mark Guandolo and his staff capped off a solid spring, the fans had the opportunity to watch this impressive football team for the first time, and all on hand who braved 90-plus degree temperatures were treated to a show and a post-game barbecue.
This is a team that is more than the marquee players such as senior linebackers Shane Gordon, Phil Walker and Austin Gamble. The Lightning have more talent than standout defensive back Carl Miles and speedy running back Jason Douglas. What Guandolo has been able to put together in the over a year since taking the job is a team that will be in the mix for a 6A state title.
With many programs down across the region and the state, this is the perfect year for Cypress Bay to play sound football and pull the ultimate surprise - a state title!
The Class of 2009 is impressive on offense with backup quarterback Brandon Yassis, receivers Corey McCabe, Chadsworth Barnes, Joshua Riffel and Max Vasquez. There is also tight end David Martin.
In addition to Douglas and Gordon, who also plays in the offensive backfield, the running game also includes Omar Cabrera, Vincent Mantuo and fullback Craig Dee. The line is very talented with prospects Leslie Tripp, Patrick Ferrero, Matthew Fainer and Kolton Galimba. Kickers Luke Bray and Steven Faucher will also be among the best.
Defensively, the Class of 2009 has Gordon, Walker, Gamble and Miles, but also includes linemen Josh Kelso, Jules Gomez and Laurent Sventz. There are also defensive backs Lance Harstadt, Eddy Cabrera, Angel Corchado and hard-hitting Amari Sapp. Linebackers Anthony Guerra and Miles Doleman add plenty of depth.
The Class of 2010 starts to show just how talented this team will be.
On offense, quarterback Zach Green will be a three-year starter. Running backs David McKnight, Marcus Mason, Bryton Weathers and Collin Robinson add to an already impressive Wing-T attack. There are also receivers Kelby Cox and Juan Gomez.
The offensive line prospects for both 2010 and 2011 has set the table for the future. Joseph McNamara may be one of the nation’s elite prospects who is aggressive, 6-3, 280 and is cat-quick. Others on the line include Roland Gallegos, Christopher Valdes and Jerimiah Nelson.
On defense, the Class of 2010 is in great hands with lineman Kane Connor, linebackers Juan Montoya-Galofrey and Michael Mancino, and defensive backs Alexander Dahl, Alexander Haddad, Damien Brown and Kareem Auguste, who’s brother, Akeem, played for Guandolo at Chaminade-Madonna. Kicker Derek Soven will also add to the competition.
Even the Class of 2011 will make a contribution on the 2008 team. Talented linemen Kyle Jossfolk and Russell James-Haughton will play key roles. So will linebacker Nick Fleming and Enzo Nitto, and defensive linemen Brandon Schoenthal and Grant Burke.
There are other players who were out with injuries in the spring who will also help this team.