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Doral Academy pulls the ultimate surprise!

On the way to West Palm Beach Saturday morning, Miami’s Doral Academy football team had its bus break down, forcing the Firebirds to seek alternate transportation. Showing up over an hour late for the Rising Stars Athletics Palm Beach 7-on-7 Shootout, they had to play catch up!

Playing in three straight games without a rest, coach Evan Cooper’s team defied all odds as they beat defending champion Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, 27-22, and surprised the 14-team field at Palm Springs City Park.

Behind the passing of the event’s Offensive MVP Jermaine Kelson, a talented junior, this team rolled with wins against Inlet Grove, Summitt Christian and Lake Worth, advancing to the next round. Doral Academy then beat Royal Palm Beach, North Broward Prep and Dywer.

“I told people before, this is going to be a team that will pull some major surprises,” said Cooper, the former Killian standout, who also starred at Michigan. “This team didn’t come an hour-and-a-half to roll over. We respected the field in this tournament and welcomed the challenge.”

While Kelson dazzled defenses all afternoon, senior Carlton Callendar, a 6-2, 195-pounder safety/receiver established himself as one of the most promising athlete. While his career began at Southridge as a ninth grader, it seems that this gifted athlete made quite an impression.

“Best senior player at this event,” said Charles Fishbein of Elitescoutingservices.com. “I have watched every great safety in this state in this class, and he is top 5. He’s that good.”

We’ll have more on Doral Academy in this Friday’s column. You’ll be impressed at the quality players this team has.

Dwyer junior Matt Elam, who is rated No. 1 in the class by Florida Football Magazine, was voted as the Defensive MVP.

The event also helped to find some players who hadn’t been on anyone’s radar screen, especially Fort Pierce Westwood receiver Leon Shorter (6-3, 175), who may be one of the best we’ve watched over the past few weeks. His teammate Jamison Wright (safety, 6-2, 165) and Lake Worth receiver Solomon Alberry (6-2, 175) are all elite players.

Other juniors on hand was Florida Football Magazine’s Top 25 Class of 2010 prospect Darius Millines (quarterback/safety, 6-1, 180), impressive linebacker Jeff Luc (6-0, 235) from Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast.

There are also some Class of 2011 players who made an impact on Saturday such as Fort Pierce Westwood’s Everette Jackson (safety, 5-7, 155), Coral Glades’ quarterback Christopher Haire (6-1, 175) and cornerback Kevin Greisel (5-10, 155).

Some of the senior players who many knew about and made an impact includes Fort Pierce Westwood’s 6-4, 230-pound quarterback Isaac Virgin, University of Minnesota commit Victor Keise (receiver 6-1, 175) and Jordan Batts (receiver, 5-11, 165) from North Broward Prep, and Joe Morris (6-3, 175) of American Heritage-Delray. We also knew about Class of 2010 junior quarterback Brandon Doughty (6-3, 180) from North Broward Prep.

By the way, 2012 quarterback Evan Moore (6-0, 165) could be the first freshman ever to start for coach Erick Lowe’s Lake Worth Trojans.

Other teams that took place included Santaluces, Palm Beach Gardens, Boynton Beach, Riviera Beach Suncoast and Dwyer’s B team, which made it to the final four as well.