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Columbus is ready to contend!

Had the chance to watch Jamaal Berry and Palmetto last Friday night against Columbus. Berry is more than the real deal. Palmetto just didn't use him enough. But the story on this night had to be the Explorers, who won 49-0, and looked very impressive.

After finishing 11-1 last season, losing to eventual state and national champion Northwestern, coach Chris Merritt has certainly assembled quite a football team.

While defensive tackle Antwan Lowery (6-3, 315) is the centerpiece of this defense, senior defensive end Caesar Rodriguez (6-2, 215) and sophomore defensive end Anthony Rabasa, a 6-3, 210-pounder are as productive as anyone I have watched in the spring and into the summer. They make plays – over and over again!

The thing that you have to love about the Explorer’s defense is that youngsters such as junior linebacker Tommy Heffernan (6-2, 200), senior Michael Abadin (6-1, 225) and sophomore Brandon Bradley (5-11, 170). Heffernan is a big time player with size, speed and plenty of athletic ability. I was fortunate to have watched Heffernan's dad, Dave, play for the University of Miami, and his son is going to be a real star.

The secondary is also quite impressive with senior safety Jamal Wildgoose (6-2, 170), Edgar Guerra (5-9, 160) and junior Bryan Santos, who at 5-9, 160, is a player who is not afraid to stick his head in on every play.

One of the brightest stars for the future is junior running back Jakhari Gore. This 5-9, 170-pounder is cousin of former Coral Gables, UM and 49ers star, Frank Gore, who is considered the best running back ever in Miami-Dade County.

Gore, who finished with a game-high 167 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown, helped balance an offense that was directed by quarterbacks Chris Ackemjack, a 5-9, 180-pound senior, and junior Garret Colao (5-11, 175), who completed nine passes combined for 100 yards.

Senior receivers Gary Bush (6-0, 175, Purdue), Kenny Whittaker (5-11, 175), who transferred in from Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna and senior Erik Lora (6-0, 175) are also impressive, and the offensive line that features seniors Andrew Guin (6-0, 245), Stephen Ortiz (6-1, 246), Thomas Maguire (6-0, 225), Stephen Nunez (6-2, 250) and Mark Westman (5-11, 250), and juniors Mark Cal (5-10, 260), Jacobo Gonzalez (6-2, 260), Alex Wethy (6-3, 245) and sophomore Brian Visney (6-1, 230). Westman's father, Mark, played at South Miami for veteran coach Charlie Yanda before heading to Oklahoma and competing for legendary head coach Barry Switzer.

I just scratched the surface with this team. Keep an eye out for Columbus. This could be the year that this program plays for a state title, and you would have to go back to the early 80s when Alonzo Highsmith, Mike Shula, Dwayne Ganzy and some others played for a state title against Pensacola Woodham, which I had the pleasure of broadcasting back to South Florida with the late, great Sonny Hirsch on a frigid night in the Panhandle!

LARRY BLUSTEIN
[email protected]

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Lester Jean

Larry..

I went to the Columbus game and No. 22 (Heffernan) made plays all night long. He has speed, strength and is a big time player for a junior. He and Rabasa are very impressive. So is the cornerback (No. 21). Columbus looks for real.

Spot

It looks like a promising here for the Explorers as an alumni i am really pumped about their chances. Their chances not just for football but hopefully bringing two state titles home this year with the just as stacked cross country team.

oldtimecoach49

In big games Kenny Whittaker will be nowhere to be found. HE IS SOFT!!!!!!!

Vidman

Larry,
I played in that Pensacola game for Columbus and knew the quarterback and running backs. Are you sure Shula and Highsmith were there?

Vidman

CA Sports

CA Sports will be sending its' top scout and recruiter Melvin Ferguson down to Dade County for the month of September to see if the Explorers are truly the real deal...Stay tuned

Bob

Nice self promo Melvin.

Interested

Interested to know what your thoughts are about Columbus after the Carol City game. 20 unanswered points in the 2nd half, 7 turnovers, 130+ yards of penalties, and 4 minutes left in the game Carol City was driving with a chance to win. Contenders? Result of a weak Miami-Dade?

Sonatcolumbus

Interested:
It happens. Every once in a while, the team will have a wake up call. But in the end, no one remembers that. This is what counts: Christopher Columbus High School 25, Carol City 20. CCHS 2-0, Carol City 0-2

Mike

Columbus is playing really well, Im impressed with that defense. Number 21 gots to step it up bit, he used to be alright, now he's slowly decreasing steadily. Increase that speed too, i feel like your running a 8 flat. Step it up, and it will get even more interesting.

Tyrone

Columbus sucks!!! Play Northwestern scrubs..

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