After watching eight teams in the first week of the 2008 Florida high school state playoffs at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, the Miami Herald, www.elitescoutingservices.com and Floridafb.com have come up with the top 8 teams and the players who made an impact in this impressive event.
Having the ability to promote athletes across the state and follow teams throughout the year has given us the opportunity to judge and evaluate players to better help the fans and college coaches.
1. Jacksonville Bolles
3. Ocala Trinity Catholic
4. Tallahasssee North Florida Christian
5. Jupiter Christian
6. Fort Meade
7. Miami Gulliver Prep
8. South Daytona Beach Warner Christian
QB – Clint Trickett, Tallahassee North Florida Christian: A year ago Trickett came up short in NFC's quest to win a state title. He saw Delray American Heritage kick a winning field goal in the closing seconds to win the game. Trickett finished the 1A title game 10-20 for 104 yards. He also rushed for 70 yards on 12 carries. Late in the game we overheard Clint say to his teammate this is a state championship drive. He showed his leadership by taking the team down the field and putting the ball in the end-zone.
QB – Marshyl Rothman, Jupiter Christian: Rothman helped lead Jupiter Christian to their second straight 1B state championship. He had 138 yards rushing and another 71 yards through the air. He accounted for three of the Jupiter Christian touchdowns. Tremendous leadership skills for this gifted junior.
RB – Stephen Barnett, Jacksonville Bolles: Barnett rushed for over 134 yards on 17 carries. He also scored two touchdowns. The Tulane University-bound senior was very difficult for the Gulliver Prep defense to stop.
RB – Vincent Smith, Pahokee: On his way to the University of Michigan, Smith finished the game with 128 yards rushing. He also contributed another 39 yards in kick off returns. He was one of the main reasons why Pahokee pulled out the win over Trinity Catholic, winning a fifth 2B title in six years.
WR – Kadron Boone, Ocala Trinity Catholic: Injured as a sophomore, this gifted athlete had a tremendous junior year, and in the 2B title game, he had a 100-yard, 1-touchdown performance and established himself as one of the elite players for the Class of 2010.
WR – Jay Herndon- Jacksonville Bolles: Yet another top prospect for the Class of 2010, which may be Florida's best ever, Herndon had three touchdowns in the state finals and showed just why many in the region have been talking him up all year!
TE – Rafael Ciafardini, Ocala Trinity Catholic: This gifted sophomore, who had a key touchdown reception from Purdue-bound quarterback Rob Henry in the title game, will be a prospect to follow over the next few years for the Celtics.
OL – Brent Benedict, Jacksonville Bolles: One of the main reasons why the Bulldogs had so much success on offense was the success and talent up front. Another Class of 2010 prospect, watch this quality football talent rise nationally!
OL – Donald Hester, Pahokee: Having watched this quality football talent over the past two years, there 's a reason why the Blue Devils control the line of scrimmage against nearly every opponent.
OL – Antonio Ford, Pahokee: As he has done all season, Ford played both ways in the state title game and never came off the field. He is one of the top athletes on a Pahokee football team that should make a solid run at title No. 6 in 2009.
OL – Mason Johnston, Jacksonville Bolles: While this impressive athlete lined up mostly at tight end, he was one of the best blockers for a program that established itself as one of the best in the state.
OL – Doral Willis, Pahokee: Yet another football talent we have had on the radar for two years, he joins his quality teammates as a standout from the first weekend of the 2009 Florida high school state championships.
ATHLETE – Will Powers, Jupiter Christian: After 136 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns – plus 8 tackles and 1 for loss, this is a junior who finally received the recognition as one of the top all-around players in the state. Could be the 1B Player of the Year!
ATHLETE – De’Joshua Johnson, Pahokee: At the start of the year, he was viewed as one of the best prospects on the team as a receiver. By the time the Blue Devils captured a record fifth 2B state title in six years, many felt this versatile athlete ran the offense quite well from his quarterback position.
KICKER – Freddie Cortez, Ft. Meade: Has emerged into one of the top, young kickers with great range and solid kickoffs.
Chandler Carr, Jacksonville Bolles: Carr was only 3-6 passing the football but he made those completions count with all three going for touchdowns.
Dexter Holmes, WR, Pahokee: Quality athlete who stepped up in the 2B title game and came up with several key plays for the Blue Devils.
Kedric Rhodes, RB, Ocala Trinity Catholic: 83 yards rushing another 54 yards on returns made Rhodes one of the better players from this past weekend.
Aaron Powell, PK, Tallahassee North Florida Christian: Was equally as impressive with a strong leg and the knack of coming up with the huge kick to eventually win the 1A title.
DL – David Leopard, Ocala Trinity Catholic: Ten tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss and 1 forced fumble. Those type of stats are quite impressive in any game. This could easily have been the defensive MVP of the 2B state title game.
DL – Brandon Hawthorne, Pahokee: Another University of Michigan commitment, he is often overlooked, but continues to come up huge in big games. He finished with 7.5 tackles and four of them were behind the line of scrimmage.
DL – Jimmy Office, Ft Meade: Coach Mike Hayde has been talking this quality junior up since the start of the season, and in the 1A title game, he certainly didn't disappoint. Whether it was on the line or as a fullback, he was in control throughout the game.
DL – Aaron Riley, Jacksonville Bolles: While the offense put the heat on Gulliver all night long, the defense, with this quality talent making plays, finished with 5 tackles, 3 for loss and 2 sacks. Riley was easily one of the best players on Bolles defense.
LB – Cody Ledford, Tallahassee North Florida Christian: Also headed to Tulane next fall, Ledford was one of the MVPs for the Eagles on both sides of the ball. He had 2 tackles and 1 for loss. On offense, he rushed ten times for 56 yards. He also chipped in with a touchdown.
LB – Chase Griffiths, Tallahssee North Florida Christian: Yet another playmaker who helped to shut down a very impressive Fort Meade squad. Was all over the field!
LB – Eddie General, Ocala Trinity Catholic: Keeping to the playmaker theme of the first weekend, this gifted athlete came up with 8 tackles and one behind the line of scrimmage. He was very active all game long.
DB – Artice Kellum, Miami Gulliver Prep: Was there a more dominating defensive football player in the first weekend? Ten tackles 1 interception return for a touchdown, multiple crushing hits. Kellum was all over the field. He also chipped in with a tackle for loss and a quarterback sack. He has committed to Mississippi, but after such an impressive game, he will hear from more schools!
DB – Dionte Ponder, Ocala Trinity Catholic: After a 9-tackle performance, which included one behind the line of scrimmage, here was one of the better defensive backs in the first weekend.
DB – Breon Allen, South Daytona Beach Warner Christian: While Warner did not have a lot to cheer about in the 1B state finals, Allen played a tremendous game on both sides of the ball. He had 8 tackles and over 128 all-purpose yards.
DB – Desmond Cooper, Jacksonville Bolles: Finishing with 4 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception and two pass break ups, he began to set himself apart from the pack in the 2A title game.
PUNTER – Conner Vernon, Miami Gulliver Prep: While he did have 6 receptions in the loss, this Duke University commitment made his biggest contribution as a punter, averaging 37.8 on 6 punts – 2 punts dropped inside the 20 yard line.
Brandon Fulse, DE/OL, Ft Meade: Two-way standout, who had 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and a sack.
Keith Carter, NT/FB, Tallahassee North Florida Christian: Big time football player who has proven that he can get it done on both sides of the ball.
Lance Mason, DL, Ft Meade: Eight tackles, 1 sack and 3 tackles for loss.
Tamorris Grace, DE/RB, Ft Meade: Had 9 tackles, 1 sack and 4 tackles for loss.
Carlos Lammons, LB, Pahokee: This three-year starter finished with 4 tackles, 1 sack and 2 tackles for loss.
Matt Dobson, DB, North Florida Christian: This former Aucilla Christian quarterback established himself as a player to watch for in the Classs of 2012. He finished with 3 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Jorge Sanz, LB, Miami Gulliver Prep: Came up with some impressive plays, including 10 tackles for the night.
Taylor Betros, LB, Jacksonville Bolles: Already following in his older brother's (Scott at Wake Forest) footsteps with a huge game, including 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss.
NEXT WEEK: It's the big boys, and we'll have all the action from the 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A state title games.