This is it. The final week of the 2011 high school football season, and the Maroone High School Gridiron Report will bring you up close with the newsmakers on the way to Orlando for the state championships.
Joining Larry Blustein on Wednesday night from 8-9 on WQAM (560 AM) will be Norland offensive lineman Ereck Flowers, Miramar head coach Damon Cogdell and Miami Central head coach Telly Lockette.
THE BIG MAN UP FRONT
Headed to the University of Miami, Flowers has emerged as one of Florida's top line prospects, leading the No. 1 Vikings to the state title game for the second straight year.
The 6-6, 300-pounder has helped to open holes for a tremendous running game as well as providing the passing game with plenty of protection.
While many had never heard of this impressive prospect at the start of the year, there is little doubt that this is a player that every school is still looking at - despite his commitment to the Hurricanes!
FINISHING OFF THE SEASON IN STYLE
When the 2011 season began, many were not talking much about Miramar's chances of making it back to Orlando and a state championship appearance. But things have certainly changed.
From a kickoff classic win against Norland to a huge upset over national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas has put the Patriots in a spotlight. A spotlight that has given them plenty of national recognition.
As the Patriots get set to take on Tampa Plant on Saturday night in the 8A finale, Cogdell and his team have worked hard to get better and show that they indeed belong.
CHALLENGING SCHEDULE PAID OFF
There is not a team in the state of Florida, or perhaps the entire country that played a schedule like Lockette and the Rockets.
Undefeated in 13 games, this team played eight teams that made the playoffs, including 4A state runner-up Booker T. Washington, Cocoa, Cincinnati Elder, Northwestern, Columbus and Belen Jesuit twice.
While many felt that this team, which had to replace 14 starters from last year, would never make it back to Orlando to have the chance to defend its 6A state title, Lockette and his staff found a way to use younger, talented athletes and a strong defense to get a shot at Armwood.
EXCITING YOUTH FOOTBALL MATCHUPS
All season long, Jonah Woullard from Generation Nexxt has been taking us through the youth football season, and now, with the ultimate championships coming up this weekend at Ansin Park in Miramar, there is plenty to be excited about.
You can listen to the radio show streaming live at www.wqam.com - or archived at http://sfhighschoolsports.com/
Florida High School Football
PLAYOFF FORECAST-Week 16
Joe Pinkos’ Power Ratings are calculated by a formula based on strength of opposition and margin of victory with greater weight given to recent games. The forecasted margin of victory for each game is determined by subtracting the power rating of the lower-rated team from the power rating of its higher-rated opponent.
Friday, December 16, 2011
CLASS 5A (State Final)
Norland 24 over Wakulla
CLASS 7A (State Final)
Manatee 14 over First Coast
Saturday, December 17, 2011
CLASS 6A (State Final)
Miami Central 3 over Armwood
CLASS 8A (State Final)
Miramar 1 over Plant
Season Records (through Week 15)
Pinkos 2,312-555, 80.6%
Laz Index 2,216-576, 79.4%
Freeman Ratings (Maxpreps/Calpreps) 1,986-528, 79.0%
Massey Ratings 2,158-590, 78.5%
Season to-date, when picks differed, our selections have beat the Massey Ratings 180 of 302 times; we’ve topped the Laz Index 166 of 294 times for contests where forecasts differed; and bested the Freeman Ratings in 153 of 270 games.
Pinkos 144-36, 80.0%
Laz Index 138-42, 76.7%
Massey Ratings 136-44, 75.6%
Freeman Ratings (Maxpreps/Calpreps) 136-44, 75.6%
Look for our 2011 final Florida’s Power 25 rankings to be posted following Saturday night’s Class 8A state championship game.
ORLANDO - The 4A Florida state football championship between Miami Booker T. Washington and Jacksonville Bolles is over, and a solid fourth quarter by the Bulldogs have beaten the Tornadoes, 33-25 at the Citrus Bowl. The Bulldogs got on the board first on a 35-yard field goal by Brooks Abbott. But the Tornadoes came right back using a 3 yard pass play from sophomore Treon Harris to Dvon Ballard. Bolles regained the lead when D.J. Stewart took over from the one with 9:47 left in the first half. The Tornadoes grabbed the lead back on a 19-yard field goal. The lead was extended to 17-9 when Harris ran it in from the 10. Bolles kept the pressure on and cut the lead back to 17-12 when Abbott connected from 40 yards. The Tornadoes extended the lead to 25-12 on a 5-yard run by Harris and a two-point conversion from Harris to Larry Mathis. But then it was all Bolles. Milton Revell's 4-yard run made it 25-19, Tim Betros had a 5-yard run to give Bolles a 26-25 advantage. Then, the back-breaker for Booker T. Washington came when they fumbled in the endzone and Cody Boswell recovered and a 33-25 lead. Jacksonville Bolles 3- 9 - 0 -21 - 33 Booker T. Washington 7 - 10 - 8 - 0 --25 JB - Brooks Abbott 35 field goal, 3-0. BT - Dvon Ballard 3 pass from Treon Harris (Milton Salgado kick), 7-3 JB - D.J. Stewart 1 run (kick failed), 9-7 BT - Milton Salgado 19 fg, 10-9 BT - Treon Harris 10 run (Milton Salgado kick), 17-9 JB - Brooks Abbott 40 fg, 17-12 BT - Treon Harris 5 run (Larry Mathis from Treon Harris), 25-12 JB - Milton Revell 4 run (Brooks Abbott kick), 25-19 JB - Tim Betros 5 run (Brooks Abbott kick), 26-25 JB - Cody Boswell 1 fumble return (Brooks Abbott kick), 33-25 A- 2,075
VIDEO: Norland's Duke Johnson after rushing for 375 yards, 3 TDs in Friday's state semifinal win at Palmetto
PALMETTO -- 27 carries, 375 yards, 3 TDs and a trip back to the Citrus Bowl. Duke Johnson earned all that Friday in a 35-27, Class 5A state semifinal win on the road at Palmetto High.
Norland trailed 20-0 midway through the second quarter before Johnson got going. He finished with six carries for over 25 yards -- 49 yards, 67 yards (TD), 32 yards (TD), 71 yards (TD), 25 yards and 33 yards. He had 98 yards on his other 21 touches.
Johnson said after the game he had Frank Gore's county record 419 yards in mind. He finished 44 yards shy of tying the record.
Here's his postgame interview with The Miami Herald.
Here's what Norland coach Daryle Heidelburg said after the game.
ORLANDO - The first ever Rural 1A Florida State championship game between Jefferson County and Chipley is over from the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Jefferson County wins, 47-13.
Jefferson County got on the board first with 11:00 left in the first half when Revonte Robinson took it in from 6 yards out for a 7-0 lead.
Chipley tied the game at 7 with 5:15 left in the first half when Kobe McCrary took it in from the 3.
Jefferson County extended the lead to 14-7 when Alphonso Footman took the ball in from the 13 with 8:05 left in the third quarter.
Jefferson County exttended the lead to 21-7 on a 22 yard run by Lenorris Footman with 4:18 left, and then made it 27-7 with 3:51 left on a 31 pass from Lenorris Footman to Ladarian Smiley.
Smiley and Lanorris Footman were at it again with 9:19 left in the game when they hooked up from 41 yards and a 40-7 advantage.
Alphonso Footman scored his second TD of the game with 3:05 left in the game on a 20-yard run and a 47-7 advantage.
Chipley got on the board with :18 left in the game on a run by Ryan McIntyre.
Jefferson County 0 - 7 - 26 - 24 - 47
Chipley 0 - 7 - 0 - 6 - 13
JC - Revonte Robinson 6 run (Lenorris Footman kick), 7-0
C - Kobe McCray 3 run (Fletcher Dilmore kick), 7-7
JC - Alphonso Footman 13 run (Lenorris Footman kick), 14-7
JC - Lenorris Footman 22 run (Lenorris Footman kick), 21-7
JC - Ladarian Smiley 31 pass from Lenorris Smiley (kick failed), 27-7
JC - Ladarian Smiley 72 punt return (kick failed), 33-7
JC - Ladarian Smiley 41 pass from Lenorris Smiley (Lenorris Footman kick), 40-7
JC - Alphonso Footman 20 run (Lenorris Footman kick), 47-7
C - Ryan McIntyre 10 run (run failed), 47-13
GRIDIRON REPORT: Norland, Central, Booker T., Columbus highlights, plus state 8A, 6A, 5A semifinal and 4A final previews
As things heat up and teams look for that last week magic that will send them to the state football championships in Orlando, the Maroone High School Gridiron Report will be there to bring you up close with the newsmakers.
Joining Larry Blustein on this Wednesday night's (8-9) show on WQAM (560 AM) will be Miami Christopher Columbus head coach Chris Merritt, Miramar defensive back Tracy Howard and Norland running back Randy "Duke" Johnson.
EXPLORERS GETTING CLOSER
It's been almost 30 years since Columbus has reached that state title game, and while many years of frustration has been built up in southern Miami-Dade County, things could be eased quite a bit with a win at FIU on Friday night against unbeaten and nationally-rated Miramar.
Columbus boasts a solid running game and a defense that has stood up to the test against programs such as Northwestern, Central, Belen Jesuit and Southridge. Coach Merritt realizes that this game will be one of the toughest his team has played this season!
A DIFFERENCE MAKER
There is little doubt that Howard is the best cover-cornerback in the country. But it's not just what he does in the secondary that makes this elite athlete special.
If you check back to any big game this team has played this season - against St. Thomas, Flanagan, South Plantation, Cypress Bay twice and last week's win over Palm Beach Gardens, it's been a punt return, an interception or huge play by Howard that has swung the outcome of the game.
Howard was a starting cornerback for a Patriot team that won the 6A state title two years ago as a sophomore!
THE DUKE OF DADE COUNTY
Over the past three years, there has not been a more electrifying player in the state than Johnson, who simply takes over any contest he is a part of - regardless of the competition. Like last week against Glades Central!
This one-time youth football phenom has elevated his play to the point where he has more than earned the No. 1 player in the state of Florida. An honor that this University of Miami commit knows that will mean little if the unbeaten Vikings do not win at Palmetto (Bradenton) this week and make a return trip to Orlando next week!
KEEPING UP WITH THE YOUTH PLAYOFFS
As he does every week, Jonah Woullard from Generation Nexxt will join the program to spotlight the players and teams in youth football across South Florida.
Last week's South Florida Youth Football League Super Bowl was one of the huge events going on.
If you miss the show on www.wqam.com, you can catch all the interviews that will be archived on http://sfhighschoolsports.com/
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Committee has announced the five finalists for the 2012 Russell Athletic National Coach of the Year Award: Bob Beatty from Trinity High School, Louisville, Ky.; Damon Cogdell from Miramar High School, Miramar.
In addiiton, Bob Milloy from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Olney, Md.; Jess Simpson from Buford High School, Buford, Ga.; and Greg Toal from Don Bosco Preparatory High School, Ramsey, N.J. The Russell Athletic National Coach of the Year will be announced during the U.S. Army All-American Awards Dinner on Friday, January 6, 2012, in San Antonio. The award honors the Nation’s top high school football coach, recognizing exceptional coaching abilities and leadership skills, as well as acknowledging his role as a positive influence to young Americans, on and off the field.
“Leadership is one of the most important characteristics for success,” said John Myers, Director of Strategic Communications, Marketing and Outreach, U.S. Army Accessions Command. “These distinguished coaches possess great leadership strengths, mirroring those forged in each Army Strong Soldier. Their leadership extends beyond the field, molding young people not only into great football players, but also great citizens. We’re proud to recognize these coaches and congratulate them on this honor.”
For more than a decade, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl has been the Nation’s premier high school football game, serving as the preeminent launching pad for America’s future college and NFL stars. Adrian Peterson, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Lattimore, and Andrew Luck all made their national debuts as U.S. Army All-Americans. The 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl drew a crowd of nearly 38,000 to the Alamodome, and was the most-watched sporting event on television over the weekend, excluding the NFL playoffs.
For more information on the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and its related events visit www.usarmyallamericanbowl.com and www.goarmy.com/events/aab or the official Facebook and Twitter pages located at http://www.facebook.com/USArmyAllAmericanBowl and www.twitter.com/armyallamerican.