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24 posts from December 2011

December 05, 2011

Joe Pinkos Forecast - Week 15

Florida High School Football

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 9, 2011
CLASS 1A (State Final)

Jefferson County 14 over Chipley

CLASS 2A (State Final)
North Florida Christian 17 over Admiral Farragut

CLASS 8A (State Semifinals)

Plant 16 over Fletcher

Miramar 10 over Columbus

CLASS 7A (State Semifinals)

First Coast 10 over Lakeland

Manatee 6 over William T. Dwyer

CLASS 6A (State Semifinals)

Armwood 4 over Bartram Trail

Miami Central 1 over Mainland

CLASS 5A (State Semifinals)

Pasco 7 over Wakulla

Palmetto 1 over Norland

Saturday, December 10, 2011
CLASS 3A (State Final)

Madison County 6 over American Heritage-Delray

CLASS 4A (State Final)
Booker T. Washington 10 over Bolles

Last week, we correctly picked 21 of 24 playoff game winners to top all published forecasts. The third round of the playoffs has been especially favorable to us, allowing our forecast to correctly select 43 of 48 winners for the 2010 and current season combined.

Season Records (through Week 14)
Pinkos 2,304-551, 80.7%
Laz Index 2,207-573, 79.4%
Freeman Ratings (Maxpreps/Calpreps) 1,977-525, 79.0%
Massey Ratings 2,149-587, 78.5%

Season to-date, when picks differed, our selections have beat the Massey Ratings 180 of 301 times; we’ve topped the Laz Index 166 of 293 times for contests where forecasts differed; and bested the Freeman Ratings in 153 of 269 games.

Last Week
Pinkos 21-3, 87.5%
Freeman Ratings (Maxpreps/Calpreps) 19-5, 79.2%
Laz Index 18-6, 75.0%
Massey Ratings 18-6, 75.0%

Pinkos 136-32, 81.0%
Laz Index 129-39, 76.8%
Massey Ratings 127-41, 75.6%
Freeman Ratings (Maxpreps/Calpreps) 127-41, 75.6%

December 02, 2011

A family affair for B.T. Washington football

It was the perfect setting for a comeback. A low-key coach makes his return to the school he built into a power in the spring at Blanche Ely High - in Pompano Beach.

While much of the attention was being paid to the Tigers refurbished stadium and press box facility, Tim "Ice" Harris, Sr. made his return to the high school sidelines. His Booker T. Washington team ran up and down the field like he had never left. The Tornadoes destroyed the Tigers!

After spending a few years as an assistant to longtime friend, Randy Shannon, at the University of Miami, Harris had a rare opportunity. To watch your son, a potential NFL defensive back, from inches away during his career, was something that Harris was blessed to do.

In Brandon Harris, he had one of the cornerstones of Booker T. Washington's race toward the elite in a state, and the nation. It was Brandon who was highlighted on ESPN when he went toe-to-toe against A.J. Green and his Summerville, S.C. team.

His position at the University of Miami, while not directly football related, was as a community position, where his decades of popularity certainly helped him spread the word of the Hurricanes, a program that is near and dear to his heart.

The opportunity to come back to be the head coach was one that was a mere formality. That throne belongs to the man who built the castle. The same man that cherishes his assistant coaches like no other I have been around. The same well-respected person who has spent decades of coaching football and molding character.

When he took over for Earl Tillman during the spring, it wasn't a cut or slight on coach Tillman, who kept the Tornadoes relevant the past few years, but it was what this group of longtime assistants are all about. They have all been like one family. There are at least five coaches on the staff who could be head coaches at any other school.

One of those gifted teachers is perhaps the biggest rising young stars among coaches in South Florida. Someone who has been around the game all of his life, and from his years of running high level track at the University of Miami, is disciplined in all phases.

Tim "Ice" Harris, Jr. has served as the offensive coordinator the past three seasons, learning and gaining valuable experience. He has taken everything from so many coaches - including his father - and have applied them, and with a very young team, has show that the future is indeed bright for this program.

Heading into Friday's night's South Region final against three-time defending state champion Cocoa, this is a BTW squad that is loaded with young and gifted prospects. Many of the younger players were part of the Overtown youth national championship squad two seasons ago.

While there are a group of seniors who have been stepping it up this season, it's those younger players who were raw last year, that are starting to mature and live up to that potential.

That prospect rich team figures to give the Tornadoes national recognition for years to come with state-rated junior outside linebacker/defensive end/safety Matthew Thomas leading the way.

Thomas is a potential 25 sack performer. His speed and athleticism blows everyone away.

In addition, the junior class also boasts lineman Denver Kirkland, a 6-5, 280-pounder who is already a three-year starter, defensive back Michael Johnson (the next great one), running backs D'Von Ballard and Kevin Ferguson, and receivers Lamar Parker and Nicholas Norris.

The Class of 2014 (sophomores) have also lifted this program with quarterback Treon Harris leading the way as a passer or a runner. Much the way he did when he led the Overtown Rattlers to the Pop Warner national crown. Harris is elusive and extremely talented.

The talent also runs deep with speedy running back Krondis Larry, defensive end Chad Thomas and so many others who emerged during the season, and into the playoffs.

This year’s Miami-Dade/Broward All-Star game that has taking place for 17 years has been kicked up a little this year with the new Nike Miami-Dade vs. South Florida All-Star Game, which will be played on Friday night, Dec. 23rd at Traz Powell Stadium (7:30).

Booker T. Washington coach Tim “Ice” Harris will head up the Dade squad, and former University of Miami standout running back, Donnell Bennett of Northeast, will lead the South Florida team, which is made up of players from Broward, Palm Beach, Martin County and the Treasure Coast.

The athletic level of this year’s game has risen tremendously as athletes from football powerhouse such as Glades Central, Jupiter Christian, Palm Beach Gardens, Pahokee will compete against athletes from all over Miami-Dade.

The Miami-Dade roster is stacked with talent including Miami Northwestern quarterback E.J. Hilliard (FIU) and his receiver Amari Cooper (Alabama), who are joined by teammates Elston Lane (WR), West Virginia bound defensive lineman Imarjaye Albury, defensive end Eric Kinsey and linebacker Billy Rolle III.

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. All you have to do is send a DVD and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein, P.O. Box 3181, Hallandale Beach, Fl. 33009.

Have a comment? E-mail floridakids1@aol.com. Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.

December 01, 2011

Meet the offensive line that powers the locomotive at Norland known as Duke Johnson

Norland center Hunter Clark said the best thing about blocking for All-American Duke Johnson is that often times he doesn't need much more than "a little bit of space" before "he'll do the rest."

IMG-20111130-00173Vikings coach Daryle Heidelburg, though, believes his offensive line deserves a little more credit than that and says much of the success of the team's high-scoring offense is owed to his big guys. Who are they? From left to right: 6-6, 300-pound left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Alex McIntosh (6-1, 270, Sr.), Clark (6-2, 265, Sr.), right guard Joshua Mincey (6-0, 260, Jr.) and right tackle Clifford Delva (6-2, 235, Jr.).

"Everybody points to Duke and [receiver] Darren Owi, but these guys are the reason our offense is good," Heidelburg said. "They allow us to simplify a lot of things. They're smart guys. It doesn't take long for them to get it when somebody tries to confuse us with a different look on defense. They can make adjustments. Teams try a lot of things to try and stop Duke and the running game. They make the adjustments."

This week against No. 1-ranked Glades Central (12-0) Heidelburg said he's going need his offensive line to be on top of their game.

Glades Central has one of the stingiest defenses in the state. How stingy? Outside of a high-scoring 41-34 win over Class 3A state semifinalist Delray American Heritage, the Raiders have given up 40 combined points in their other 11 games. They've shutout five of the last seven opponents they've faced -- including Fort Lauderdale Dillard 31-0. In last week's 35-0 win at Merritt Island, Glades Central's defense allowed just 104 yards total offense and produced two interceptions.

"No doubt they're a pretty good defense," Clark said. "They wouldn't be if they weren't 12-0. We know they're aggressive. But we have our own game plan. We feel like we'll come out on top. They have a personality that is very intimidating. But we're not intimidated."

The Vikings offense has hardly been intimidated this season. They're averaging 41 points a game this season -- 52.6 over their last five wins, four of which came against playoff teams.

Heideburg said it's going to be up to his offensive line to open holes for Johnson (1,352 yards rushing on 134 att., 18 TDs) and protect quarterback Tony Thomas (62-120, 935 yards, 15 TDs, 3 INTs) against a blazing fast and pressure-oriented Raiders defense that reminds him of Miami Northwestern.

"I'm looking forward to it," said McIntosh, the strongest lineman on the team (he benches 375 pounds and squats 555 pounds). "When people blitz that means I get to do a lot of hitting."

Of course beating Glades Central in the Muck won't be easy. Glades Central, a six-time state championship program, might as well have a sign posted up somewhere near Effie Grear Stadium that reads: Where opponents' dream seasons come to die. Since 1997, the Raiders have gone 30-1 at home in the playoffs.

The only team to beat them during the span was 2001 state champion Rockledge, who pulled off a 21-14 win. The Raiders are 15-0 all-time in the post-season at home against teams from Dade or Broward. Belen, Chaminade, Pace, Hallandale, Cardinal Gibbons and St. Thomas Aquinas are all among Glades Central's victims.

"That's a pretty interesting stat," said Vikings offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, a University of Miami commitment. "But I don't think any of us are really scared."

Heidelburg said the unit has started every game together this season and boasts a collective GPA of 3.5.

McIntosh and Mincey, whose sister Donesha is the team's trainer, are the only two returning starters from last year's state runner-up team. Clark, who owns a 4.0 GPA and has offers from Ivy League schools, is a transfer from Killian. Delva is a first-year starter with a 3.3 GPA. Flowers, who was at Krop last year, is the bona fide Division I prospect.

"We're not scared," Delva said. "It's just another game in the playoffs. You have to face somebody. I heard the Muck is a very rowdy place, fans get rowdy. We'll be prepared."

Tracy Howard a finalist for U.S. Army POY

San Antonio, Texas – The U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Committee has narrowed down its list of nominees to six finalists for the prestigious 2012 U.S. Army Player of the Year Award, including: wide receiver Stefon Diggs (Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Olney, Md.); wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (Hillcrest High School, Springfield, Mo.); defensive back Army US All-Stars1
Tracy Howard (Miramar High School, Miramar, Fla.); offensive lineman D.J. Humphries (Mallard Creek High School, Charlotte, N.C.); defensive back Shaq Thompson (Grant High School, Sacramento, Calif.); and defensive back T.J. Yeldon (Daphne High School, Daphne, Ala.). The U.S. Army Player of the Year Award is given to the Nation’s most outstanding senior in high school football participating in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The U.S. Army Player of the Year will be crowned during the U.S. Army Awards Dinner on Friday, January 6, 2012, in San Antonio. The winner will be presented with the Ken Hall Trophy, modeled after Ken “Sugar Land Express” Hall, high school football’s all-time leading rusher.

“These players possess leadership, dedication and strengths similar to Army Strong Soldiers, being named a finalist for this award only underscores their talents,” said John Myers, Director of Strategic Communications, Marketing and Outreach, U.S. Army Accessions Command. “These players are outstanding athletes. We congratulate them on their nomination and are proud to have them wear the Army colors.”

Tracy Howard has a complete array of skills for a shutdown defensive back. He enters this weekend’s playoff game with six interceptions on the season, one returned for a touchdown. Howard has the size and speed needed to battle receivers at the line and to stay with them while running downfield. He plays with a physical style and likes to jam receivers at the line. Howard shows great recovery speed and footwork, which allows him to turn and run with wide outs. He reads offenses well and gets good jumps to close down space. Howard shows he can tackle on the edges and he can make plays in the open field. Howard has not decided on which college to attend.

The selection process began this fall as players were evaluated by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Committee and by coaches from across the country. Past U.S. Army Player of the Year Award winners include: 2001 - Kevin Jones; 2002 - Lorenzo Booker; 2003 - Chris Leak; 2004 - Adrian Peterson; 2005 - Ryan Perrilloux; 2006 - Mitch Mustain; 2007 - Jimmy Clausen; 2008 - Terrelle Pryor; 2009 - Bryce Brown; 2010 - Dillon Baxter; and 2011 – Demetrius Hart.

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.