« March 2013 | Main | May 2013 »

9 posts from April 2013

April 30, 2013

Weather postpones some softball regional semifinals

            Inclement weather led to the postponement of several regional softball semifinal games Tuesday.

            Region 4-8A: The Palmetto-Coral Reef game was moved to Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at Coral Reef. The American-Goleman was also rescheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Goleman.

            Region 4-6A: The Pembroke Pines Charter- Mater Academy game was moved to Wednesday at Bucky Dent Park at 7 p.m.

            Region 4-4A: The Coral Springs Charter- Monsignor Pace game was moved to noon Wednesday at Pace.

            Region 4-2A: The Westwood Christian-Princeton Christian game was moved to Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Princeton Christian. The Zion Lutheran-Sheridan Hills Christian game was moved to Thursday at Sheridan Hills tentatively at 4 p.m.

April 26, 2013

American Heritage RB Sony Michel chooses Georgia

            Sony Michel said he wanted "something different."

            Michel, Plantation American Heritage's phenom running back, decided Friday the best place to find it was at the University of Georgia.

            Michel, ranked the No. 2 running back in the nation by ESPN, committed to the Bulldogs during a televised announcement on ESPNU broadcast from a studio in Davie.

            Michel had recently said he was considering the University of Miami, as well as Florida, FSU and Notre Dame.

“Georgia was a wonderful place from first day I stepped on campus there I loved it,” Michel said. “Georgia felt like something different and I wanted to experience something different.”

            Michel (6-0, 205 pounds) ran for 1,825 and 18 touchdowns in the eighth grade and last season bounced back strong from a torn ACL that forced him to miss his sophomore year with 1,264 yards and 18 touchdowns.

            Michel helped the Patriots win a district title and advance to the regional playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Michel picked up a red Georgia cap then put it down during the broadcast, but only to replace it with a black Georgia cap, which he then put on. Michel said the Twitter account with his name that recently posted that he was planning “a shocker” on Friday was not actually his.

 “These last few years have been awesome getting the opportunity to do what every kid loves to do,” Michel said. “Georgia was the school I felt most comfortable at and really liked and they’re style of offense was all me.”

            Michel said he was also excited to compete for a place in an already talented backfield with tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, who are each coming off strong freshman seasons.

“Those two running backs gave me the itch to go to Georgia in the first place,” Michel said. “I feel like I can go in and compete. I want to earn my spot because I don’t want anything given to me. I just go out there and compete if I can go out there I feel like my whole mindset is to dominate.”

So. Florida teams get ready for spring football

After numerous camps and combines, 7-on-7 tournaments and conditioning drills, this coming Wednesday will usher in another chapter of south Florida football.

From Deerfield Beach to Florida City, high school teams will spend the month of May showcasing players, working to fill holes and getting ready for a summer that is always productive.

No matter what direction you look at, college coaches will flood the fields in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, hoping to discover the next Teddy Bridgewater or Geno Smith.

Spring football in the state of Florida, especially in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, has been something that college coaches plan months and months ahead for. It is where the future for many schools are realized - during three intense weeks of high level football.

"This is when the college coaches really make their mark down in this region," said Dana Wiley of Prep Films. "There was a time you would see 20-25 programs come down here and set the table for the future. Now, there are almost 100 coaches roaming our talented fields during May."

While colleges need to see what they can add for the upcoming classes, the local high school coaches and players use the time to apply what has been learned and to see what needs to be worked on during the next four months.

Having the opportunity to compete year round has helped some schools continue to stay at a high level. While high school coaches differ on what their players get involved in during the off season, this is the one month they have the entire team together.

"We have a lot of positions to fill before we open the season, so the spring is very important to us," said Cypress Bay head coach Mark Guandolo, who guided his team to the 8A state title game. "When you have to replace an entire offensive backfield, the competition will be interesting."

This is the one month when evaluating is a paramount. With many colleges already securing the Class of 2014, it's the rising juniors (2015) and sophomores (2016) who get the chance to shine as well.

As talented as this 2014 class is in south Florida, perhaps as impressive as anywhere in the country, the athletes behind them are also impressive as well. That will keep schools from all over the country very busy.

With a record six teams taking part in the state championships last season - which produced four winners - it's also time to take a look at what's going on with defending 3A state champion Davie University School, 4A state champion Miami Booker T. Washington, 6A Miami Central and 7A Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas - as well as 2A runner-up Miami Dade Christian and Cypress Bay.

Here is a pre-spring rundown:

2012 RECORD:
13-1. Beat Jacksonville Bolles, 35-7, in the 4A title game.
HEAD COACH: Tim "Ice" Harris
HEADLINERS: Treon Harris, QB, Krondis Larry, RB, Nigel Patten, DB, Chad Thomas, DE and Lamar Parker, WR.
NEWCOMERS: James King, LB, Emilio Gibbs, Carlos Williams, WR and Darrius Scott, WR.
WHAT TO EXPECT: There is little doubt that this is a program that fully expects to be in the state title game at the end of the season, and with four huge transfers, the reality is they will be very tough to dethrone. This is easily one of the nation's elite programs.

2012 RECORD:
12-2. Beat Gainesville, 37-14, in the 6A title game.
HEAD COACH: Roland Smith.
HEADLINERS:Dalvin Cook, RB/S, Joseph Yearby, RB, Trevor Darling, OL, Deatrick Nichols, DB, Raul Diaz, OL, Michael Smith, OL, Rasheed Blatch, LB, Marquis Couch, LB, Tavius Brown and Da'vante Phillips, WR.
NEWCOMERS: Terrell Bonds, DB and Calvin Brewton, DB.
WHAT TO EXPECT: This is perhaps the best offensive team in the state of Florida. With Roland Smith moving in this spring and learning his new players, things should go along smoothly. Defensively, the Rockets are underrated. They are stacked just about everywhere.

2012 RECORD:
12-3. Lost to Apopka, 53-50, in the 8A title game.
HEAD COACH: Mark Guandolo
HEADLINERS: Marquese Dudley-Gordon, S, Deion Hallmon, DB, Justin Rae, DT, Griffin Jossfolk, LB and Gavin Anderson, DB.
NEWCOMERS: There is much expected from incoming ninth grade running back Mike Epstein, who will be ready to go in the summer.
WHAT TO EXPECT: This is still a well coached and talented program, but the lack of experience in a very tough district and region will call for a number of younger prospects to step up. The schedule is once again very tough.

2012 RECORD:
12-1. Lost to Jacksonville University Christian, 28-10, in the 2A state title game.
HEAD COACH: Mike Sonneborn
HEADLINERS: Mariel Steadman, RB, Victor Young, LB, Mike Perra, LB, John Perez OL, John Saintil, DB, Alex Perrera DL and Blake Janvion, DB.
NEWCOMERS: While there are no new transfers, there are some players who figure to make an impact during the spring.
WHAT TO EXPECT: The only Miami-Dade program to finish the regular season unbeaten, this year figures to be tough for a program that lost three D1 players over the past two seasons and has to replace 13 starters. There are some youngsters who are expected to keep this current winning tradition alive.

2012 RECORD:
13-2. Won 7A state title, 41-25, over Tallahassee Lincoln.
HEAD COACH: Rocco Casullo
HEADLINERS: Anthony Moten, DT, Mardre London, RB, Corey Holmes, WR, Alshinard Harris, DB, Ryan Crozier, OL, Nicholas Linder, OL, Deltron Sands, RB (2015) and Nick Bosa DE (2016).
NEWCOMERS: The player who everyone has been talking about is rising senior quarterback Wade Freebeck, who comes in from Western.
WHAT TO EXPECT: With a very challenging schedule - especially in the first three weeks - this is a program that will be tested. But keep in mind, this is one of those teams that has talent and depth at every position, and should be in the mix nationally - again!

2012 RECORD:
12-0. Beat Madison County, 24-17, in the 3A state title game.
HEAD COACH: Roger Harriott
HEADLINERS: Quincy Wilson, DB, Emmanuel Soto, WR, LaJuan Hunt, RB, Andrew Korakakakos, LB, Jordan Scarlett, RB (2015) and Andrew DiRocco, PK.
NEWCOMERS: Richard Yeargin III, OLB and Sean White, QB.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Plenty of holes to fill from last year as the talented Suns move into 4A - where Booker T. Washington will be waiting. The addition of former Chaminade-Madonna standouts Yeargin and White will continue to elevate the team many selected as the best in the area. The schedule is the toughest in the brief history of the program.

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.

April 25, 2013

Elite Scouting Services Combine this Sunday

Two years ago, a little known receiver showed up at the Elite Scouting Services Combine and his career took off.

Not saying that there is an Amari Cooper success story every year, but over the past decade, when it comes to combines/camps, ESS has set a bar that others have tried to emulate, but have fallen way short.

With over 50 years of combine and promotion experience, ESS will host the final event before the start of spring football, and while hundreds are expected to attend, the parents, coaches and players who come out always leave satisfied.

This Saturday, Cardinal Gibbons High in Fort Lauderdale (2900 NE 47 St. 33308) will once again be a place where Class of 2014, 2015 and 2016 athletes have that opportunity to jump on the radar screen.

"There is no mystery to what we do," said Charles Fishbein, President of ESS. "We give everyone an experience. One that will help them and not put them in a negative spotlight."

What ESS can offer that other group that continues to run events in south Florida simply cannot is promotion, exposure and the fact that EVERY player who attends will get their names out for colleges at all levels to see. Elite Scouting Services has numerous clients that receive ALL the information on players who attend.

With every college from D1 to junior college and prep school receiving the results and information, the opportunity to land that important scholarship gets a bit easier for those who attend. It is a way that the ESS people can fully get names to college coaches who will have the chance to evaluate in the spring and into the summer.

"I will not put down any other camp/combine experience, but what we do comes from years and years of doing these things," said Julie Corona of ESS. "It helps us start the recruiting process for some - while we offer alternatives to others."

Corona and Fishbein have built a strong reputation, helping to place athletes in colleges such as Utah State and Hawaii - as well as several smaller schools across the country.

In addition to what Elite Scouting Services offer, parents have the chance to get involved - watching their kids and asking questions along the way - from registration to football competition. From testing to playing football, the parents are huge part of what ESS is all about.

"You go to any other event and they have you stand behind ropes and make you feel like you just do not belong," said Fishbein. "We want our parents to be involved and to know exactly what is happening. That is the reason our events have stayed at the level they are. We do not need to promise them appearances in all-star games or national events. This is about getting names out there."

From a media standpoint, no other event welcomes and boasts more ways that the athletes are exposed. Every fan website is invited along with the Miami Herald, area media, SouthFloridaHighSchoolSports.com and the Friday Night Florida Football Magazine - which is a statewide annual that appears each summer.

Quarterback guru Ken Mastrole will also be on hand with a tremendous group of passers who haves set standards at the position.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. this Sunday. Don't miss out on this event. Register at:
Cick Here

April 22, 2013

SF Express Elite wins IMG7v7 Championship

7V7 Tournament play 298
The IMG7v7 Southeast Regional Championship concluded on Sunday with an all-Miami finale when the South Florida Express Elite faced off against the Florida Fire. The SFE Elite squared off with the Fire earlier in the day, and was sent to the loser’s bracket after suffering a one-point loss, 19-18. However, that would be the last loss on the day for the SFE Elite, who eliminated Team Tampa Too, Team Tampa and the No. 1 seeded Central Florida Top recruits on their way to the championship final, where they would have to defeat the Fire twice to claim the championship.

The Florida Fire rode a 19-game winning streak into the final, but SFE Elite did not flinch, and overcame with the Fire in a defensive struggle in Game 1 by a score of 12-9. In the second game, the Florida Fire was determined to avenge their first loss in three events, but their powerful offense struggled to find the endzone for the second straight game. With only seconds remaining, SFE Elite QB Sean White (University School, Miami, Fla./Class of 2014) stood tall in the pocket and threw a bullet to WR Sam Bruce (University School, Miami, Fla./Class of 2016), nephew of former NFL great Isaac Bruce, for the game winning TD, and the championship, 19-13.

“I just saw Sam Bruce, he’s a stud, beat his man to the outside, and I just threw it and put it there and he made the great catch,” White said of the game winning pass. “[The Florida Fire] were a good team, and it was fun to go against them – they were competitive, and that’s always a fun environment to play in.”

For the SFE Elite, this marked their second consecutive title in the Southeast Regional Championship. Last year, the SFE Elite, led by QB Akeem Jones, overtook Team Tampa for the championship to earn their place in the IMG7v7 National Championships. Once again, SFE Elite will look forward to defending their Regional Championship against the nation’s elite at the National Championships this summer.

“It was just great determination, and these kids wanted it – I thought they were running out of fuel a few games ago, but they took it personally, they’re competitors,” head coach Brett Goetz said of the championship win. “We’re excited to defend our Southeast Championship from last year, and we’re excited to come back her this summer and do it again.”

The South Florida Express Elite came out on top, but they are only one of four teams to qualify for a place in the IMG7v7 National Championships. Joining them will be runners-up Florida Fire, Central Florida Top Recruits and Team Tampa. The IMG7v7 Southeast Regional is the first of six direct qualifiers into the National Championships. The next direct qualifier will take place in Los Angeles, Calif. at the IMG7v7 West Regional, May 4-5.



April 11, 2013

New Central football coach Roland Smith excited about opportunity to return to sidelines

Roland Smith called me back this morning to talk about his new job coaching the defending state champion Miami Central football team.

The Rockets officially hired Smith Wednesday to replace Telly Lockette, who was hired to be the running backs coach at the University of South Florida in March.

Smith returns to coaching high school football in Miami-Dade County after six seasons away. Smith had been teaching at North Miami Middle School.

"I’m very excited for this opportunity and grateful to Miami Central for offering it to me," said Smith in a phone interview Thursday morning. "I’ve got a lot of energy and I’m excited to get back and help these guys try to win another state title and excel on the national level."

Smith guided his alma mater Northwestern to a state championship and a perfect 15-0 season in 2006. Smith was then removed along with the majority of his coaching staff at the time by former Dade schools superintendent Rudy Crew in the wake of the scandal involving former Bulls running back Antwain Easterling.

Smith and his coaches were cleared of all wrongdoing in the matter in the ensuing months.

During his six seasons as Northwestern’s coach, Smith led the Bulls to a 69-13 record (best of any team during that span), a state title, a state runner-up finish in 2001, and state semifinal appearances in 2002 and 2005.

Smith had been rumored to be in the running for a few premier coaching vacancies in recent years, including Northwestern and Booker T. Washington, before they hired their current coaches.

"I didn’t want to rush into just any situation," Smith said. "When Central contacted me I was at the Youth Fair with my son, and I was excited they had me in mind. I told them I needed a little time to think about it. The great thing is I get to coach again with a lot of guys that coached with me in the past and have done an excellent job here [at Central]. I’m so proud and happy to get a chance to coach with them again."

Smith takes over a Central program that ranks among the nation’s best, having won two Class 6A state championships in the past three seasons under Lockette, who guided the Rockets to a 60-10 record in five seasons.

Smith said he was set to meet with his new team Thursday afternoon.

Central has advanced to three consecutive state finals and have not lost to a Dade opponent since 2008.

In hopes of making it three championships in four years, the Rockets will take on a challenging schedule this coming season that includes a trip to New Jersey to take on national powerhouse Don Bosco Prep and games against defending Class 4A state champion Booker T. Washington, Class 3A champion Davie University School, Plantation American Heritage, Norland, Northwestern, Carol City, Homestead and Coral Reef.

'Winky' Flowers makes 2013 7-on-7 debut

If someone told you that south Florida is home to nearly 200 football high level prospects for the upcoming season, it may be hard to believe. 

But if you look at all the players - Class of 2014 through 2016 - you have more football talent than anywhere in the country. In three counties - alone - there will be more signees next February to major schools than any other region in the nation.

Thanks to an off season that has showcased a number of local standouts at camps, combines and 7-on-7 events, offers to some of the best programs in the country are coming daily.

While many of the elite prospects have already been offered, talked about and evaluated, there are a few - who are running track or just doing their own training - that have a chance to be special.

When the South Florida Fire 7-on-7 squad played in Boynton Beach last Saturday - coach Dennis Marroquin's team needed a few players to plug in against competition that came from as far away as Cocoa. When the team arrived at the field, and many saw who the Fire would have throwing for them on this day, there were smiles from those who came to watch, evaluate and play.

Quenton "Winky" Flowers, who many had tried to get on their off season team for two years, officially made his 7-on-7 debut for the year. By the time day had finished and the Fire won the title, there wasn't a player on hand who didn't know who this 6-foot, 200-pounder was.

The 7-on-7 circuit is certainly not new to Flowers. Two years ago, playing with his Jackson squad as a sophomore, he threw for over 1,000 yards in a two-day tournament that eventually landed the Generals in the national championship game in Minnesota, representing the Miami Dolphins.

Flowers, one of those athletic and gifted quarterbacks that everyone has playing defensive back or receiver at the next level, sliced through some of the elite secondary performers - letting people know that this is a quarterback and not just some athlete playing the position.

In a sport that often requires its quarterbacks to be taller and have more polish, Flowers, much like Teddy Bridgewater (Northwestern) before him - relies on instinct and a throwing arm that launches balls 70 plus yards.

"To tell you the truth, if a college doesn't want to give me a legitimate shot at playing quarterback, then I am not their man," Flowers explained. "I have worked too hard and out too much time into playing this position."

Not that Flowers couldn't be one of the best defensive backs, running backs or receivers, but this is someone who loves this position. He was born to move those chains with his arm and feet - and that's what gives him the right to want to give the position a try at the next level.

Surrounded by young and inexperienced players a year ago, Flowers guided the Generals three rounds deep in the playoffs. Not one player did more for his team - statewide - than he did.

The fact that he hadn't been to many off season events - or had a number of recruiting fan websites watch him play, Flowers wasn't rated where many felt he should be. While the offers are coming in slow, the fact that he is now fully on everyone's radar is what will make this year very special.

"I have watched Flowers play since he was in the ninth grade," said Charles Fishbein of Elite Scouting Services. "This is another Anquan Bolden. Someone who dominated as a quarterback/safety in high school, but eventually moved to receiver at FSU. He is that same kind of impact football player." 


We know that the Classes of 2014 and 2015 are loaded with impact performers. Not to fall behind in the talent race, the athletes coming up for 2016 are also going to be very special.

Among those rising sophomores who have already turned heads include quarterbacks Tyler Huntley (Hallandale) and Kato Nelson (Hollywood McArthur), .

Running backs Mehki Ervan (Miami Coral Reef), Corey Lane (Miami Northwestern), Amir Rasul (Miami Christopher Columbus) and Mark Walton (Miami Booker T. Washington) are also impressive. So are receivers Sam Bruce (University School), Kama Barnes (Hialeah Miami Lakes), Khevani Francois (Homestead South Dade), Elbre Gaiter (Miami Westminster Christian), Michael Iamunno, (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas), Dionte Mullins, Miami Gulliver Prep), Dredrick Snelson (Plantation American Heritage) and Darnell Solomon (Hollywood Hills).

Offensive linemen Michael Davis (Homestead South Dade), Rene Rodriguez (South Miami) and Miramar's Maurice Wilson are promising.

Defensively, linemen Nicholas Bosa (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas), Bryce Handy (Miami Christopher Columbus) and Northwestern's Keir Thomas are special. 

Linebackers Shakur Cooper (Coral Gables), Yean Gonzalez (Miami Ferguson), Nick John (Miami Palmetto) and James Sutton (Miami Westminster Christian) are going to be very good. As will be secondary performers Dicaprio Bootle (Miami Killian), Ivan Smith (Miami Christopher Columbus), James Wiggins (Homestead South Dade) and Cedrick Wright (Homestead).

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.


April 09, 2013

Blanche Ely basketball coach Melvin Randall named Coach of the Year

Blanche Ely boys’ basketball coach Melvin Randall was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Association’s Florida Coach of the Year Tuesday.

Randall led the Tigers to their second consecutive state championship, third during his tenure and fourth in the program’s history this past season. Ely went 27-1 earned a national ranking and recently participated in ESPN’s National High School Invitational.

Randall is the second Broward coach to earn the award joining former Ely coach Wade Edmond (1996).

Miami Dolphins Host HSPD Leadership Program

MIAMI GARDENS - The Miami Dolphins hosted the NFL’s HSPD (High School Player Development) Leadership Program presented by the National Guard at Sun Life Stadium this past weekend. The two-day event featured select high school athletes from around South Florida who participated in classroom, community and the leadership competitions as part of the program.


The classroom portion was led by the NFL’s Player Engagement Department and consisted of character development and life skills training. NFL ambassadors Donovin Darius and Pete Mitchell spoke to the athletes about the importance of having an education to fall back on and making choices that will have a positive impact on their future. 

“One of the most important components to success in life is experience, knowledge and the ability to have a mentor. We want to help the next generation to make better decisions,” Darius, who is an NFL Transition Coach, said. “Hopefully, this makes a tremendous impact because we’re hoping to put more information into their understanding and to give them something else to consider when making decisions.”

The community portion of the program allowed the students to give back by volunteering their time at a local children’s home called His House. The students, in conjunction with the Miami Dolphins Special Teams Department Driven by Chevy, painted the building, cleaned up the outside area and sorted through donations.

The final facet of the program was the leadership competition, which had students participate in a variety of team building and leadership activities.

“The HSPD program is an excellent time for students to learn and understand that education is the most important thing,” Youth Programs Director Twan Russell said. “I think between helping out in the community and hearing from former pros the importance of school, this program makes a true impact on them.”


The inaugural HSPD Leadership Program was held in four cities during the summer of 2012. The mission of HSPD is to provide high school football players with an opportunity to enhance their leadership skills through participation in interactive character building, community service activity and competitive activities.