When the Southeastern Football Conference was first talked about four years ago, one of the main concerns from coaches and parents was the recruiting exposure the "independent" league would receive.
Because there had been so much emphasis put on teams who compete for a chance to get to the state championships, it was felt that while the league was designed to have the programs in south Florida compete on a level playing field, they would compromise by getting less college exposure, and in the process, lose out on that valuable chance to be recruited.
While low exposure was evident the first two years of operation, this year changed everything as the 12 teams who competed in the league produced several quality football players as well as fielding teams that were in the spotlight from the start of the season until the Nov. 15 championship game at FAU.
The title game - which featured unbeaten Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian and Coral Springs Charger not only attracted attention from nearly 6,000 fans who attended the championship game, but also college coaches from across the country who wanted to see film and get information on players.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for the smaller schools in south Florida to compete on a level playing field while producing college prospects," said Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy head coach Jake Sorg. "The games were competitive and every team in the conference had some quality talent on the roster."
While the league was designed to make the entire season interesting and keep nearly every team in the hunt for a playoff spot, it was also a chance for some players who sat the bench at larger schools to see extensive playing time at Norther Division schools such s West Palm Beach The King's Academy, Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest, N. Palm Beach Benjamin School and Boca Raton Pope John Paul. Add in Coral Springs Charter and unbeaten champion Calvary Christian, and you had talented prospects as well as elite coach like former collegiate coach and coordinator Kirk Hoza, who has elevated Calvary to a level where the Eagles do more than compete.
"We have our share of outstanding young men on this team," Hoza shared. "They are not only quality young men, but very good athletes."
Calvary boasts Defensive Player of Year Tristan Peyton, a 6-2, 215-pound linebacker as well as fellow seniors in receiver/defensive back Parker Collins, lineman Vas Furman and defensive back Rod Sylvester. The Eagles also boast standout junior lineman Storm Sims (son of former Miami Dolphins Keith Sims) and one of the most talented sophomore quarterbacks in south Florida in Nick Holm.
Coach Adam Miller's Coral Springs Charter squad was equally as talented with college prospects Marcos Hilera (senior lineman), juniors Chris Judge, Joshua Paul, Calvin Jackson and Kalen Carson, and sophomore standout defensive end Michael Carrion among others.
"This is a very talented and young team we have," Miller said. "Many of our players compete year round which helps give them exposure."
Pine Crest, which advanced to the quarterfinals boasted seniors Patrick Haley, Isaac Mercado and Nick Nolting.
The Southern Division was loaded with prospect and quality teams as well. Sorg's Westminster Academy squad was stacked with elite prospects such as senior and Co-Offensive Player of the Year Johnnie Gaines, a running back transfer who came in this year from St. Thomas. Fellow seniors Les Dalger, Ryan Moore, Micah Smith, Houston Underwood and Joe Vairo were all tremendous football talent, and sophomore linebacker Zack Ledbetter is setting himself up to be one of the best in the Class of 2017.
In addition to Westminster Academy, south teams such as coach Willie Trimmer's Miami LaSalle, which boasted seniors Terrill Hanks, Manny Readon and Montrel Thomas - and junior John Pierce - were one of the most talented teams. Trimmer, a longtime coach, was the biggest proponent of the league and the exposure the teams have received.
"I have nothing but great things to say about this league and the way we have been covered by colleges and the media," he said. "Our kids have gotten plenty of exposure by attending events in the off season as well."
Florida Christian (Alex Bosque, Nick Tejedor and Paul Gonzalez), Archbishop Curley (Richard Champagne and Beethoven Moise), Boca Raton St. Andrew's Academy and Tavernier Coral Shores have also been competitive.
Coral Shores relished the opportunity to compete in a conference where they were on a level playing field. Coach Ed Holly had some of the more publicized players in the league -such as Co-Offensive Player of the Year, George Jacobsen, his twin brother, Henry, as well as senior Paul Pauchey and Eddie Dunn, and juniors Chris O'Berry and David Williams.
"This league really provided our young men with plenty of exposure," Holly pointed out. "Not just from a football standpoint, but the SFC also rewarded the players in the league for doing well in the classroom."
As Calvary wrapped up the title this year, the SFC was pleased in knowing that the attendance in the championship game at FAU would have been the third largest in last year FHSAA championship weekends (eight games) in Orlando!
We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. 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.
Every home game during the 2014 season, the Miami Dolphins salute local youth and high school teams, coaches and players.
Before last Thursday night's win over the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins honored a youth player, a high school player and coach as Players and Coaches of the Week.
Kenneth Hall - far left - was with Hilton Joseph, Devin Bush, who led his Flanagan football team to an 11-0 record so far this season and Troy Drayton of the Miami Dolphins.
Running Back K.C. Hall of the Kendall Boys and Girls Club 145s in the Miami Xtreme Football League was honored on the field by the Miami Dolphins as the Youth Player of the Week presented by Under Armour. Kenneth Hall is coached by Victor Amant. Troy Drayton of the Miami Dolphins.
Quarterback Hilton Joseph of North Miami High School was the leading passer in Miami-Dade County and was honored as the High School Player of the Week presented by Under Armour. Hilton Joseph is coached by Ed Williams. Troy Drayton of the Miami Dolphins presented the award.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
As we do each year, we will make it easy for fans as well as high school and college coaches who want to follow the exciting Florida high school state playoffs. We have all 8 classes on one post and will record all the scores and update records all the way until the final game is played.
We make it very easy for you to have all the information on one file.
Enjoy the playoffs!
Jacksonville First Coast 34, Deland 19
Lake Mary 43, Flagler Palm Coast 30
Apopka 41, Oviedo 34
Winter Garden West Orange 42, Orlando Timber Creek 21
Jacksonville First Coast 56, Lake Mary 36
Apopka 42, Winter Garden West Orange 0
Apopka (8-4) at Jacksonville First Coast (12-0)
Orlando Dr. Phillips 24, Valrico Bloomingdale 21
Tampa Plant 29, Orlando Boone 7
Bradenton Manatee 28, Fort Pierce Central 20
Vero Beach 35, St. Petersburg 28
Orlando Dr. Phillips 24, Tampa Plant 10
Bradenton Manatee 47, Vero Beach 28
Bradenton Manatee (11-1) at Orlando Dr. Phillips (12-0)
Wellington 53, Lake Worth Park Vista 29
Palm Beach Gardens 24, Palm Beach Central 20
Coconut Creek Monarch (VACATED)
Pembroke Pines Flanagan 49, Coral Springs 28
Wellington 16, Palm Beach Gardens 10
Pembroke Pines Flanagan 27, Coconut Creek Monarch 21 OT
Wellington (11-1) at Pembroke Pines Flanagan (12-0)
Coral Gables 19, North Miami 14
Miami Columbus 31, North Miami Beach 0
Miami Belen Jesuit 20, Miami Southridge 7
Miami Killian 21, Southwest Miami 3
Miami Columbus 22, Coral Gables 0
Miami Killian 31, Miami Belen Jesuit 0
Miami Columbus (11-1) at Miami Killian (12-0), Harris Field, Homestead
Niceville 44, Tallahassee Leon 6
Cantonment Tate 34, Tallahassee Lincoln 24
Orange Park Oakleaf 17, Apopka Wekiva 14
Neptune Beach Fletcher 33, Orlando Oak Ridge 7
Niceville 34, Cantonment Tate 0
Orange Park Oakleaf 28, Neptune Beach Fletcher 24
Niceville (10-2) at Orange Park Oakleaf (12-0)
Lakeland 48, Orlando Lake Nona 38
Kissimmee Osceola 35, Bartow 7
Tampa Sickles 9, Plant City 7
Tampa Bay Tech 42, Plant City Durant 25
Kissimmee Osceola 35, Lakeland 28, OT
Tampa Bay Tech 20, Tampa Sickles 16
Tampa Bay Tech (7-5) at Kissimmee Osceola (11-1)
Tarpon Springs East Lake 24, Palmetto 3
Bradenton Braden River 44, Pinellas Park 28
Fort Myers 36, Melbourne 12
Punta Gorda Charlotte 48, Viera 0
Tarpon Springs East Lake 37, Bradenton Braden River 21
Fort Myers 33, Punta Gorda Charlotte 26
Fort Myers (12-0) at Tarpon Springs East Lake (12-0)
Royal Palm Beach 44, Fort Lauderdale 13
Delray Beach Atlantic 21, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely 13
Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas 57, Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy 0
Plantation 34, Hialeah American 13
Royal Palm Beach 28, Delray Beach Atlantic 7
Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas 38, Plantation 6
Royal Palm Beach (11-1) at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (11-1)
Navarre 44, Pensacola Escambia 30
Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee 27, Pensacola 24
Jacksonville Ed White 36, St. Johns Creekside 13
St. Augustine 33, Lake City Columbia 21
Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee 35, Navarre 14
Jacksonville Ed White 26, St. Augustine 14
Jacksonville Ed White (10-2) at Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee (10-2)
Gainesville 24, New Port Richey Mitchell 17
Land O'Lakes Sunlake 24, Ocala Vanguard 6
Venice 35, Tampa Hillsborough 29
Seffner Armwood 38, Largo 0
Gainesville 27, Land O’Lakes Sunlake 19
Seffner Armwood 42, Venice 14
Gainesville (7-5) at Seffner Armwood (12-0)
Daytona Beach Mainland 42, Groveland South Lake 7
Orlando Edgewater 35, Daytona Beach Seabreeze 0
Winter Haven 55, Cape Coral Ida Baker 15
South Fort Myers 23, Lakeland Lake Gibson 17
Daytona Beach Mainland 30, Orlando Edgewater 28
South Fort Myers 41, Winter Haven 23
Daytona Beach Mainland (12-0) at South Fort Myers (10-2)
Palm Bay Bayside (7-2) at Naples 42, Palm Bay Bayside 0
Palm Bay Heritage 28, Naples Gulf Coast 3
Hallandale 47, Miami Northwestern 20
Miami Central 49, Boynton Beach 6
Palm Bay Heritage 30, Naples 28
Miami Central 35, Hallandale 19
Miami Central (11-1) at Palm Bay Heritage (8-3)
Pensacola West Florida Tech 41, Crawfordville Wakulla 34
Tallahassee Godby 35, Lynn Haven Mosley 30
Jacksonville Bishop Kenny 38, Palatka 15
Green Cove Springs Clay 46, Jacksonville Westside 6
Tallahassee Godby 41, Pensacola West Florida 6
Jacksonville Bishop Kenny 34, Green Cove Springs Clay 26
Tallahassee Godby (10-2) at Jacksonville Bishop Kenny (10-1)
Live Oak Suwannee 42, Zephyrhills 34
Bushnell South Sumter 16, Citra North Marion 12
New Port Richey River Ridge 29, Tarpon Springs 28
St. Petersburg Lakewood 30, New Port Richey Gulf 27
Live Oak Suwannee 24, Bushnell South Sumter 22
St. Petersburg Lakewood 30, New Port Richey River Ridge 27
St. Petersburg Lakewood (9-3) at Live Oak Suwannee (11-1)
Tampa Jesuit 35, Auburndale 28
Riverview Spoto 42, Lake Wales 6
Orlando Bishop Moore 24, Titusville 7
Merritt Island 21, Mount Dora 14
Tampa Jesuit 18, Riverview Spoto 14
Orlando Bishop Moore 24, Merritt Island 7
Tampa Jesuit (8-4) at Orlando Bishop Moore (12-0)
Cape Coral 37, Arcadia DeSoto 21
Cape Coral Island Coast 35, Sarasota Booker 7
Naples Lely 28, Miami Jackson 25
Plantation American Heritage 51, Immokalee 0
Cape Coral Island Coast 15, Cape Coral 0
Plantation American Heritage 43, Naples Lely 13
Cape Coral Island Coast (10-2) at Plantation American Heritage (9-3)
Madison County 35, DeFuniak Springs Walton 34
Tallahassee Florida High 20, Fort White 14
Madison County 37, Tallahassee Florida High 30
Jacksonville Bolles 63, Umatilla 0
Jacksonville Raines 54, The Villages 0
Jacksonville Bolles 20, Jacksonville Raines 13
Jacksonville Bolles (10-2) at Madison County (9-3)
Clewiston 35, Orlando Jones 7
Cocoa 67, Avon Park 0
Cocoa 26, Clewiston 21
Miami Booker T. Washington 70, Pembroke Pines Somerset Academy 0
Belle Glade Glades Central 32, Miami Gulliver Prep 13
Miami Booker T. Washington 35, Belle Glade Glades Central 7
Miami Booker T. Washington (12-0) at Cocoa (11-1)
Ocala Trinity Catholic 49, Jacksonville Providence 14
Jacksonville Trinity Christian 44, Tallahassee Maclay 13
Jacksonville Trinity Christian 20, Ocala Trinity Catholic 10
Lakeland Christian 32, Melbourne Central Catholic 26
Orlando The First Academy 42, Tampa Berkeley Prep 35
Lakeland Christian 53, Orlando The First Academy 27
Lakeland Christian (11-1) at Jacksonville Trinity Christian (10-2)
Sarasota Cardinal Mooney 17, Clearwater Calvary Christian 14
Clearwater Central Catholic 62, Fort Myers Bishop Verot 18
Clearwater Central Catholic 14, Sarasota Cardinal Mooney 10
Miami Westminster Christian 41, W. Palm Beach Cardinal Newman 10
Delray Beach American Heritage 58, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna 21
Delray Beach American Heritage 23, Miami Westminster Christian 7
American Heritage Delray (11-1) at Clearwater Central Catholic (11-1)
Tallahassee North Florida Christian 30, Jacksonville Duval Charter 6
Jacksonville University Christian 43, Tallahassee FAMU DRS 8
Tallahassee North Florida Christian 44, Jacksonville University Christian 27
S. Daytona Beach Warner Christian 41, Winter Garden Foundation Academy 13
Lakeland Victory Christian 49, Vero Beach St. Edward’s 0
Lakeland Victory Christian 41, S. Daytona Beach Warner Christian 34
Tallahassee North Florida Christian (7-4) at Lakeland Victory Christian (10-1)
Largo Indian Rocks Christian 62, Fort Myers Evangelical Christian 14
Naples First Baptist 42, St. Petersburg Northside Christian 27
Largo Indian Rocks Christian 48, First Baptist-Naples 12
Belle Glade Glades Day 28, Miami Dade Christian 0
Jupiter Christian (VACATED)
Belle Glade Glades Day 41, Jupiter Christian 0
Largo Indian Rocks Christian (12-0) at Belle Glade Glades Day (10-2)
Baker 21, Graceville 7
Vernon 36, Bratt Northview 19
Vernon 40, Baker 13
Port St. Joe 37, Santa Rosa Beach South Walton 14
Blountstown 25, Bristol Liberty County 10
Port St. Joe 6, Blountstown 0
Vernon (11-1) at Port St. Joe (10-2)
Jasper Hamilton County 34, Hilliard 21
Trenton 40, Mayo Lafayette 14
Jasper Hamilton County 45, Trenton 20
Cross City Dixie County 40, Pierson Taylor 9
Lake Butler Union County 55, Crescent City 0
Cross City Dixie County 50, Lake Butler Union County 37
Jasper Hamilton County (9-3) at Cross City Dixie County (11-0)
As the state playoffs get started this coming week across Florida, it is not only a chance for many of the south Florida teams to realize that dream of reaching Orlando, but it is also an opportunity for a number of prospects to jump on that radar screen.
With a number of players in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties still without scholarship offers, the post season is yet another avenue to showcase the talent that many of these prospect have. Additional opportunities to get film and for colleges to see what these tremendous athletes have.
"Any time you can get into the playoffs, it's a plus for any athlete," Champagnat Catholic head coach Mike Tunsil pointed out. "The playoffs also give many of these colleges a chance to see these football players against a high level of competition."
No program in this area will welcome the post season more than North Miami. The Pioneers (9-1) will head into the first round of the playoffs against Coral Gables, and one of the highest scoring large school programs in Miami-Dade features senior quarterback Hilton Joseph, who leads all of Miami-Dade County with 2,550 yards and 29 touchdowns. The 5-11, 165-pounder has been phenomenal, but yet no offers.
Joseph is not alone, teammates Victor Sam and defensive back Wesley Charles are also prospects who have flown way under the college radar, and head coach Ed Williams believes that it's time that schools step up an watch some of the more productive players in Florida this year.
"We have been saying that very few schools have the receivers and quarterback we have," Williams said. "Hilton came in last year and threw for over 2,000 yards and has repeated it again this year. Victor is baseball prospect who has also gotten it done for us with 38 catches for 680 yards."
While North Miami will attempt to give their prospects additional exposure, they are not alone. Here are 10 seniors who figure to gain more exposure by appearing in the opening round of the state playoffs:
Xavier Bailey, DB, 5-11, 175, Northwestern: Whether he plays cornerback or safety, this is really a football talent who flew way beneath the radar. A tremendous addition to the Bulls this year, there is no doubt that his play on special teams will also enhance his overall package as a recruit. Will open at Hallandale in the first round of the playoffs.
Tucker Beirne, QB, 6-2, 224, Christopher Columbus: This three-year starter truly came into his own this season and had over 100 completions and 15 touchdowns. His maturity and leadership came up big all year. Will play North Miami Beach in the opening round.
Jake Bofshever, QB, 6-2, 200, Coral Springs. One of those very impressive football players who enjoyed a huge season this year for the Colts. After working hard in the off season, he came back to throw for over 1,500 yards and direct this program to a quality season. They will face state-rated and unbeaten Flanagan in the first round of the playoffs.
Richie Cooper, WR, 5-10, 170, Hallandale: This one-time Booker T. Washington prospect has had two solid years for the Chargers as a big play receiver who has blazing speed and great hands. Figures to open some eyes in the playoffs. This is a very impressive football player who gets the job done. Hallandale hosts Northwestern in the first round.
Ellex "Pooh" Davis, WR, 5-10, 170, Monarch: This gifted athlete who really took over this year had one game where he caught 12 balls for 350 yards. He has really been a spark all season. The Knights will face Miramar in the first round.
Josmar Diaz-Martinez, DB, 5-10, 175, Miramar. Easily one of the better prospects who doesn't have any solid offers, but a good showing in the playoffs will certainly change all that. Has the chance to really make a solid impact for the "Dark Side Defense". The Patriots square off with Monarch in the first round.
Anthony Olivencia, WR/P, 6-2, 195, Killian. (PICTURED) One of the most versatile football players around. Not only did he lift the Cougars with outstanding catches, but was the leading punter in south Florida with a 45 yard average. Killian takes on Southwest Miami in the opening round.
Tovias Parker, WR, 5-11, 165, Jackson: Another very gifted football player who helped the Generals into the playoffs this season in Earl Little's first year as head coach. Has plenty of athletic ability, and while he has been offered by Appalachian State, many believe others could be on the way. Jackson opens at Naples Lely in the first round.
Deltron Sands, RB, 5-9, 180, St. Thomas Aquinas. This is a talented runner who has been in the mix for the past three years and has been a player that many have overlooked. While he hasn't been the marquee runner for the Raiders, this is a quality football talent with a chance to really show all those schools that he is indeed for real. The Raiders host Mater Academy in the first round.
Cedric Wiggins, Athlete, 6-0, 190, North Miami Beach: After playing quarterback for his 4 seasons with the Chargers, this impressive athlete has shown that he can lineup at a number of positions at the next level. The younger brother of former standout Doug Wiggins, he will have a chance to open up at Christopher Columbus.
We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. 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.
The Associated Press Top 10 Florida high school football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, rating points and previous rankings:
Record Pts Prv
1. Orlando Dr. Phillips (9) 10-0 127 1
(tie) Jacksonville First Coast (2) 10-0 127 2
3. Pembroke Pines Flanagan (2) 10-0 112 3
4. Winter Garden West Orange 10-0 90 4
5. Tampa Plant (1) 9-1 77 5
6. Lake Mary 10-0 67 6
7. Bradenton Manatee 9-1 51 8
8. Miami Christopher Columbus 9-1 44 7
9. Miami Killian 10-0 40 9
10. Vero Beach 10-0 25 10
Others receiving votes: Miramar 4, Coconut Creek Monarch 3, Coral Gables 2, Wellington 1.
Record Pts Prv
1. Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (11) 9-1 135 1
2. Tarpon Springs East Lake (3) 10-0 127 2
3. Lakeland 10-0 105 4
4. Kissimmee Osceola 9-1 84 5
5. Fort Myers 10-0 82 6
6. Orange Park Oakleaf 10-0 75 7
7. Viera 9-0 45 8
8. Bradenton Braden River 9-0 39 9
9. Niceville 8-2 37 3
10. Royal Palm Beach 9-1 19 NR
Others receiving votes: Tallahassee Lincoln 10, Orlando Oak Ridge 9, Hialeah American 3.
Record Pts Prv
1. Daytona Beach Mainland (9) 10-0 133 1
2. Miami Central (5) 9-1 126 2
3. Seffner Armwood 10-0 119 3
4. Hallandale 9-0 91 4
5. Naples 9-1 75 6
6. Winter Haven 9-1 54 9
7. Boynton Beach 9-1 49 7
8. Venice 9-1 43 5
9. Jacksonville Ed White 8-2 22 8
10. Tampa Hillsborough 9-1 12 NR
(tie) Lakeland Lake Gibson 9-1 12 NR
Others receiving votes: St. Augustine 11, Lake City Columbia 8, Pensacola Escambia 7, Navarre 4, South Fort Myers 4.
Record Pts Prv
1. Bushnell South Sumter (12) 10-0 133 1
2. Orlando Bishop Moore 10-0 120 3
3. Green Cove Springs Clay 9-1 109 4
4. Pensacola West Florida 9-1 92 6
5. Plantation American Heritage (2) 7-3 78 7
6. Tallahassee Godby 8-2 63 8
7. Live Oak Suwannee 9-1 62 2
8. New Port Richey River Ridge 9-1 30 10
9. Cape Coral Island Coast 8-2 22 5
10. Lake Wales 8-2 15 NR
(tie) Crawfordville Wakulla 8-2 15 NR
Others receiving votes: Jacksonville Bishop Kenny 10, Miami Jackson 6, St. Petersburg Lakewood 5, Merritt Island 5, Citra North Marion 3, Naples Lely 1, Arcadia DeSoto County 1.
Record Pts Prv 1. Miami Booker T. Washington (14) 9-0 140 1
2. Clewiston 10-0 125 2
3. Cocoa 9-1 111 3
4. Belle Glade Glades Central 8-2 79 4
5. Jacksonville Bolles School 8-2 72 5
Others receiving votes: Jacksonville Raines 33.
Record Pts Prv
1. Clearwater Central Catholic (7) 9-1 132 1(tie)
2. Delray American Heritage (5) 8-1 127 1(tie)
3. Ocala Trinity Catholic 7-1 108 3
4. Miami Westminster Christian 8-1 77 4
5. Trinity Christian-Jacksonville (2) 7-2 63 5
Others receiving votes: Orlando First Academy 33, Lakeland Christian 20.
Record Pts Prv
1. Largo Indian Rocks (14) 9-0 140 1
2. Lakeland Victory Christian 8-1 126 2
3. St. Peterbsurg Northside Christian 8-2 101 3
4. Belle Glade Glades Day 8-2 85 4
5. University Christian 7-3 51 NR Others receiving votes: Jacksonville Duval Charter 32, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic 13, Tampa Cambridge Christian 12.
Record Pts Prv
1. Cross City Dixie County (14) 9-0 140 1
2. Trenton 9-1 117 2
3. Santa Rosa Beach South Walton 8-1 102 5
4. Baker School 9-1 54 3
5. Lake Butler Union County 8-2 45 NR
Others receiving votes: Vernon 38, Jasper Hamilton County 38, Blountstown 26.
Northwestern defensive back Deandre Baker accepted his invitation Monday to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. Baker, a University of Georgia commit, is one of 12 South Florida players that are expected to participate in this season’s game which will be played Jan. 3 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Baker has been a key player in Northwestern’s return to the playoffs this season.
“It’s great to be able to represent my community and my friends on this kind of a stage,” Baker said. “It’s going to be cool to join some great names that have been in this game.”
MIAMI - It's simply an event like no other held in the country.
The most prestigious areas in the country, the hotbed for high school football talent, will once again shine in the spotlight as the 17th edition of the Tournament of Champions Miami-Dade All-Star Football Game will take place on Saturday, Dec. 20th at Curtis Park (1901 NW 24th Avenue) in Miami.
The game, which had long featured the best of Miami-Dade and Broward - and most recently - other athletes from southeast and southwest Florida - has returned to its roots this year with a showdown between the best of 305 - when the lines are drawn and the county is split into North and South.
"This is high school football at its very finest," said game founder and organizer Wesley Frater. "Look on any NFL roster or watch a collegiate game on Saturdays and you will find that Miami-Dade County, the 305 area code is well represented."
This year game, which will feature coaches from Coral Gables on the South team - and a combined effort between defending national champion Booker T. Washington and Carol City on the North squad will roll out some of the finest players in the country.
Among the players representing the South squad include Syracuse University commit Doyle Grimes (South Dade), Temple-bound standout Jotae Barrett (Homestead), Wisconsin commit Dominic Sheppard (Gulliver Prep) and USF commit Trevon Sands (Southwest Miami) among other quality prospects.
The North team is also well stocked with quality football talent such as FIU commits in quarterback commit Maurice Alexander and defensive back Ocie Rose (Booker T. Washington), UAB running back commitment Michael Frederick (Champagnat Catholic). Ohio State defensive back commit Carlton Davis (Norland) and Kentucky bound defensive back Jeremiah Dinson (American) as well as other high level recruits.
"The players in this game are among the elite in the country," said longtime talent evaluator Larry Blustein. "The players in south Florida may be headed to other games across the country and locally, but this is one that they want to take part in. This is certainly for pride and prestige."
The kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. and tickets are Student Tickets are $12 for ADULTS and $10.75 for STUDENTS with ID. For information, call 305-910-9019 or visit Bleechr.com.
ELITE UNDERCLASS COMBINE TO BE HELD EARLIER IN THE DAY
In addition the North vs. South All-Star event, the day will start off with a prestigious underclassmen combine that will feature some of the best up-and-coming football prospects the entire south Florida region has to offer.
The combine will be the first forum of the off season to get rising seniors, juniors and sophomores into the spotlight. Every player that attends will be listed and promoted along with player evaluations and videos that they have had from this past year.
"This is a chance for many underclassmen in Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, Collier and Palm Beach to come down and get on the map," said Larry Blustein. "We promoted over 4,500 players this year and the college response was overwhelming, so any player attending this event will get out there for all to see and start the ball rolling for the upcoming season."
The combine is just $45 - which is a small price to pay to get on the map and learn some football techniques from coaches who know what it takes to get to that next level.
For information, call 305-910-9019. http://www.bleechr.com/305.
TOC 305 SOUTH ALL STAR ROSTER
P.J. Coats, 6-2, 220, South Dade
Jowan Watson, 6-0, 195, Gulliver Prep
Deundre Pickett-White, 6-0, 190, Southwest Miami
Wade Collier, 5-8, 180, Homestead
Johnnie Hankins, 5-10, 195, South Dade
Hans Supre, 5-8, 170, Coral Gables
Frank Battle, 6-4, 200, Belen Jesuit
Raymond Gage, 5-10, 170, Keys Gate Charter
Chris Linares, 6-0, 175, Braddock
Austin Maloney, 5-11, 175, Christopher Columbus
Anthony Olivencia, 6-2, 190, Killian
Shaquery Wilson, 6-3, 190, Coral Gables
Andres Saldivar, 6-2, 210, Coral Gables
Jose Garcia, 6-2, 280, Killian
Alex Helms, 6-5, 310, Westminster Christian
DeAndre McCrae, 6-4, 280, Southridge
Andy Moreira, 6-1, 270, Coral Gables
Jake Perez, 5-11, 210, Southwest Miami
Jake Rodriguez, 6-6, 320, Belen Jesuit
Jason Rodriguez, 6-1, 265, Christopher Columbus
DE - Shawn Curtis, 6-3, 240, Reagan
Dhany Dye, 6-3, 345, Coral Gables
DE - Kenneth Herring, 6-2, 220, Coral Gables
DE - Damien Horton, 6-3, 215, Killian
Jarred McGhee, 6-0, 265, Coral Gables
DE - Eric Santil, 6-2, 190, Homestead
Joe Suarez, 6-3, 230, South Dade
Marcus Stevenson, Southridge
James Bowe, 6-2, 190, Killian
Rashad Broadway, 5-10, 200, Westminster Christian
Bruce Davis, 6-1, 195, Killian
Doyle Grimes, 6-2, 200, South Dade
Dominic Sheppard, 6-2, 225, Gulliver Prep
Jontavis Testa, 6-0, 205, Coral Gables
Jhovante Dean, 6-1, 170, South Dade
S - Terill Hanks, 6-2, 200, LaSalle
Tobias Moss, 5-10, 170, Westminster Christian
Sheldrick Redwine, 6-1, 190, Killian
S - Elijah Reed, 6-4, 195, South Miami
S - Anthony Sotolongo, 6-1, 195, Gulliver Prep
Andrew Spence, 6-2, 180, Coral Gables
S - Tadarius Wilson, 5-10, 170, South Dade
Jimmy Armstrong, 5-9, 170, Westminster Christian
Jonte Barrett, 5-8, 160, Homestead
Tucker Beirne, 6-2, 225, Christopher Columbus
Jordan Cronkite, 5-11, 195, Westminster Christian
Emilio Gibbs, 6-0, 230, Coral Gables
Tim Irvin, 5-9, 185, Westminster Christian
Jaquan Johnson, 5-11, 190, Killian
Trevon Sands, 5-10, 180, Southwest Miami
Uriel Hernandez, 5-6, 180, Homestead
TOC 305 NORTH ALL STAR ROSTER
Maurice Alexander, 6-0, 180, Booker T. Washington
Gerald Anderson, 5-11, 200, Miami Springs
Hilton Joseph, 5-11, 165, North Miami
Markel Anderson, 5-9, 180, Miami Beach
Ronneldon Ellington, 5-10, 180, Carol City
Michael Frederick, 5-10, 185, Champagnat
Cedric Miller, 5-10, 180, Central
Mark Walton, 5-11, 190, Booker T. Washington
Steven Claude, 6-2, 190, Champagnat
Tavaris Harrison, 6-3, 190, North Miami
Anthony Jones, 5-11, 195, Central
Johnny Rembert, 5-10, 175, Miami Springs
Victor Sam, 6-0, 185, North Miami
Vaquan Small, 6-2, 180, Booker T. Washington
Marquise Barnes, 6-5, 300, Hialeah Miami Lakes
Samuel Dervil, 6-4, 275, Northwestern
William Gordon, 6-3, 300, Norland
Jason Jean, 6-4, 290, Central
Deiontae Lynch, 6-2, 270, Booker T. Washington
Sylvester Robzel, 6-3, 320, Central
Michael Sawyer, 6-1, 280, Carol City
Christian Strachan, 6-4, 315, Champagnat Catholic
Ben Tirolia, 6-3, 300, Booker T. Washington
Clayton Cobb, 6-1, 280, Booker T. Washington
Keivonnis Davis, 6-4, 235, Central
DE - Andre Duncombe, 6-1, 190, Booker T. Washington
DE - Rodrick Golden, 5-11, 215, Mater Academy
DE - Irick McDonald, 6-5, 215, Miami Springs
Jay Ortiz, 6-3, 255, Mater Academy
DE - Dwayne Paddyfoot, 6-3, 215, Mater Academy
Fermin Silva, 6-2, 225, Central
James Bell, 5-9, 190, North Miami
Marquis Couch, 6-1, 225, Central
Rayshad Jackson, 6-1, 215, Norland
James King, 6-1, 200, Booker T. Washington
Tyrone Robinson, 6-0, 210, Booker T. Washington
S - Xavier Bailey, 5-11, 175, Northwestern
Olin Cushion III, 5-10, 170, Central
S - Carlton Davis, 6-2, 180, Norland
Davante Davis, 6-2, 200, Booker T. Washington
Jeremiah Dinson, 6-0, 180, American
Rashad Fenton, 6-1, 190, Carol City
Karon Jackson, 5-9, 170, American
S - Terry Jefferson, 5-10, 170, Booker T. Washington
S - Robert Knowles, 6-0, 180, Edison
S - Khalid McGee, 6-0, 180, Northwestern
S - Ocie Rose, 6-2, 190, Booker T. Washington
Baymar Piraquvie, 6-0, 175, Central
Shaquille Green, 5-8, 160, Booker T. Washington
Tovias Parker, 5-11, 170, Jackson
Cedric Wiggins, 6-1, 190, North Miami Beach
Region 4-8A quarterfinal: NMB at Columbus, 5
Region 4-4A semifinal at Traz: Booker T. vs. Somerset Academy, 7:30
Region 3-8A quarterfinal at Deerfield Beach: Miramar vs. Monarch, 7:30
Region 3-8A quarterfinal: Coral Springs at Flanagan, 7:30
Region 4-8A quarterfinal at North Miami:Coral Gables vs. North Miami, 7:30
Region 4-8A quarterfinal: Southridge at Belen, 3
Region 4-8A quarterfinal at Tropical: Killian vs. Southwest, 7:30
Region 4-7A quarterfinal at Milander: American vs. Plantation, 7
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Mater Academy at St. Thomas Aquinas, 7:30
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Delray Atlantic at Blanche Ely, 7:30
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Fort Lauderdale at Royal Palm Beach, 7:30
Region 4-6A quarterfinal at Traz: Boynton Beach vs. Central, 7:30
Region 4-6A quarterfinal: Northwestern at Hallandale, 7:30
Region 4-5A quarterfinal: Immokalee at American Heritage, 7:30
Region 4-5A quarterfinal: Jackson at Naples Lely, 7:30
Region 4-4A semifinal: Gulliver at Belle Glade Glades Central, 7:30
Region 4-3A semifinal: WPB Cardinal Newman at Westminster Christian, 2:30
Region 4-3A semifinal: Chaminade-Madonna at Delray American Heritage, 7:30
Region 4-2A semifinal at Betty Ferguson Park: Champagnat vs. Jupiter Chr., 7
Region 4-2A semifinal: Dade Christian at Belle Glade Glades Day, 7:30
ROCKAWAY, N.J. – The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is proud to announce the coaching staff for the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Coach Gabe Infante of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Scott Altenberg of Junipero Serra High School (Gardena, Calif.) have been selected to coach the East and West squads, respectively, in the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Infante and Altenberg will lead their all-star teams consisting of the top high school talent from across the nation on the field Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, at 1 p.m. EST at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Assistant coaches Sedric Irvin from Miami Westminster Christian and Mike Rumph from defending 5A state champion Plantation American Heritage, have been added to the East staff as assistant coaches.
Coach Gabe Infante Highlights (East):
Infante has been the head football coach at St. Joseph’s Prep since 2010, compiling a record of 37-18 and winning the 2013 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) AAAA Championship while also capturing the Catholic League and District 12 City Championships. The 2013 team finished in the top 40 nationally and No. 1 in Pennsylvania. Infante earned Coach of the Year honors for his efforts, and entering into 2014, Prep was ranked in the top 20 in the nation and No. 1 in Pennsylvania.
"I am honored to be selected to represent our school and community in the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and to be a part of the incredible tradition the game has established," said Infante.
Coach Scott Altenberg Highlights (West):
Altenberg has 16 seasons under his belt as head coach at Junipero Serra and has seen many alumni go on to success at the collegiate level. Altenberg is responsible for the development of three Southern Cal wide receivers: George Farmer, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Altenberg really has the Cavalier program humming, winning CIF-Southern Section State Championships in 2009, 2010 and 2012. He was honored as CIF-Southern Section Coach of the Year after a 14-1 2010 season.
“It is one of the greatest honors of my coaching career to be named the West head coach of the U.S Army All-American Bowl,” said Altenberg. “I believe the game represents everything that is great about high school football – young men at the top of their game, competing against each other, while honoring the great men and women who fight to protect our country. It's an awesome event and I'm ecstatic to be a part of it.”
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is also proud to announce the assistant coaches for the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
The following are the coaching staffs for the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl (listed alphabetically with the head coach listed first):
2015 East Coaches:
Gabe Infante, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, Philadelphia, PA.
Kyle Hockman, McEachern High School, Powder Springs, GA.
Sedrick Irvin, Miami Westminster Christian School, Palmetto Bay, FL.
Tim Roken, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, Philadelphia, PA.
Mike Rumph, American Heritage School, Plantation, FL.
Steve Specht, St. Xavier High School, Cincinnati, OH.
Bob Sphire, North Gwinnett High School, Suwanee, GA.
Ryan Sulkowski, Coffee County Central High School, Manchester, TN.
2015 West Coaches:
Scott Altenberg, Junipero Serra High School, Gardena, CA.
David Beaudin, Saint Mary’s Hall, San Antonio, TX.
Josh Dabbs, Junipero Serra High School, Gardena, CA.
Mike Kirschner, Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, IN.
Mark Smith, James Madison High School, San Antonio, TX.
Kevin Stilling, Wood River High School, Hailey, ID.
Gary Swenson, Valley High School, West Des Moines, IA.
Jeremy Thielbahr, Eastside Catholic High School, Sammamish, WA.
“Coaches play an important role in the positive development of America’s youth,” said Mark S. Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for marketing. “The coaches and assistant coaches chosen for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl are highly accomplished and respected leaders, who like our Army Soldiers, base their leadership on a set of core values. We are proud to honor all of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl coaches and congratulate each of them on their selection.”
For more than 14 years, 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. Andrew Luck, Patrick Peterson and Jamaal Charles made their national debuts as U.S. Army All-Americans. In the 2014 NFL Draft, there were a total of seven U.S. Army All-American Bowl Alumni drafted in the first round. The 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl drew a crowd of 40,017 to the Alamodome and was the most-watched sporting event on television over the weekend, excluding the NFL playoffs.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is owned and produced by All American Games, a New Jersey-based sports marketing and event management company. The U.S. Army is the title sponsor of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and American Family Insurance is the lead national sponsor and presenting sponsor of the telecast on NBC. Other national sponsors include American Family Insurance, adidas, NBC, Gatorade, San Antonio Visitors Bureau, 247Sports, XOS Digital, NCSA, Lockheed Martin, Xenith, Battle Sports Science, Eastbay, EvoShield, 23 Blast Movie, NewTek and Football University. National sponsors of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band include the National Association for Music Education, Drum Corps International, Jupiter Wind Instruments, Mapex Marching Percussion, Majestic Concert Percussion and DeMoulin Uniforms.
For more information on the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and its related events visit usarmyallamericanbowl.com and goarmy.com/events/aab or the official Facebook and Twitter pages located at facebook.com/USArmyAllAmericanBowl, facebook.com/USAAAMB and twitter.com/armyallamerican.