August 22, 2014

The Gridiron Report: Top 20 preseason poll breakdown

August 21, 2014

Miami Central ready to surprise some people on offense in Saturday showdown with Hoover

Everybody might be expecting a defensive battle when Miami Central visits Hoover (Ala.) Saturday at noon in a battle of high school football titans.

But Rockets coach Roland Smith said Thursday at practice his team could have quite a few surprises on offense for ESPN's national TV audience.

"I think our offense is going to show up and surprise a lot of people," said Smith, who has nine starters back on defense from last year's 13-1 Class 6A state champions, but only four back on offense. "We've got three running backs nobody ever heard of because  of the guys we had last year. But believe me these guys are good."

Those guys last year were Mr. Florida Football Dalvin Cook (Florida State) and tag team partner Joseph Yearby (Miami).

Yearby finished his career with 5,593 yards and 68 touchdowns, second-most behind only Bobby Washington in Miami-Dade history. Cook, who had 322 fewer carries than Yearby (721), finished with 4,267 yards and 64 touchdowns. Together, they were the most prolific rushing duo ever in Dade, and quite possibly the state, too.

The new guys are seniors Cedric Miller, Clifford Cooper and Malik Witherspoon. 

"We told them it's a system," Smith said. "If they stick to the plan and run our system they're going to have the same success those guys had."

Hoover has won eight national titles since 2000 including the last two state titles in Class 6A and 30 games in a row. Seven offensive starters are back including highly touted four-star tailback Bradrick Shaw (6-1, 193) and 6-4, 220-pound receiver Justin Johnson (Mississippi State). Defensively, Auburn-bound linebacker Darrell Williams (6-2, 225) and Alabama-bound defensive end Christian Bell (6-3, 216) lead the charge.

Hoover has won six games in a row against out-of-state opponents. The last time Central went to Alabama they won 49-28 over Pratville in 2010.

The Rockets also have some star power themselves. Four-star receiver Da'Vante Phillips (6-2, 204) has every school in the country recruiting him. Defensively, Florida State-bound safety Calvin Brewton leads the charge.

Receiver Anthony Jones, Cook's nephew, and junior quarterback Gerard Thomas are two other players to watch, Smith said.

"If you want to be good or you want to be great you've got to play the best teams out there," Smith said. "When we took over this program, [Telly] Lockett did a good job of doing that. Same thing with my other school, Northwestern. In order to be the best you have to play the best. We feel like we're one of the best teams in the nation.

"We're not fortunate enough to have teams come down here to play us so we have to go to their venue and also play with their refs, guys who could be graduates of their school. We just want to play football. The thing I always tell the referee is let our kids play. Let's let the kids decide the game not the referees."

-- MANNY NAVARRO

Talented Norland making a push in a crowded district

Norlandjpeg

By Larry Blustein
Floridakids1@aol.com
Nobody has to tell Daryle Heidelberg about building a football program. He knows exactly how to do it - and plans on getting it done again.

After finishing second and then winning a state title a few years back at his alma mater, Norland, Heidelberg and his Vikings sundered through a few lean years. Last year, he moved into a district that included nationally-rated Miami Central, Carol City, Northwestern and Homestead. While his team failed to grab a playoff spot, there was a move in bringing this program back in the spotlight.

Off season additions - including veteran Defensive Coordinator Luther Campbell - has put this program back in the spotlight, and while many of the experts are still not picking this team to be one of the two that qualify for the playoffs in 6A, Heidelberg likes that roll just fine.

"In the past I think our teams have done better when we are doubted - not counted on the be the team to beat," he explained. "I think people will be very surprised at the kind of talent we have on this team."

While everyone fully understands that Duke Johnson, Erick Flowers and Bam Brown aren't going to walk through the front doors of the school and immediately infuse this program, but for those who know what kind of athletes are available to program each year, know that talent is not going to be a problem.

The senior class will showcase a quality defense. One that features Ohio State defensive back commit Carlton Davis (6-2, 180), who leads a very talented secondary that also includes D’andre Smart (5-11, 175), Elliot Miller (5-10, 165), Cameron Cooper (5-10, 160) and Kevin Hollis (5-9, 170).

"We knew going into the season that our secondary would be very strong," said Davis. "I am very excited to work with Coach Campbell and real impressive group of defensive players."

The Vikings are also very strong up front on defense with end Rayshad Jackson (6-1, 190), and interior players Anthony Hall (6-0, 270), Jahim Lawrence (6-0, 205) and Dwayne Spencer (6-4, 290).

Offensively, the senior class boasts linemen William Gordon (6-4, 300), Jabari Barnwell (6-0, 320) and and Lowell Richardson, a 6-4, 275-pounder. In addition, talented and versatile receiver Steven McIntosh (6-0, 175) and Clarence Walker (5-6, 160), and running back Ruben Bresier (5-9, 175).

"We are happy about the seniors we have on this team," Heidelberg said. "They are going to be very productive and really lead our younger players as well."

The future of this program will indeed be with the gifted underclass. The Vikings do have a quality group of 2016 prospects - led by Rodrick Robinson (6-2, 175), running backs Chavis Wright (5-7, 170) and Tyson Dorvillier (5-7, 170), receivers Damian Barry (5-11, 180), Jordan Robinson (6-2, 175) and Terrell Scott (5-11, 170).

The Vikings also feature a number of impact linemen as well. Prospects such as Henry Pierre (6-1, 240), Deundre Gatlin (5-11, 240), Joshua Greene (6-3, 255) and even Class of 2017 prospect Kadeem Telfort, a 6-6, 310-pounder.

The Class of 2016 will also be a place where defensive standouts will make major strides this year. Linemen Eric Mitchell (6-2, 230) and Reoshard Donald (6-2, 190), linebackers Keon Holder (5-10, 185), Emmett Rice (6-3, 190), Edlet Satil (6-0, 220), versatile Vosean Joseph (6-1, 190) and Dejardins Paul (5-10, 185).

As the season begins, Norland may be the team on the outside looking in, but with a tremendous amount of talent and a coaching staff that knows how to teach and win, anything can happen - and the Vikings are banking on it.

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.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Fort Lauderdale Flying Ls make push toward the next level

Southwest Miami Eagles soar back to the top of the district

Coconut Creek adds to a crowded District 15-6A race

NMB, Jeff Bertani never far from the top

Booker T. Washington Wins National NFL HSPD 7-on-7 Tournament

Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

August 20, 2014

AP Preseason High School Football poll

By The Associated Press

   The Associated Press Preseason Top 10 Florida high school football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, rating points and AP poll 2013 final rankings:

Class 8A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Miramar (11)                               0-0     133 2 

 2. Apopka (2)                                 0-0     117 3 

 3. Dr. Phillips (3)                           0-0     115 4 

 4. First Coast                                0-0     97 RV

 5. Coral Gables                               0-0     74 NR

 6. Plant                                      0-0     69 7 

 7. Fort Pierce Central                        0-0     58 8 

 8. Palm Beach Gardens                         0-0     44 NR

 9. Charles Flanagan                           0-0     37 9 

10. Monarch                                    0-0     26 NR

     

   Others receiving votes: South Dade (0-0) 25, West Orange (0-0) 23, Lake Mary (0-0) 22, Manatee (0-0) 17, Winter Park (0-0) 8, Christopher Columbus Catholic (0-0) 5, Coral Glades (0-0) 4, Spruce Creek (0-0) 2, Vero Beach (0-0) 2, Cypress Bay (0-0) 1, Alonso (0-0) 1.

Class 7A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. St. Thomas Aquinas (14)                    0-0     156 4 

 2. Dwyer (2)                                  0-0     126 1 

 3. Niceville                                  0-0     123 7 

 4. Kissimmee Osceola                          0-0     99 6 

 5. East Lake                                  0-0     89 2 

 6. Sickles                                    0-0     69 5 

 7. Fletcher                                   0-0     47 NR

 8. Port Charlotte                             0-0     31 9 

 9. Lake Nona                                  0-0     29 NR

10. Tate                                       0-0     26 NR

      

   Others receiving votes: Fleming Island (0-0) 17, Lakeland (0-0) 16, Pinellas Park (0-0) 15, Haines City (0-0) 11, Melbourne (0-0) 7, Lincoln (0-0) 7, Royal Palm Beach (0-0) 7, Lake Worth (0-0) 3, Plantation (0-0) 2.

Class 6A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Miami Central (12)                         0-0     155 1 

 2. Armwood (3)                                0-0     144 2 

 3. Mainland (1)                               0-0     130 5 

 4. Naples                                     0-0     93 RV

 5. Ed White                                   0-0     78 9 

 6. Miami Carol City                           0-0     58 10

 7. Columbia                                   0-0     45 6 

 8. Boynton Beach                              0-0     38 NR

 9. Heritage                                   0-0     20 3 

10. Pace                                       0-0     19 NR

 (tie)Springstead                              0-0     19 NR

  

   Others receiving votes:  Largo (0-0) 16, Hallandale (0-0) 13, Escambia (0-0) 10, South Fort Myers (0-0) 10, Jefferson (0-0) 9, Winter Haven (0-0) 9, St. Augustine (0-0) 8, South Lake (0-0) 5, Venice (0-0) 1.

Class 5A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Plantation American Heritage (16)          0-0     160 3 

 2. South Sumter                               0-0     132 7 

 3. Pensacola Catholic                         0-0     121 1 

 4. Lake Wales                                 0-0     73 NR

 5. Lakewood                                   0-0     65 NR

 (tie) Clay                                    0-0     65 NR

 7. Merritt Island                             0-0     50 4 

 8. Cardinal Gibbons                           0-0     40 NR

 (tie) West Florida                            0-0     40 5 

10. Palm Bay                                   0-0     34 RV

      

   Others receiving votes: Godby (0-0) 27, North Marion (0-0) 22, Bishop Kenny (0-0) 15, Wakulla (0-0) 12, Jesuit (0-0) 11, Pasco (0-0) 8, Suwannee (0-0) 4, Island Coast (0-0) 1.

Class 4A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Miami Washington (16)                      0-0     160 1 

 2. Cocoa                                      0-0     141 2 

 3. Bolles School                              0-0     131 NR

 4. Gulliver Prep                              0-0     86 NR

 5. Clewiston                                  0-0     69 5 

      

   Others receiving votes: Glades Central (0-0) 28, Florida (0-0) 13, Madison County (0-0) 6, Fort Lauderdale University (0-0) 6.

Class 3A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Trinity Christian-Jacksonville (16)        0-0     160 1 

 2. Clearwater Central Catholic                0-0     139 5 

 3. Westminster Christian                      0-0     115 3 

 4. Ocala Trinity Catholic                     0-0     89 RV

 5. Melbourne Central Catholic                 0-0     61 2 

      

   Others receiving votes: Tampa Catholic (0-0) 37, Delray American Heritage (0-0) 26, Lakeland Christian (0-0) 7, Pahokee (0-0) 6.

Class 2A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Champagnat Catholic (15)                   0-0     159 1 

 2. Victory Christian (1)                      0-0     140 NR

 3. North Florida Christian                    0-0     110 4 

 4. Indian Rocks                               0-0     72 RV

 5. University Christian                       0-0     60 3 

      

   Others receiving votes: Glades Day (0-0) 48, Warner Christian (0-0) 24, Carrollwood Day (0-0) 6, First Baptist (0-0) 6.

Class 1A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Trenton (13)                               0-0     157 4 

 2. Blountstown (3)                            0-0     142 1 

 3. Dixie County                               0-0     113 2 

 4. Lafayette                                  0-0     107 NR

 5. Union County                               0-0     84 3 

      

   Others receiving votes: Baker School (0-0) 15, Port St. Joe (0-0) 13, Northview (0-0) 9.

August 14, 2014

Fort Lauderdale Flying Ls make push toward the next level

James Gardner

By Larry Blustein
Floridakids1@aol.com
There is no getting around the fact that Fort Lauderdale High's football program has a rich history that dates back over 100 years. The problem for many of the alumni through the years is that the growth of Broward County has taken its toll on the talent.

While prospects have come and gone through the years, the Flying Ls have always attempted to play on the rich traditions of the past, but as more and more schools opened - and the population began to shift toward the west, this is a program that had to scramble to get football talent locally, which was a tough assignment.

As most of the coaches who have tried to get some kind of momentum going through the years, it took one of its proud alumni to come back and see that vision. It has been open that if you build a solid foundation and make it fashionable to wear those white and blue uniforms, players would stay home and take pride like head coach Richard Dunbar has.

A graduate of the school Dunbar came back over the past five years to set down that foundation. To show that playing football at this school would pay off in a major way, and it has.

As the Flying Ls head into this year's season, they are indeed one of the favorites to win a district. That news in itself has gotten players, coaches, fans and alumni watching once again. This school does not win football districts. In fact, the sport of football has never really been a priority.

"We came in to change this culture," Dunbar said. "We wanted the players and this school to have pride in this program and understand that we can win games if the young men buy into the system and stay home."

Fort Lauderdale has always had the athletes, but having enough of them has been the problem. When the program sent linebacker Jaboree Williams to Wake Forest this past season, it put the program on the map. Now, using that momentum, Dunbar and the Flying Ls are looking to keep that going as they will roll out one of the most talented and deep programs the school has had in years.

Led by 6-4, 190-pound University of Cincinnati commit James Gardner, the team certainly has a reason to be optimistic after a tremendous off season that saw several players compete on 7-on-7 teams as well as grade out well at camps and combines.

"Having a prospect like James, who is a polished receiver, only helps add credibility to this program." Dunbar said. "Like Jaboree the past few years, he jumps starts this program, but he is not alone."

Fellow seniors such as Pomeroy Francis (OLB/SS, 6-0, 195) and two-way lineman Wajih Albaroudi (6-2, 265) are special. Albaroudi comes to Fort Lauderdale from Somerset Academy.

In addition, 2015 seniors include defensive back Devin Brown (5-11, 195) and versatile center, long snapper and punter Andrew Hales (6-2, 225) are key to this team as well.

With a solid and experienced senior class, Dunbar and the Flying Ls will also look toward the future - with an impressive underclass, led by talented receiver Junior Demelien, a 5-9, 165-pounder, who was spotlighted a number of times during the off season. Receiver Bradley Fleurinord (6-1, 185) is another player who stepped up over the past six months as well.

"We feel great with those young men who will be with us for the next two years," Dunbar pointed out. "You can really see the attitudes in this program change a lot."

While Demelien and Fleurinord are players Dunbar is excited about, Kevin "K.T." Thomas is the prospect who really brings plenty to this program. Not only is a tremendous defensive back prospect, but is also a kept on special teams as well as an athlete who can play quarterback if needed.

Thomas has already picked up interest from schools such as Lafayette, Dartmouth, Bucknell, Louisville, and Army. KT has great academics and is a kid that every coach would want in his program.

One of the younger players that this program is very excited about as the season approaches is Class of 2017 sophomore offensive/defensive lineman Torri Young. This 6-1, 225-pounder is going to be special and the Flying Ls will have him for three seasons.

"We approached this year with an attitude that we are now starting to turn the corner," Dunbar pointed out. "Now, we have to play hard and make things happen in a positive way, and I believe we are ready to do that."

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.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Southwest Miami Eagles soar back to the top of the district

Coconut Creek adds to a crowded District 15-6A race

NMB, Jeff Bertani never far from the top

Booker T. Washington Wins National NFL HSPD 7-on-7 Tournament

Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

August 07, 2014

Southwest Miami Eagles soar back to the top of the district

Southwest

By Larry Blustein
Floridakids1@aol.com
Before the 2013 high school football season began, all the players and coaches at Southwest Miami heard about was that Belen Jesuit was now part of District 15-8A and that things would soon change.

The stronghold that head coach Tim Neal and his team had started to have on the district was sure to loosen as the Wolverines, who had gone to the state title game in the past and had beaten schools such as Booker T. Washington, Norland and Miami Jackson, had this thing figured out and would jump up two classes to make things tough on the Eagles.

As any good program that was being built upon a solid foundation, Southwest Miami would hear no part of all those "experts" who figured they had it all figured out. This was not a team built on folding to better competition. Too much hard work and many hours were spent to ensure this program would be competitive.

From the start of the season, this was a team that had something to prove - reeling off impressive wins against Coral Park and district favorite Hialeah before that first ever district meeting with Belen. It was that game against Coach Rich Stuart's program that the Eagles thrust themselves into an elite spotlight. One that paved the way for convincing district romps over Sunset, Braddock, Ferguson and Varela, This team roared out to non straight wins.

"We knew that if we played our brand of football and kept the mistakes at a minimum, we could compete with anyone," Neal explained. "When you have the talent and the work ethic for the game like our young men had, things have a way of working out."

What last year's 9-2 season illustrated was that this was a team that could play at a high level. Football, while never a powerhouse at the school, has always had a way of producing key prospects and making things exciting. Even when the Eagles lost to its longest rival Coral Gables, 31-24, it was one of those games that remained close down to the end. In a series that has been more than one-sided over the years, Southwest Miami had finally closed the gap and earned the respect of a Coral Gables squad that was as talented as any 8A team in south Florida.

As the 2014 season unfolds, this is a team that is once again the favorite to reach the playoffs and chalk up another district title. Yes, Belen is loaded again, and many of the programs are better and will be up for the task, but the Eagles have several key prospects returning and younger players ready to step in and make a difference.

The senior class this year will really be the place to start on this team. This was the heart and soul of this talented unit a year ago with highly recruited quarterback D’undre Pickett-White (6-1, 190) defensive back Quindale Corker (5-9, 160), improved receivers Sam Flowers (5-9, 178) and Daquantay Smith (6-1, 190), and versatile all-over-the-field performer Trevon Sands (6-0, 180) making a huge impact.

"The core of what we have coming back is reason to make most coaches smile," Neal said. "But you also look at some of the other pieces and you feel a lot better as well."

Other seniors expected to make a major impact for the Eagles include receivers Jacob Nodarse (6-1, 175) and Dustin Suzara (5-9, 150), athletic Andres Perez (5-10, 175), linebacker Andres Pineda (5-9, 180), running back Kamari Flintroy (5-9 180), defensive backs Dimetri Rodriguez (5-9, 160), Justin Thomson (5-9, 175) and Wilson Palacio (5-10, 180), defensive lineman Disney Macias (5-11, 250), and offensive linemen Humberto Padraza (5-10, 215), Mario Treto (6-0, 215), Jake Perez (5-11, 200) and Christian Haugen (6-6, 270).

Class of 2016 juniors such as Varela transfer C.J. McWilliams (5-11, 170), linebackers Andrew Blanco (5-10, 180) and Willie Brown (6-0, 215), athletic James Barnes (5-7, 170), defensive back Austin Hudson (5-9, 170) and offensive linemen Tyler McVay (6-3, 240) will certainly add to the strength of this program.

Even the Class of 2017 will show up in the rotation with promising linebacker/safety Edwin Sosa (5-10, 170), kicker Antonio Garcia, quarterback/receiver Justin Worley (6-0, 165), receivers Manny Pineda (5-8, 160) and Amir Riviera (5-7, 150), defensive back Nathan Perdomo (5-8, 155), defensive lineman Ilan Jorge (5-11, 225), and offensive linemen Keanu Sullivan (6-1, 215) and Jonathan Reynoso (5-11, 230) making a difference. So will freshman safety Emanuel De la Nova (5-10, 170).

"We feel great about the upcoming season," Neal said. "There are a lot of key pieces coming back with a coaching staff that has worked very hard to get these players better."

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.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Coconut Creek adds to a crowded District 15-6A race

NMB, Jeff Bertani never far from the top

Booker T. Washington Wins National NFL HSPD 7-on-7 Tournament

Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

August 05, 2014

Anthony Molina selected to High School Showcase at Wrigley Field

Anthony Molina

BALTIMORE - Under Armour, Inc. (NYSE:UA), the Baltimore, MD-based leader in sports performance apparel, footwear and equipment, announced the addition of Anthony Molina (Somerset Academy) to its roster for the 2014 Under Armour® All-America Baseball Game, powered by Baseball Factory. The game will be played at Chicago'’s iconic Wrigley Field on Saturday, August 16th at 6:05 p.m. CST. This will mark the first time in its seven-year history the Under Armour All-America Game will be played at night, creating the ultimate Major League experience for the players and their fans.

The Under Armour All-America Baseball Game showcases 38 of the best high school players, competing in an American vs. National team match-up. The players are selected by a committee of Baseball Factory scouts. The game will air nationally on MLB Network on Sunday, August 17 at 7:00 p.m. CST.

Anthony Molina’'s long, lean frame produces fastballs that sit in the low 90s with outstanding life. He also has the ability to reach back for more and touch the mid-90s. His curveball has depth and he has a good feel for his change. This is a very exciting young arm.

Since the game’s inception in 2008, 185 of the 208 draft eligible players from the Under Armour All-America Game were selected in the MLB Amateur Draft including 51 first round picks. Top players that went on to sign professional contracts in 2014 include Tyler Kolek (2014 No.2 Overall Pick, Miami Marlins); Nick Gordon (2014 No.5 Overall Pick, Minnesota Twins); Alex Jackson (2014 No.6 Overall Pick, Seattle Mariners); Touki Toussaint (2014 No.16 Overall Pick, Arizona Diamondbacks); Grant Holmes (2014 No.22 Overall Pick, Los Angeles Dodgers); Foster Griffin (2014 No.28 Overall Pick, Kansas City Royals); and Michael Kopech (2014 No.33 Overall Pick, Boston Red Sox).

For more information on the 2014 Under Armour All-America Baseball Game, powered by Baseball Factory, please visit www.baseballfactory.com/allamerica/2014.

About Under Armour, Inc.
Under Armour (NYSE: UA), the originator of performance footwear, apparel and equipment, revolutionized how athletes across the world dress. Designed to make all athletes better, the brand's innovative products are sold worldwide to athletes at all levels. The Under Armour global headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland. For further information, please visit the Company's website at www.uabiz.com.

About Baseball Factory, Inc.
Baseball Factory has developed programs to provide players with world-class instruction and life-changing experiences, which when combined, lead to future success both on and off the field. Baseball Factory holds over 600 events nationwide each year in over 40 states and 100 cities. We pride ourselves on giving families an unbiased assessment of where they stand against other players nationwide. Baseball Factory events have featured more than 350 players who have played or are currently playing in the Majors and over 50,000 players have gone on to play at the college level. 99% of Division I, 70% of Division II and 60% of Division III programs have at least one Baseball Factory alumnus on their roster. Learn more at www.baseballfactory.com.

July 31, 2014

Coconut Creek adds to a crowded District 15-6A race

Malek Young

By Larry Blustein
Floridakids1@aol.com
Last year, when Kareem Reid looked at his Coconut Creek football team, he saw some talent and plenty of promise. This year, he views his Cougars as a program that can compete for a district title.

Playing in a district (15-6A) that is perhaps as prospect rich as you will find, Coconut Creek will look to improve on last year's 5-5 season that saw them drop key games in a district that was stacked with talent - including champion Dillard, runner-up Boynton Beach and a budding power in Hallandale, which was among the highest scoring programs in Florida. Add in Riviera Beach Suncoast and Stranahan - and this is a loaded district that may be as good as you get.

This off season saw Reid and his football program hit the group running. The Cougars - in "restoring the roar" - went out and added pieces to this already gifted program that could signal a change in some of those close games a year ago.

"We worked very hard in improving the roster and the attitude of this program," Reid said. "The athletes we had last year, combined with the key prospects added will give us the talent to stand toe-to-toe with anyone."

What the Cougars did in the off season was compete in everything from elite 7-on-7 events to working out and getting stronger and more talented.

While the underclassmen are going to be a huge part of the program, it's this group of seniors that will certainly make a huge difference. That experience and leadership may have been missing from last year's squad, but Reid insists, will be present this time around.

"We are very much counting on the senior class to provide that experience and overall leadership," Reid pointed out. "Players who have been through just about everything in this program."

Among the seniors what will be counted on heavily, includes transfers Korron Rozier (5-10, 185, Athlete) and linebacker Kermit Silva, a 5-11 210-pounder, who can give the Cougars a major lift.

In addition, players such as offensive lineman Huntley Sawyers (6-2, 300), defensive back/running back Marcus St. Louis (5-10, 175), linebacker Marcus Johnson (5-10, 205), defensive back Erskine Joseph (5-9, 160), receiver Aquani Barnes (6-3, 180) and defensive end David Wanliss (5-11, 195).

If you really want to see Reid and his staff smile, talk about the underclassmen. Prospects such as Class of 2016 standouts such as two-year starting quarterback Jhakari Harrison (6-0, 170) as well as nationally rated receiver Binjimin Victor (6-4, 170) and quality defensive back Trayvon Mullen (6-2, 170).

"We have an elite group of juniors, sophomores and incoming freshmen on this team," Reid pointed out. "We have to believe that this is as good a group of underclassmen as you will find."

In addition to Harrison, Victor and Mullen, the Class of 2016 will also feature versatile Malek Young (5-10, 175), defensive end Woodly Sully (6-3, 210), safety Alexy Jean-Baptiste (6-2, 190) and defensive lineman Darion St. Felix, a 6-1, 255-pounder.

The Class of 2017 has one of the nation's best in receiver Emmanuel Greene. This one-time youth football standout made a huge splash last season as a freshman and really caught fire in the off season with head-turning performances in the spring and summer, earning him many collegiate offers.

"Prospects like Emmanuel really make this program go," Reid explained. "While many have just watched him play 7-on-7, and have judged him off of what he did during those games, he is more impressive when the pads come on. He is truly an elite prospect and a pleasure to have in this program."

While there is plenty of optimism for the upcoming season, getting a playoff spot in this crowded district is certainly no guarantee, but the Cougars have shown that they are indeed ready to compete with anyone on the schedule!

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.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
NMB, Jeff Bertani never far from the top

Booker T. Washington Wins National NFL HSPD 7-on-7 Tournament

Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

July 24, 2014

NMB, Jeff Bertani never far from the top

Cedric

By Larry Blustein
Floridakids1@aol.com
Jeff Bertani has been around the sport of football all of hits life. You can say he was born into the game.

The son and grandson of head football coaches in Miami-Dade County, he has approached this sport in a manner of teaching, developing and winning. He learned - early on - as a player at North Miami Beach High - that you do not settle.

That approach has followed Miami-Dade's second longest tenured head coach through district titles and turning out perhaps more players to the next level and beyond than any other coach in south Florida.

Bertani's recipe for success is to give everything possible to the sport. He has demanded that from his players, coaches and of himself. That is the reason that every year, his North Miami Beach Chargers are in the mix.

When his team lost out on a playoff spot last year, it was something that didn't sit well with Bertani or his team. They all made a commitment to work harder than ever before - and the results - as approach the 2014 season - is that his team will be right in the mix.

With North Miami returning 16 starters from last year, the Pioneers head into this year as the favorite, but that tag has never meant much in a district that the Chargers have dominated through the years.

Even last year when North Miami finished unbeaten in the district and losing just once in the regular season, it was NMB that took them down to the wire. Look for the same thing to happen once again this year.

"The only thing that I have ever asked of my players is to give 100 percent and represent themselves in a first class manner on and off the playing field," Bertaini said. "I want the players on this team to be admired just as much for what they do in the classroom and in the community as what they accomplish on the football field."

With players like Louis Delmas now playing with the Miami Dolphins and others scattered around professional and collegiate football, Bertani is satisfied with what his players have learned throughout the years.

This year's edition of NMB football will once again be loaded with quality prospects that will play on both sides of the ball as well as participate on special teams. That is a trademark of this team that goes back to the beginning when he first started. He learned from the best - and has applied that during his time.

While there are a number of younger players who figure to keep the Chargers in the spotlight for years to come, it's all about this senior class that will assume the leadership role, which is very important to the success of this program.

"I have always looked to my seniors to help guide the way," Bertani said. "It is important to have people like Cedric Wiggins (QB/DB, 6-0, 190) to be a leader on this team.

Wiggins, the younger brother of former Charger standout Doug Wiggins, is a four year player who has already received offers from schools such as Alcorn State, UMass and UConn.

In addition to Wiggins, talented Emmanuel Lubin, a 6-1, 180-pound defensive back/receiver, is also a quality player with outstanding bloodlines. His brother E.J. Biggers, another NFL player, was tremendous for Bertani and there Chargers. Lubin currently holds offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Syracuse, Bowling Green and FIU.

Bertani coached teams have always had football players who give everything of themselves to help the program win. Seniors Bryan Soto (LB/TE, 6-0, 190), Duanne Jones (RB/LB, 5-11, 180) and Eric Fleurima (LB/FB,5-9, 180) are perfect examples.

Every year, NMB boasts some young players who will provide depth and leadership for the future. This year is certainly no exception - with a quality junior class - and a sophomore group that may be the best the school has had.

Class of 2016 prospects Voshon Reid (DL/ OL, 6-2, 250) and Kassy Desir (DL/OL, 6-2, 270) are already considered among the best in south Florida.

Sophomores Alvin Floyd (DB/WR, 5-11, 180), Tyrek Hepburn (DB/QB, 5-10, 175), Woodlyson Alcius (DL/OL, 6-4, 290) and talented Jordan Atkins, a 6-0, 190-pound linebacker/running back are as good as you will find. Atkins is the younger brother of one-time Charger standout Markeith Russell.

NMB is also starting a solid foundation with incoming freshmen Nickolia St.Fort (DB/WR, 6-0, 170) and linebacker/fullback Mitchler Morany (5-9, 190).

Have something to add to this Blog? Drop Larry Blustein a note at Floridakids1@aol.com.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Booker T. Washington Wins National NFL HSPD 7-on-7 Tournament

Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

July 20, 2014

Booker T. Washington Wins National NFL HSPD 7-on-7 Tournament

Phot1

Indianapolis, Indiana – For the second time in three years, the Booker T. Washington F-5 Tornadoes won the NFL HSPD 7 on 7 Tournament. The yearly event features representatives from all 32 NFL teams that play in an elimination tournament until one team is left. Each team must qualify by competing in a regional tournament in the host city, as well as completing the mandatory High School symposium.

Booker T. Washington qualified by going undefeated in the Miami Dolphins 7 on 7 tournament June 14th and 15th. They defeated Hialeah Gardens, American High, Western High twice and Champagnat Catholic before advancing to the quarterfinals at Sun Life Stadium on June 15th. After receiving a bye in the quarterfinals, they defeated Gulliver Prep 27-21 in overtime and then beat Miami Southridge 41-24 to win the Regional Tournament.

“Winning this game means a lot. We've got some great guys out there and they deserve this win,” Booker T. Washington coach Tim “Ice” Harris Jr said. "We've grown stronger as a team. We've worked hard and it's great to see that hard work pay off".

Advancing to the National Championship Tournament is nothing new to Booker T. Washington. In 2012, they went to Indianapolis under the pressure of trying to become the fourth straight Miami Dolphins representative to win the National Tournament. Booker T. Washington ended up beating the team representing the Detroit Lions to win the title and keep the streak alive.

After not qualifying for the National Championship in 2013, Booker T. went back to Indianapolis with one goal in mind and that was to bring the trophy back to Miami. In Pool Play, they dominated the competition by outscoring their opponents 272-86 and going 7-0. The scores for the games were:

Game 1: Miami Dolphins 38 New England Patriots 14
Game 2: Miami Dolphins 44 Buffalo Bills 7
Game 3: Miami Dolphins 38 New York Jets 14
Game 4: Miami Dolphins 41 Philadelphia Eagles 28
Game 5: Miami Dolphins 37 New York Giants 10
Game 6: Miami Dolphins 41 Washington Redskins 3
Game 7: Miami Dolphins 30 Dallas Cowboys 10

Tuesday morning, the tournament started off in divisional play with the Miami Dolphins playing against their AFC rivals in an elimination tournament. They beat the Buffalo Bills 31-10 and then the New England Patriots 34-28 to advance to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals they defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 37-17 to move on to the AFC Championship game against the Houston Texans.

The game against the Texans was close throughout with the score being 24-21 late in the second half. Maurice Alexander threw a touchdown pass to Mark Walton to give them a little cushion and then Terry Jefferson and Davante Davis sealed the game with back to back interceptions to give Miami a 37-21 victory. With the victory, Miami advanced to their fifth straight 7 on 7 championship game.

In the Championship, Miami played against Mallard Creek High School representing the Carolina Panthers. Alexander threw first half touchdown passes to Shaquille Green, Walton and Vaquan Smalls to give Miami a 24-7 lead at halftime. Carolina scored on their first possession of the second half, but that would be the last points they scored. Another touchdown pass from Alexander, this time to Antonio Callaway put them up 31-14 and then an interception by Callaway sealed the 34-14 victory by Booker T. and their second National Title in three years.

“To be able to not only go undefeated in the regional tournament but also the national tournament is a very impressive accomplishment”, Miami Dolphins Manager of Youth programs Troy Drayton said. “This is a team that won the district championship, state championship and national championship in 2013. To start off their 2014 football season this way is very exciting not only for the kids, but shows the hard work that the coaching staff is putting in.”

In the tournament, Booker T. went 12-0 and outscored their opponents by a total score of 445-176. They were led in receiving touchdowns by Walton with 15, Smalls with 11, Callaway with 11, Darius Scott with 9 and Green with 6. The defense was led by Jefferson who picked off 12 passes in 12 games. With interceptions counting as 3 points in the 7-on-7 format, Jefferson scored 36 points without playing a down on offense. Davis contributed with 4 interceptions and Ocie Rose and Callaway had 3 each.

Booker T. Washington will kick off their 2014 season in Chesapeake, VA against Oscar Smith High School and then will follow that up in Tucker, GA against Tucker High. They go into the season on a 26 game winning streak and have only lost once in the past two years.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!