May 16, 2015

Prospects give Valdes solid foundation as he takes over at Coral Reef

It’s clear that coach Javier Valdes is the right man for the job at Coral Reef.

With two years of head coaching experience building Mater Academy’s program to the point of its first playoff appearance last season, Valdes takes over at Coral Reef, a program that has seen success in recent years but then fell on tough times with a 2-8 season in 2014.

A new coach, a new district (15-8A) and solid prospects in a talent-rich neighborhood in the south has football at the Reef back on the rise.

“The guys have already taken into the culture and the mentality that we’re trying to build and are working really hard,” Valdes says. “I feel like there’s a lot of talent here that was untapped, and I think if you give them the system, they buy in and they work their tail off, they start building championship habits. Good things are going to follow.”

--Harvey Clayton Jr., a 2016 athlete who already lists offers from Louisville, Temple and Alcorn State, tops the senior class for the Barracudas.


At 6-2, 185 pounds, he already has ideal size and ball skills to translate to a cornerback that could match up with possession receivers at the next level.

Offensively, he lines up at wide receiver and can go up and get a ball over a defender in single coverage – like he did at one point in the end zone in Saturday’s scrimmage.

“We’re expecting a lot of big things from him – not only as a leader on the field – but as a playmaker,” Valdes says. “I think Harvey gives us an X-factor any time we line up on Friday nights.”

N.C. State, Miami and Cincinnati have also shown interest recently.

--2017 linebacker/safety Colvin Alford received his first offer from Temple on Tuesday and has received interest from the likes of Nebraska, Florida, Miami, USF, N.C. State, FIU and FAU.

After watching him, it’s obvious why so many schools like him as he heads into the summer between his sophomore and junior years. At 6-0 and close to 200 pounds, Alford presents Coral Reef with versatility on defense both at linebacker and safety. He had an impressive interception on a poorly thrown ball at the scrimmage.


“Dynamic playmaker, he’s got a physical presence but he’s athletic enough to cover at safety or outside backer,” Valdes says. “He makes plays in the box, he makes plays all over the field. Eventually he’ll be making plays with the ball in his hands.

Alford lists Nebraska as an early front-runner once he gets an offer from the Corn Huskers.

--Brian Castro, a 2016 leader on the offensive line at 6-2, 250 was a beast on Saturday.

“Real smart football player and student,” Valdes says. “He plays physical and is the leader of the offensive line, brings the nastiness and is going to help our power run game.”

--Randy Shannon Jr. was out on the field playing middle linebacker and wearing his father’s old No. 22 that Randy Shannon wore as a Hurricane.

With his father now the defensive coordinator with the Florida Gators, one might assume he may end up at UF – if not through scholarship, as a preferred walk-on – but Valdes says the scholar athlete who brings “a calming presence” to the defense will likely go a separate route.

“They don’t want to play for each other; they’re going to make it their own way,” he says – a notion that Shannon Jr. himself confirmed to me.

Shannon Jr., a 6-0, 215-pound 2016 prospect, has seen interest from FIU, FAU, Buffalo, Georgetown, Cornell, Colgate and Fordham.

--Coral Reef has a slew of talented 2018 prospects that its new coaching staff can surely build upon. There’s quite a few to list, but two that really stood out to me were running back Jordon Donaldson and lineman Jaylaan Williams.

Donaldson possesses the vision, burst and ability to make sharp, quick cuts. Williams is an absolute monster at 6-3 and weighs between 280 and 290 as he wraps up his freshman year; he was seen lining up at left tackle.

--2016 RB Mehki Ervan runs with a low center of gravity at 5-7 and can run a defender over if he doesn’t meet him with proper technique. He also has great footwork.

Coral Reef will hold its spring game on Wednesday against Edison at Harris Field.

May 15, 2015

Talented crop of Miramar Patriots flourishing this spring

Miramar held its spring classic on Friday afternoon, and by watching the kids play and the coaches conduct the scrimmage, you couldn’t tell this is the same team that had to forfeit its playoff game last season due to sanctions by the FHSAA for an academic scandal.

Former Booker T. Washington defensive line coach Pierre Senatus has taken over as head coach, cleaned up the program, brought his winning mentality to a program that has seen plenty of winning and the scandal is behind the Patriots.

I’ll have more on how Miramar has moved on from that in the coming week, but first let’s focus on some of the athletes that stood out, some of which have had to wait their turns to finally blossom because of the players they've been behind on the depth chart in past years.

--I was very impressed with 2017 safety Brian Edwards, who already looks like a college safety on the field. He showed great range in his pursuit, going from sideline to sideline.

Syracuse was impressed too. With a coach at the scrimmage, the Orange offered him Friday. Edwards added to an offer sheet that includes UM, Clemson, Cincinnati and interest from South Carolina and Alabama among others.

--A pair of 2016 Patriots were offered by Coastal Carolina on Thursday in defensive end Terrell Lucas and offensive lineman Obinna Nwankwo.

Lucas is already 6-2, 231 and has a tremendous motor off the edge. Nwankwo is 280 pounds and paves a hole with force when a runner gets behind him.

--Miramar’s projected starter at quarterback, senior University School transfer D’Angelo Fulford, looked smooth with his delivery, flashed a gifted arm, showed some escape ability and stood even taller than his impressive 6-1 frame in the pocket.

All he needs to do is continue to learn the Patriot’s tempo offense and put the right touch on his deep ball to connect with his speedy receivers.

--Fulford connected with 6-4 senior receiver Kyle Anthony for two touchdowns at the scrimmage. Anthony displayed tremendous rapport with Fulford, ability to go up and use his body to get the ball as a possession receiver, and Senatus said he also has developed chemistry with Caleb Thomas when he is at quarterback.

Anthony picked up three offers at the FIU scrimmages last weekend – Colgate, Florida A&M and Alcorn State –  and is getting looked at by “all the HBCUs and all the Ivy League schools,” according to Senatus, but one would imagine his recruitment will explode in not time with his size and skill set. Anthony has a 5.0 grade-point average to go with all his tools on the field.

“His skill set, his speed, he has that tremendous ball radius, phenomenal burst, great route-running, great ball recognition,” Senatus says. “We feel we have one of the top receivers in the state of Florida right now.”

--Senatus calls 2016 cornerback Korel Smith “the honeybadger.” At the scrimmage, he presented his ball skills with an acrobatic interception in the end zone in single coverage.

--Senatus added that the cornerback combination of Smith and 2016 recruit Shemar Jean-Charles is one of the top tandems in the Southeast United States.

--Linebacker Deshondre Pitts is a beast at linebacker, shedding off blocks in the box and ripping through the line for tackles for loss. Pitts is also a captain on defense and earns the praise of both Senatus and defensive coordinator A.J. Scott.

“He has some of the highest football IQ that you’ll see in the United States. He is a coach on the field. He’s our field general,” Senatus said. “The intensity and the tenacity that you’ll see him bring on the field is some of the best that you’ll see in the country.”

*Pitts is driving the Miramar equipment crew crazy, breaking his own facemask and the facemask of a teammate running back all in the past week.

Canes get 2018 commitment from Jalen Patterson

The Miami Hurricanes learned Friday that they picked up their fourth commitment in the Class of 2018 and it comes from Citra North Marion athlete Jalen Patterson.

Just a freshman last season, Patterson, who plays both sides of the ball but projects as a defensive back, already looks the part of an elite recruit on film with his blazing speed and pursuit of the ball.

"Two words: Big time," said North Marion coach Stephen Field, former head coach at Miami Northwestern. "Just an all-around athlete with great instincts, and he's physical."

Added Patterson on his game, "I like to hit." He's been told by coaches they like his speed and athleticism.

Patterson got the offer on Thursday and on Friday decided to join a class that consists of two other DB commits in University School's Al Blades Jr. and Thomas Burns from Northwestern, who is the brother of current Cane Artie Burns.

In an interview with Rivals, Patterson said, "I wanted to commit right away when they offered."

With his Signing Day so far in the future (Feb. 2018), he added "it's going to be hard" for another school to catch UM by then.

He told me: "I like their defense, especially their defensive backs."

He has other early offers from Oregon State, West Virginia and Mississippi State and says Alabama is about to offer.

May 09, 2015

Archbishop McCarthy boys' volleyball reaches state final

A tired but determined Archbishop McCarthy boys’ volleyball team defeated Orlando’s Timber Creek, 3-1, on Saturday, advancing to the 2015 state championship game.
The Mavericks (20-8), who defeated fellow Broward power Monarch late Friday night – the match ended at 10:50 p.m. – was back at Pine Crest at 9 a.m. on Saturday to prepare for a noon contest against Orlando’s Timber Creek (23-5).
“I got just six hours of sleep, maybe less,” said McCarthy outside hitter Michael Moreiras, who had 15 digs and 11 kills – both team highs – in the Mavericks’ 3-1 win over Monarch. “I was playing that whole (Timber Creek) match really tired. I just had to push through it.”
Tired or no, the Mavericks beat Timber Creek, 25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23.
The match ended at 2 p.m., and – rather than a post-game speech – McCarthy Coach Karen Frank had just one word for her team:
“Eat,” she urged her players. “Eat!”
The McCarthy players were set to return to the court at 4 p.m. to play Orlando’s Bishop Moore (22-5) for the title.
McCarthy has never won a state championship in boys’ volleyball, although the Mavericks did make the 2011 final, losing to Seminole Ridge in five sets.
Bishop Moore has had a less hectic schedule at state as compared to McCarthy. Bishop Moore played its quarterfinal match at 4 p.m.on Friday and its semifinal at 10 a.m. Saturday. It will be more rested than McCarthy in the final.
“Nothing that quick and nothing this serious,” Moreiras said when asked if he had played on such short rest before, especially in a game where the stakes are as big as a state final. “We have to push through this.”

May 07, 2015

State boys' volleyball preview


The boys’ volleyball state championship, which will be played out Friday and Saturday at Fort Lauderdale’s Pine Crest High School, features eight teams – six of them from South Florida – and no clear favorite.

Tampa’s Berkeley Prep beat Longwood Lyman for the 2014 title, but both of those schools failed to make it back to state. Also missing is Orlando’s Dr. Phillips, which was 25-0 before getting upset in the district playoffs.

Of the eight teams that will be at Pine Crest this weekend, only

two - Timber Creek (2009) and Bishop Moore (2010, 2012) - have won state titles. Both of those schools are from Orlando.

“It’s up for grabs,” Palmetto Coach Chris Kallinosis said of the tournament. “Usually there’s a strong favorite or two. But I think there are at least five teams who have a legitimate shot.”

Palmetto (19-7) got perhaps a tough draw by having to face Bishop Moore (20-5) in Friday’s quarterfinals. Bishop Moore swept Berkeley Prep to get here. But a further look reveals that Palmetto beat Bishop Moore 25-15, 25-22 during the regular season. Bishop Moore also lost to Wellington, a team Palmetto beat.

In addition, Palmetto has 6-6 senior outside hitter Devin Decker, a player Kallinosis considers to be the best in the county.

“He’s been starting for us all four years,” the coach said.”He’s a force at the net. He’s our captain and a big reason why we are at state.”

Wellington (18-8) takes on Mourning (24-6) in the other part of Palmetto’s side of the bracket. Mourning beat Wellington 2-1 earlier this season.

Mourning has won eight matches in a row. During that streak, the Sharks beat Southwest and Palmetto, avenging earlier losses to those teams. They also beat Berkeley Prep.

But the Sharks, who lost to Bishop Moore in the 2013 state quarterfinals and Lyman in last year’s state semifinals, were 0-3 against Orlando teams this season, losing to Dr. Phillips, Bishop Moore and Apopka.

The other half of the bracket features Monarch (21-2) against Archbishop McCarthy (18-8) and Timber Creek (22-4) vs. Columbus (24-2).

Monarch is the surprise team of the tournament. The Knights went 2-13 in 2012 and 3-13 in 2013 before posting a winning record last year.

This year, they won a district title for the first time in program history, but they have yet to play a team outside of South Florida.

They lost in straight sets to Wellington in their only matchup against a team currently at state.

McCarthy is back at state for the first time since 2012. From 2009 to 2012, the Mavericks lost to the eventual state champion four years in a row: Timber Creek, Bishop Moore, Seminole Ridge and Bishop Moore.

In terms of common opponents with Monarch, McCarthy has the edge having beaten Wellington 3-1.

Columbus, which reached the state semifinals in 2012, may have the toughest challenge of all the local teams in its matchup with Timber Creek, which is led by 6-5 junior Michael MacGillivray, a Division I prospect according to his coach.

McCarthy Coach Karen Frank, who has seen every team at state play this season, believes it will be a “close” tournament.

“At the beginning of the year, everyone was talking that it would be a Lyman-Dr. Phillips final, and neither of those teams are here,” she said. “I think all eight teams have the ability to advance to the final.”

February 22, 2015

State boys' basketball tournament schedule


When: Tuesday through Saturday.

Where: The Lakeland Center, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland.

Admission: $10 per session; Parking: $8.

Defending state champions – Class 8A: Winter Park; 7A: Oviedo; 6A: Miami Norland; 5A: Plantation American Heritage; 4A: Orlando Lake Highland Prep; 3A: Weston Sagemont; 2A: Orlando Christian Prep; 1A: Malone.

Tuesday’s schedule – Class 1A semifinals: Chipley vs. Malone, 10 a.m.; Hawthorne vs. Crescent City, 11:30 a.m.; Class 2A semifinals: Land O’Lakes Academy at the Lakes vs. Orlando Agape, 2:30; Miami Christian vs. Sarasota Christian, 4; Class 3A semifinals: Orlando First Academy vs. Jacksonville Providence, 7; Sagemont vs. Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, 8:30.

Wednesday’s schedule – Class 4A semifinals: West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman vs. Fort Myers Dunbar, 9:30 a.m.; Tallahassee Godby vs. Melbourne Holy Trinity, 11 a.m.; Class 1A final: 5:05; Class 2A final: 8:35.

Thursday’s schedule – Class 3A final: 9:30 a.m.; Class 4A final: 1:05; Class 8A semifinals: Oviedo Hagerty vs. St. Petersburg, 7; Hollywood McArthur vs. Wellington, 8:30.

Friday’s schedule – Class 5A semifinals: Tallahassee Rickards vs. Tarpon Springs, 10 a.m.; Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons vs. St. Petersburg Gibbs, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A semifinals: Gainesville vs. Orlando Edgewater, 2:30; Miami Norland vs. Tampa Jefferson, 4; Class 7A semifinals: Blanche Ely vs. North Port, 7; Kissimmee Osceola vs. Oviedo, 8:30.

Saturday’s schedule – Class 5A final: 10:05 a.m.; Class 6A final: 1:35; Class 7A final: 5:05; Class 8A final: 8:35.

February 16, 2015

Miracle Sports 2015 Florida state softball rankings

Here is the first Miracle Sports softball poll for the 2015 season.


1. Bloomingdale 4-0

2. Miami Coral Reef 4-0

3. Oviedo Hagerty 5-0

4. Palm Beach Gardens 4-0

5. Jupiter 4-0

6. Lake Worth Park Vista 3-0

7. West Orange 4-0

8. Orange City University 7-1

9. Boca Raton 3-1

10. Tampa Alonso 4-1

Honorable mention: Cooper City 1-1; Boone 4-1; Tampa Wharton 4-0; Wellington 2-1, Douglas 2-1.



1. Tate 4-0

2. Fleming Island 5-0

3. Viera 8-0

4. St. Thomas Aquinas 2-1

5. Fort Myers 4-0

6. Harmony 3-1

7. Hialeah American 3-0

8. Melbourne 5-1

9. Tampa Gaither 4-0

10. East Lake 6-1

Honorable mention: Coconut Creek Monarch 6-0; St. Cloud 4-0; Lakewood Ranch 4-0; Dwyer 2-2; Niceville 2-0; Winter Park Lake Howell 3-1; Clearwater Countryside 3-0



1. Pembroke Pines Charter 5-0

2. North Fort Myers 4-0

3. St. Johns Creekside 4-1

4. Ocala Forest 4-0

5. Gainesville 4-1

6. Lake City Columbia 5-1

7. Orange Park Oakleaf 4-1

8. Pace 5-1

9. Lake Minneola 5-0

10. St. Johns Bartram Trail 5-0

Honorable mention: Auburndale 4-1; Lake Region 3-2



1. Plantation American Heritage 2-0

2. Gulf Breeze 5-0

3. Baker County 6-0

4. Clay 3-1

5. Ponte Vedra 2-1

6. Suwannee 4-1

7. Bradenton Bayshore 4-0

8. Panama City Arnold 3-0

9. Rockledge 4-1

10. Nature Coast 4-0

Honorable mention: Eustis 3-1; Riviera Beach Suncoast 2-1



1. Gulliver Prep 0-0

2. Astronaut 5-0

3. Bradford 3-0

4. West Florida 3-1

5. Cocoa Beach 4-1

6. Jacksonville Bolles 1-0

7. Fort Myers Bishop Verot 4-1

8. Alachua Santa Fe 4-1

9. Tallahassee Florida High 4-1

10. Fort Pierce Lincoln Park 2-1

Honorable mention: Miami Monsignor Pace 5-0; South Sumter 4-1; Montverde Academy 3-2



1. Miami Westminster Christian 3-1

2. Melbourne Central Catholic 3-0

3. University Christian 4-0

4. Tampa Prep 4-0

5. Lake Worth Christian 3-0

6. Carrollwood 0-0

7. Rocky Bayou Christian 1-0

8. North Florida Christian 2-2

9. The First Academy 4-1

10. Moore Haven 3-1

Honorable mention: Northside Christian 2-1; Seffner Christian 3-1



1. Canterbury 2-0

2. Aucilla Christian 1-1

3. Grandview Prep 0-0

4. Seven Rivers Christian 2-0

5. Academy at the Lakes 2-1

6. Foundation Academy 2-0

7. Pine Castle Christian 0-0

8. Glades Day 1-0

9. Orlando Christian 0-0

10. Seacoast Christian Academy 1-0



1. Chiefland 0-0

2. Williston 4-1

3. Sneads 2-1

4. Lafayette 3-1

5. Dixie County 3-1

6. Wewahitchka 3-1

7. Union County 2-0

8. Port St. Joe 1-0

9. Jay 0-1

10. Holmes County 2-0

Honorable mention: Pierson Taylor 4-2; Trenton 3-2

February 15, 2015

State girls' basketball tournament schedule and info

When: Tuesday through Saturday.

Where: The LakelandCenter, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland.

Admission: $10 per session; Parking: $8.

Defending state champions – Class 8A: Miami High; 7A: Apopka Wekiva; 6A: Orlando Edgewater; 5A: Bradenton Southeast; 4A: Jacksonville Ribault; 3A: Miami Country Day; 2A: Boca Grandview Prep; 1A: Paxton.

Tuesday’s schedule – Class 2A semifinals: Land O’Lakes Academy at the Lakes vs. Tallahassee FAMU, 10 a.m.; Boca Raton Grandview Prep vs. Sarasota Christian, 11:30 a.m.; Class 3A semifinals: Miami Country Day vs. Clearwater Calvary Christian, 2:30; Seffner Christian vs. Jacksonville University Christian, 4; Class 4A semifinals: Jacksonville Ribault vs. Orlando Lake Highland Prep, 7; West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman vs. Fort Myers Dunbar, 8:30.

Wednesday’s schedule – Class 1A semifinals: Hilliard vs. Wildwood, noon; Paxton vs. Freeport, 1:30; Class 3A final: 4:35; Class 4A final: 8:05.

Thursday’s schedule – Class 1A final: noon; Class 2A final: 3:35; Class 7A semifinals:HainesCity vs. Wekiva Apopka, 7; Fort Myers vs. Palm BeachLakes, 8:30.

Friday’s schedule – Class 8A semifinals: Orlando Colonial vs. Flagler Palm Coast, 10 a.m.; Miami High vs. Boca Raton, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A semifinals: Winter Haven vs. Pensacola Pine Forest, 2:30; Miami Norland vs. Naples Barron Collier, 4; Class 5A semifinals: Land O’ Lakes vs. Jacksonville Paxon, 7; Fort Lauderdale Dillard vs. Bradenton Southeast, 8:30.

Saturday’s schedule – Class 7A final: 10:05 a.m.; Class 8A final: 1:35; Class 6A final: 5:05; Class 5A final: 8:35.

February 12, 2015

FABC/Source Hoops Boys' basketball state rankings - Final reg. season poll

Here's the final FABC/Source Hoops Boys' basketball rankings until after the playoffs
CLASS 8A                        
1. Evans  22-6
2. Wellington 24-3
3. McArthur  23-7
4. Dr. Phillips 19-8
5. Newsome  23-1
6. Winter Park  18-9
7. Oak Ridge  20-7
8. Park Vista 19-8
9. Ocoee  21-5
10. Wharton  23-4
10. Hagerty 20-8
CLASS 7A                        
1. Blanche Ely  23-0
2. Bartow  24-3
3. Dwyer  23-4
4. Lakeland 20-5
5. Osceola  19-4
6. Miami Central  22-4
7. Oviedo  22-5
8. Melbourne 20-5
9. Freedom 21-6
10. Lake Worth  18-9
CLASS 6A         
1. Lake Minneola  23-4
2. Gainesville  24-3
3. Deltona  23-4
4. Pines Charter  17-8
5. Wolfson  24-3
6. Ed White  17-6
7. Norland  18-8
8. Lehigh  24-1
9. Edgewater 22-5
10. South Fork  19-2
1. Cardinal Gibbons  28-1
2. Dillard  21-6
3. Tarpon Springs  27-1
4. St. Pete Gibbs  18-8
5. Rutherford  23-3
6. Mariner  21-6
7. Bishop Kenny 19-6
8. Jesuit 21-6
9. Atlantic 20-5
10. Lakewood 13-10
1. Godby  28-0
2. Cardinal Newman 22-1
3. Bolles 24-2
4. Jacksonville Jackson  24-3
5. Coral Springs Charter 17-6
6. Chaminade-Madonna  22-6
7. Berkeley Prep 21-6
8. Cocoa 23-4
9. Lake Highland Prep 19-9
10. Ocala Trinity 21-6
10. Holy Trinity 19-7
1.  Providence  28-1
2. Sagemont  25-3
3. First Academy  23-4
4. Tampa Prep  21-6
5. Florida Air Academy  19-4
6.  International School of Broward  13-4
7. Windermere Prep  18-9
8. Oxbridge Academy 23-3
9. Cardinal Mooney  16-2
10. Master’s Academy 22-4
1. Champagnat Catholic  24-1
2. Miami Christian  20-4
3. Grandview Prep  23-3
4. Zion Lutheran  19-6
5. Faith Christian  16-5
6. Orlando Christian Prep  16-11
7. Calusa Prep  14-6
8. Southwest Florida Christian  21-5
9. Sarasota Christian  17-8
10. Agape Christian 21-3
10. Atlantic Christian 17-4
1. Chipley  24-3
2. Hawthorne  25-2
3. West Gadsden  25-2
4. Paxton  23-2
5. Graceville  22-5
6. Malone  17-9
7. Hamilton County  20-7
8. Crescent City  18-4
9. Cottondale
10. Williston 16-11

February 06, 2015

Jon Jay, Gio Gonzalez to attend charity game at Columbus Saturday

Gio Gonzalez and Jon Jay are taking a moment before the start of the Major League Baseball season to help kids in need.

The two famous Miami-Dade County baseball alums will be coaching when Columbus High hosts a Miracle League baseball game Saturday morning at its school's baseball field in support of children with special needs.

The game will be played at 11 a.m. and will be attended by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Marc Buoniconti, President of The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, who will each throw out the game's first pitches along with Columbus School President Brother Kevin Handibode.

Each Miracle League player will be paired up with one of the Columbus varsity players who will be their "buddy" and who will assist the player throughout the game both on and off the field.

For more information about joining a team, volunteering during games or supporting the Miracle League of Miami Dade, please visit