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Blu's Blog: Miami Gardens Has Gained National Respect

Larry BlockSFHSSports: Twitter | Facebook

When it comes to high school football, South Florida is truly the epicenter in the country.

While all these areas of the nation continue to boast huge stadiums, decorated coaches and other distractions away from the fact that the end result is putting prospects into high-level college and ultimately in the NFL, South Florida goes out every week and makes a statement with more talent than any other region of the country.

When many refer to great football, they talk about the SEC. Alabama, LSU, Florida, Auburn and collection of elite players who end up being among the best in the nation. That is how most football fans view the competitive District 16-6A – where Miami's Carol City, Northwestern, Norland and four-time defending state champion, Central, reside.

Look at any district in the country – top to bottom – and the talent level is not even close to what fans have the chance to see every week during the football season in Miami-Dade County; and while the programs are watched and followed by every college coach in America, there are those who simply cannot grasp that a community like Miami Gardens is easily the most gifted in the country – and stats and facts back it up every year.

Miami Gardens is "home" to Carol City and Norland, but with youth football leading the way, many of these Miami Gardens athletes often end up at programs such as Monsignor Pace, Dr. Krop, Central, Jackson, Booker T. Washington and Edison. It has been that way for years – and with the outstanding talent that continues to pop up each year – it doesn't figure to end anytime soon.

As colleges and universities spend perhaps more time in South Florida during the spring and into the summer, all will tell you that if you get a Miami Gardens athlete on your roster, it's a sure bet that you will have a prospect who is ready to compete against anyone.

Central's recent dominating run was certainly not a mistake. Either has been the great football that Northwestern, Norland and Carol City have played throughout the years, winning state titles and sending marquee athletes on to the next level.

Miami Gardens athletes have survived through the years because of the tremendous youth programs that pave the way and prepare these young men to compete at the next level and beyond. What has happened on Saturdays at Bunche Park, Carol City, Golden Glades, North Glades, Scott Lake, Lake Stevens and other parks throughout the region is football players mature and have the chance to perform against elite football talent.

As California, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and even Georgia boast about the teams they produce – it is wise to check NFL rosters – which backs up the dominance of this district and the players who have competed in it.

It can be said that there is no other district that has more football prospects – top to bottom – than the true "SEC" of high school football – District 16-6A.

As many want pick Carol City's offense apart for not putting up the big numbers every week, let us keep in mind that the defense that head coach Aubrey Hill and his team roll out every week, has no rival.

The Chiefs all but wrapped up a playoff spot on Thursday night with another smothering performance, beating a talented Norland squad 16-6. But as everyone wanted to focus on an offense that has not been consistent, maybe checking out a defense that is one of the best nationally, should be talked about a lot more.

If you have watched the Chiefs play, you already know that they do not give up many yards, touchdowns or big plays - and that is the difference between this team and most. Even in the two losses they have this year – opening night at Coral Gables in overtime, and once-beaten Oxbridge – Carol City's defense held the teams to just over 100 total yards on offense.

With one game left in the district against always competitive Northwestern, look for this program to be one of the favorites to get to Orlando – and perhaps unseat a Central program that has been the standard in the state of Florida.

2018 – Yesiir Abdullah, LB/TE
2018 – Johaun Beresford, WR
2017 – Travis Bivins, DB
2018 – Mark Carter, Jr., DB
2017 – Handy Cheranfant, OL
2017 – Jerrod Clersaint, OL
2017 – Naytron Culpepper
2018 – Camron Davis, RB
2018 – Irshaad Davis, DB
2017 – Kevaughn Dingle, WR
2017 – Jason Dunios, OL
2017 – Jamare Edwards, DL
2019 – Lorenzo Floyd, QB
2018 – Terrence Horne, Jr., WR
2019 – Juwan James, DL
2018 – Leonard Lucas, OL/DL
2017 – Moris Lugo, LB
2017 – Harvey Martin, OL
2018 – Daequan Nelson, LB/RB
2018 – Montrell Newton, Jr., OL
2018 – Kewon Parker, LB
2018 – Randy Russell, DB
2018 – Marlon Smith, QB
2017 – Terry Straughter, LB
2017 – Donelle Thomas, DB
2017 – Victor Tucker, WR
2017 – Christner Valembrum, OL
2017 – Deandre Wilder, LB
2017 – Jonelle Williams, WR
2018 – Phenol Williams, WR
2019 – Nayquan Wright, RB

2017 – Tyrese Allen, DB
2018 – Wayne Barr, DE
2017 – Lytii Borders, RB
2018 – Alec Carr, QB
2017 – Rashad Colson, OL
2017 – Yhostin Diaz, WR
2017 – Quincy Dorneval, DE
2017 – Aaron Duncan, DB
2018 – T.J. Evans, RB
2018 – Chris Hall, DB
2018 – Artic Harris, OL
2017 – Marcus Hepburn, DT
2017 – Cedrick Jackson, OL
2017 – Noel Jennings, OL
2017 – Tevin Jones, LB
2018 – Reginald Lee, Jr., DT
2018 – Kevon O'Connor, Athlete
2017 – Dave Richards, WR
2019 – Larry Robbins, RB
2018 – Eric "Dank" Smith, DB
2019 – Larry Smith, LB
2017 – Jacquez Stephens, FB
2017 – Keith Thornton, LB
2017 – Romello Walton, DB
2019 – Darius Williams, OLB
2017 – Thomas Williams, DB

Going into last Friday night's key District 16-5A matchup with unbeaten Cardinal Gibbons, head coach Pat Surtain and his unbeaten American Heritage Patriots were out to show that they still own a district they have dominated for the past five years.

Despite a tremendous defensive effort for over three quarters by head coach Matt DuBuc and his Chiefs, the Patriots prevailed with timely offense and smothering defense in a 29-9 win, moving closer to yet another title.

As Cardinal Gibbons continues to push for a playoff spot, they will do it with a team that is young, but very talented – and by winning out – they could get another shot at American Heritage in the second round of the state playoffs.

For No. 1 rated American Heritage, which has struggled on offense this season, it's all about defense – and with playmakers all over the field – they have a shot at riding this all the way toward Orlando. But there is always a rematch with the Chiefs on the horizon – and that is something that everyone will be looking forward to.

2018 – Abraham Alce, RB
2018 – Josh Alexander, WR
2017 – Will Allen, DB
2017 – Jason Brown, QB
2017 – Dontavius Butler, WR
2018 – Tyson Campbell, DB
2018 – Andrew Chatfield, DE
2017 – George Ellis III, DL
2017 – Darnell Fleury, WR
2017 – Javier Garcia, OL
2017 – Willie Hampton, LB
2018 – Calvin Hart, LB
2017 – Robert Hawkins, OL
2017 – Kai-Leon Herbert, OL
2017 – Mike Hicks, DB
2018 – Jordan Johnson, RB
2018 – Miles Jones, Athlete
2017 – Brandon Mincey, LB
2017 – Laress Nelson, WR
2018 – Anthony Schwartz, WR
2018 – Jade Silvera, DL
2017 – T.J. Slaton, Jr., OL
2017 – Matt Solomon, WR
2018 – Patrick Surtain, DB
2017 – Marco Wilson, DB
2017 – Blake Wooden, DB
2018 – Zachary Zambrano, OL

2017 – Erik Andreassen, DL
2017 – Kamal Armstead, DB
2018 – Donnell Bennett, LB
2018 – Trey Bennett, OL
2019 – Chris Bogle, DL
2017 – James Bostic III, WR
2017 – Adrian Cedeno, DB
2018 – Griffin Cerra, PK
2019 – Rashon Crooks, DL
2018 – Eric Davis III, LB
2018 – Tavontae Decius, WR
2017 – Adam Fox, OL
2018 – Tommy Hankey, OL
2018 – Ronald Hardge, DB
2017 – Randall Haynie, DB
2019 – Willie Hepburn, OL
2017 – Daniel Larose, WR
2017 – Paul Lawless, LS
2017 – Milan Lemon, RB
2019 – Daton Montiel, P/DB
2017 – Diashun Moss, DB
2018 – Jordan Riggins, RB
2018 – Ryan Saddler, LB
2018 – Carlos Sandy, WR
2019 – Nikolas Scalzo, QB
2019 – Nico Scheesley, LB
2017 – Dave Small, LB/RB
2017 – Kevin Sullivan, DL
2019 – Jamari Williams, OL
2018 – Maxwell Worship, DB

When South Broward dropped a game earlier this season to rival McArthur – in a game they dominated for three quarters – players and coaches vowed that they would be right back at McArthur Stadium in November ready to show everyone the real Bulldogs.

With respect to Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy and Doral Academy, the two teams that the Bulldogs and Mustangs have to play in the first two rounds of the state playoffs, if South Broward shows up to play, and they have the past five weeks, they have a great chance to do exactly what they said they would do after losing that key district game to unbeaten McArthur.

With a ton of major college prospects and emerging young players in the starting – the Bulldogs know that if they keep mistakes and turnovers to a minimum – watch out!

"We know that we have a tremendous amount of talent on both sides of the ball, but we are also aware that in the McArthur game, we beat ourselves," head coach Devon Georgia said. "If you doubt that game against McArthur, I will be more than happy to send you the game film – and you can make that judgement for yourself."

Last Saturday, South Broward wrapped up a playoff spot with a 38-10 win over head coach Monte Dilworth and West Broward.

If the Bulldogs (6-1) are to advance in the 7A playoffs against Mater Academy, they will have to play a perfect game.

2018 – Zaequon Baker, RB
2017 – Destra Benoit, WR/DB
2017 – Jordan Carty, OL
2018 – Jeremiah Coleman, RB
2019 – Allen Crawford, RB
2018 – C'Journ Edwards, DL/LB
2019 – Mauro Gaetano, OL
2017 – Anthony Graham, DT
2017 – Dorian Hall, WR/DB
2017 – Josh Hernandez, OL
2017 – Jeffrey Lubin, DB
2018 – Chadarius Mackeroy, DB
2017 – Michael Martin, OL
2017 – Tylique McGowan, OL
2017 – Timothy Nelson, WR
2019 – Charles Norris, OL
2020 – Jerrold Pough, DB
2018 – Felix Ramos, DB
2019 – T.J. Smith, QB
2018 – Davon Strickland, OL
2017 – Antavious Tarver, DB
2017 – Tramain Williams, DB

2017 – Kenly Aris, LB
2019 – David Boatwright, DE
2017 – Zachary Chisholm, PK
2017 – Dylan Daley, DB
2019 – James Darr, OL/DL
2019 – Braden Davis, DE/OL
2017 – Julian Hernandez, OL/DL
2018 – Eric Hoff, DB/WR
2018 – Tremaine Major, DE
2017 – Kevin Matthews, Athlete
2019 – Khwan Mikens, DB
2019 – Jason O'Keefe, WR/S
2018 – Joseph Ortiz, OL
2018 – Austin Plugge, OL
2017 – Ryan Plugge, OL/DE
2017 – Daniel Richardson, Athlete
2019 – Dominic Tianga, LB/RB
2018 – Ja'Corey Washington, DL
2017 – Jaquari Weatherspoon, DB/RB
2018 – Jevani Witter, DB
2017 – Derrick Wright, Athlete


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