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South Florida Football Teams Always Have Lofty Goals

Larry BlockSFHSSports: Twitter | Facebook

When it comes to high school football, there are so many states in the country that will tell you how theirs is better.

But when you've had the pleasure of watching "the best" every week for the past 40-plus years, you can pretty much figure out for yourself.

The Miami-Dade and Broward County regions have become such a fertile breeding ground for future professional athletes, the thrill of seeing games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday is truly worth waiting for – throughout the year. Last year, according to the NFL, South Florida had twice as many athletes competing professionally as anywhere else in the country.

This season, with all the big-time athletes and teams we have, could be the most exciting and dominating in years. Before ever getting out of South Florida and moving toward the state championships, all the top teams will either play one another or will be linked to those programs.

Central, Booker T. Washington, St. Thomas Aquinas, Boyd Anderson, Northwestern, Carol City, Southridge, Columbus, Deerfield, Chaminade-Madonna, Flanagan and others will in some way have the chance to prove which team is the best – and no other area in the country could boast that incredible stat.

It has long been the mantra of college coaches, nationally, that if you get a South Florida player – you are receiving someone who has been there and done that before.

As many dream of bringing home a district title – the pot at the end of the rainbow for South Florida teams has been national championships and state titles. Both Central and Booker T. Washington can make history with their fifth straight this season.

So, the next time you hear football programs across the country talk about their coaching and their multi-million dollar stadiums and facilities, ask them how many of their football alums are in the NFL or playing professionally.


After losing in the opening week of the season – in a kickoff classic against Miami Booker T. Washington, first-year head coach Pat Surtain and his football program, rated No. 1 among Class 5A schools in Florida, have started to put it back together.

Winning two weeks ago in Georgia was just what this team needed – and it carried over last Friday when the Patriots hosted nationally rated power Don Bosco Prep from Ramsey, N.J. From the start of the game, that defense that many had predicted as one of the best in South Florida, showed up as they dealt the Ironmen a rare shutout, 21-0.

"After that loss to a very good Booker T. Washington team, our focus was on the rest of the season – with no time to dwell on a preseason loss," Surtain said. "We know our defense is strong and athletic, but this schedule we have will have no days off. We have a very impressive Miami Northwestern team next."

2018 – Abraham Alce, RB
2017 – Will Allen, DB
2017 – Jason Brown, QB
2017 – Dontavious Butler, WR
2018 – Tyson Campbell, DB
2018 – Andrew Chatfield, DL
2017 – George Ellis III, DL
2017 – Darnell Fleury, WR
2017 – Willie Hampton, LB
2017 – Robert Hawkins, OL
2017 – Kai Leon Herbert, OL
2018 – Jordan Johnson, RB
2018 – Miles Jones, RB
2017 – Brandon Mincey, LB
2017 – Laress Nelson, WR
2018 – Jade Silvera, DL
2017 – T.J. Slaton, OL
2018 – Patrick Surtain, DB
2018 – Zack Zambrano, OL
2017 – Marco Wilson, DB

2017 – Wankeith Akin, Jr., WR
2018 – Kevin Brennan, RB/S/P
2017 – Eric Chakonis, DL
2018 – Tommy Courtney, RB
2017 – Casey Dana, WR
2017 – Tommy Devito, QB
2018 – Marcellus Earlington, DL
2017 – Liam Fornadel, OL
2018 – Tyler Friday, DL
2018 – Ian Grayson, DL
2017 – Connor Ruland, FB
2017 – David Sakowski, DB
2019 – Gavin Sharkey, DB
2017 – Elijah Singh, WR
2017 – Ahmad Swafford, LB
2018 – Tate Sweeney, LB
2018 – Elijah Thomas, RB
2017 – Marcus Valdez, DL
2018 – Tyler Williams, OL
2017 – Colin Wyka, DL


Before second-year head coach Max Edwards and his team can even think about getting to Orlando in December and playing for a Class 6A state title, there is plenty of work to do.

Work that will be needed to put the Bulls back in a position where they will be among the prime challengers every year.

Yes, last Thursday's 19-14 win over Class 8A power Christopher Columbus was huge. So was the domination of American and Class 7A power Dwyer the week before. You can even add in the convincing win over Delray Atlantic in the spring.

But as much promise as this very young team has, the Bulls will need to execute better on offense and stop letting scoring opportunities slip away. They rely on defense, but so do future opponents Central, Booker T. Washington, Carol City and Plantation American Heritage.

What Edwards has done was something that many predicted. Edwards is a defensive guru with the knowledge of putting a structure in place and getting the most out of his football teams.

The one thing that you can guarantee is that the Bulls will be back. Whether it's this year, in 2017 or 2018, this is a program loaded with talent and plenty of tradition.

2017 – Trajan Bandy, DB
2017 – Michael Flaherty, OL
2017 – Yael Gomez, RB
2017 – Max Gonzalez-Brito, TE
2018 – Zachary Castano, LB/LS
2017 – Austin Chacon, DB
2018 – Robert Crockett, DB
2019 – Darren Davis, Jr., RB
2019 – Willie Davis, RB
2019 – Jordan Griffin, LB
2018 – Tyler Harrell, WR
2018 – Joshua Jobe, DB
2017 – Connor McCormick, DL
2018 – Shawn McReynolds, LB
2018 – Tony Mills, DL
2020 – Henry Parrish, RB
2017 – Robert Perez, OL
2017 – Cole Quigley, DB
2017 – Marcelo Rodriguez, QB
2017 – Michael Rodriguez, DL

2017 – Andre Adams, WR
2018 – Chatarius Atwell, QB
2017 – Nigel Bethel, WR/DB
2019 – Samuel Brooks, DE
2017 – Travon Brooks, OLB/SS
2018 – Thomas Burns, DB
2017 – Taurus Dotson, DB
2019 – Mark Fox, OL
2018 – Ben Garland, DB
2018 – Avery Hall, OL
2017 – Harry Hanna, OL
2017 – Tyquan Hart, DB
2017 – Kai Henry, RB
2017 – Schneider Jonassaint, DT
2018 – Billy Joseph, LB
2018 – Aaron Lewis, RB
2018 – Demetrius Mayes, OLB
2018 – Derrick Nicholson, OLB
2017 – Demetrius Taylor, LB
2017 – Kevin Washington, DL


Coming into last Friday's 2016 season opener at home against North Miami Beach, the only thing that first-year head coach Dameon Jones and his football team had as a reference point was a kickoff classic loss to Class 8A power Deerfield Beach.

After sitting out the opening weekend of the season with a bye, the Lions got into the mix – starting their lengthy trek toward the Class 3A state championship game – beating a very competitive Charger team 30-20. Using a solid defense and an opportunistic offense, this was a win that the team needed.

"We needed that opening week off to continue getting things in order," Jones said. "The kids came out and made plays. Give NMB credit, they never folded their tents and will be a team to contend with this year in 8A."

The Lions have a challenging schedule this season, but the goal of every player since day 1 was to get to the state title game.

2017 – Joshua Ali, WR
2017 – Stephen Jean-Baptiste, OL
2018 – Marlon Cardoza, LB
2017 – Henry Columbi, QB
2019 – Tecory Couch, WR
2018 – Davoan Hawkins, OL
2017 – Julius Ianella, OL
2017 – A.J. Jancosko, OL
2017 – Anthony Johnson, DB
2018 – Brandon Lee, WR
2018 – Marlon Pelote, LB
2019 – Corey Prince, DL
2018 – Justin Richardson, DB
2017 – Bradley Royas, DB
2018 – Shaun Shivers, RB
2019 – Keontra Smith, S
2017 – Cody Watson, LB
2018 – Keyondre White, RB
2018 – Carlton Williams, LB
2018 – Xavier Williams, WR

2017 – Khalil Absolu, DL/OL
2017 – Woodlyson Alcius, OL/DL
2017 – Jordan Atkins, RB/LB
2018 – Kahric Belle, OL/DL
2017 – Brian Brown, DL/OL
2017 – Vinshaun Cobham, LB/RB
2018 – Frandy Deresias, LB/RB
2018 – Jean Desir, DL/OL
2017 – Alvin Floyd, WR/DB
2018 – Marvin Francois, DL/OL
2017 – Marcelin Guerrier, DB/WR
2019 – Ernest Labissiere, DB/WR
2017 – Fritz Merus, DB/WR
2018 – Wendell Morrison, QB/DB
2017 – Shaide Ramirez, DB/WR
2018 – Noah Samson, OL/DL
2019 – Leroy Wilson, DB/WR


Before last Saturday night's meeting with surprising Hallandale, Dillard head coach Lorenzo Davis gave the Chargers respect – and acknowledged that recently, his teams have had problems beating them.

But even though they had upset 8A power Deerfield Beach to open the season, and had done well so far under first-year head coach Benedict Hyppolite, there was no way that he didn't believe the Panthers couldn't win the game.

Despite having as many as seven starters on the sideline with injuries, Dillard came alive in the second half and handed Hallandale (1-1) its first loss of the year, 23-16.

While the win was important for 2-0 Dillard, the games that will mean anything are those in the district; and while many have already picked Boyd Anderson as an overwhelming favorite to win, Davis believes that his team is ready to make a statement.

"We have been setting the table for three years, and while we had players come and go, I have to feel that this is the best group we've had," Davis pointed out. "We also have to believe that this coaching staff is on the same page as well."

For the Chargers, they will continue the "process" – and Dillard heads to Lakeland Lake Gibson for a key meeting that will really show them how far they have come."

2018 – Roshard Branch, DB
2017 – Allen Brown, OL
2019 – Dave Clarke, OLB
2017 – Jacari Clayton, OLB
2017 – Frendy Darelus, DE
2017 – Denea Donaldson, OL
2018 – Moise Francois, QB
2017 – George Golden IV, RB
2018 – Reggie Grant, DT
2017 – August Jacques, OL
2018 – Deandre Jones, WR
2017 – Devin Jordan, OL
2017 – Abdul Leiba, WR
2017 – Tyree McNeil, DB
2018 – Bryce Oliver, WR
2018 – Timothy Scippio, WR
2017 – Derek Williams, FS
2018 – Lee Williams, LB
2017 – Jordan Wright, DE
2017 – Stephon Zayas, DE

2017 – Divyne Adderson, LB
2020 – Thaiu Jones-Bell, WR
2019 – Jarvis Brownlee, DB
2020 – Tywan Cash, RB
2018 – Tommy Govan III, DL
2017 – Kari Johnson, DB
2017 – Zaemione Jones, DB
2017 – LaDarrean Kendricks, OL
2018 – Treyonn Lane, WR
2018 – Legend Moore, QB
2018 – Aaron Morgan, DE
2018 – Nicholas Reed, LB
2018 – Raheem Richards, DT
2017 – Jairo Thomas, DL
2017 – Shemar Thornton, WR
2017 – Willie White, DB
2019 – Jaylin Young, WR

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