Blustein: District Games Raise The Bar In South Florida

Larry BlockSFHSSports: Twitter | Facebook

After three weeks of playing non-district competition, the “second season” – if you will – began throughout South Florida this past week.

District games, where one loss could truly put a damper on those postseason plans, started in full force throughout Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. The rehearsals are over and as many took to the field on Thursday and Friday – the stakes were raised.

The race to get to Orlando officially started for many of the teams who had prepared for this over the past 10 months – since Flanagan beat Kissimmee Osceola for the Class 8A state title in the final game of the 2015 season.

Because every district is different, the weekly grind is never going to be easy. While there are but three schools in District 14-7A – St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale and Blanche Ely – others are not so fortunate.

Some districts have four and five teams, so losing once may not be the end of the year.

As many coaches embrace change in this current system that could easily send a 3-7 team to the playoffs, the idea of having the teams in a region advance based on their records, is something that everyone would love to see.

“There are very few areas in this country where schools with a losing record are rewarded with a playoff spot,” said Hialeah head coach Steve Smith. “I would really like to see it where if you win 7 or 8 games, you are not sitting home while a 3- or 4-win program gets to go to the playoffs because they finished second in a weak district.”

SOUTH BROWARD – MCARTHUR, PART 1?
This is in no way a cut to any of the Class 7A programs in Miami-Dade, which right now favor Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy and Doral Academy – but if you are going to beat either McArthur or South Broward in the playoffs this year, you had better bring your A-plus game.

In losing for the first time this year, 24-21, to the Mustangs, head coach Devon Georgia won’t even hesitate when talking about a rematch that will come up at McArthur in the second week of November.

He knows that Doral or Mater doesn’t have a quarter of the major college talent he has on his team. But the one-time South Broward standout also realizes that if you don’t get it done on the field – nobody cares.

While head coach Leron Culpepper and his Mustangs moved to 4-0 and pretty much wrapped this district title up (with Cooper City, West Broward, Hollywood Hills and Nova left on the district slate), what his team learned is that the Mustangs can play four quarters – and if you expect to beat them, you had better be prepared to do the same.

Big plays and defensive stands were the reasons that this team came from behind – and it wasn’t one or two plays that determined the win.

“We knew that if we executed and played football the way we have since the spring, we would come out with a win,” Culpepper said. “Big victory on homecoming night, but this is just a small part of where we want to be at the end of the season.”

McARTHUR PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2018 – Dantae Banton, DE
2018 – Craig Cooper, RB
2018 – Jaquan Denson, WR
2018 – Makya Ellis, OL
2017 – Steven Evans, CB
2017 – Chris Johnson, OL
2019 – Deon Jones, QB
2019 – Estmane Lucdor, WR
2017 – Emil Martinez, DT
2018 – Wilson Martinez, OLB
2018 – Jamaree Miller, LB
2018 – Hansky Paillant, OL
2017 – Nick Simpson, DE
2018 – Ethnic Sands, Jr., WR
2017 – Tayshon Sessions, DE
2017 – DeAndre Smith, CB
2018 – Jesse Smith, OLB
2018 – Zayvion Wallace, S
2018 – Dominick Watt, WR/DB

SOUTH BROWARD PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2018 – Destra Benoit, WR/DB
2017 – Jordan Carty, OL
2018 – Jeremiah Coleman, RB
2019 – Allen Crawford, RB
2018 – C’Journ Edwards, DT/LB
2017 – Najha Edwards, RB
2017 – Anthony Graham, DT
2017 – Dorian Hall, Athlete
2018 – Akeem Hayes, WR
2017 – Josh Hernandez, OL/DL
2017 – Jeffrey Lubin, DB
2018 – Chadarius Mackeroy, DB
2017 – Tylique McGowan, DL
2019 – John Moran, OL/DL
2017 – Demethry Neeley, LB
2018 – Timothy Nelson, WR
2019 – Charles Norris, OL
2017 – Patrick Pare, OL
2017 – Dennis Robinson, WR/DE
2019 – Tyrese Smith, QB
2017 – Antavious Tarver, DB
2017 – Tramain Williams, DB

NORTH MIAMI COMES UP WITH A KEY DISTRICT WIN
Give head coach Ed Williams a quarterback who can throw the ball and watch his offense flourish.

After the graduation of standout Hilton Joseph two years ago, Williams and his North Miami Pioneers had searched for a replacement who could throw the ball. Last year, the team struggled to move offensively. And as this year began, many didn’t know what to expect from this program.

After last Thursday’s key 20-8 win over district rival Hialeah, the Pioneers had won for the third time in four games this season. They had also thrown for nearly 200 yards with senior Tyberius Horne leading the way.

“We add more balance – pass/run than most believe,” said Williams. “Our running game went for over 100 yards again, so while it appears that we are passing much, much more, there is added balance.”

While the win was very important – with head coach Steve Smith and his Hialeah T-Breds always being competitive – this district race is far from over.

Dr. Krop and North Miami Beach also figure to be obstacles – with American, which won the district last year, rebuilding after the loss of 11 starters who departed, in addition to the seniors.

HIALEAH PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2018 – Franco Acosta, OL/DL
2017 – Rommeo Brown, RB/DB
2017 – Marlin Davis, WR/DB
2017 – Zario Dorismond, OL/DL
2017 – Eugene Lark, OL
2018 – Henderson Lorfils, DB/WR
2018 – Jason Lubin, WR/DB
2019 – Jordan Lynes, DE
2019 – David Martinez, OL/DL
2017 – Deandre Miles, QB
2018 – Bobby Nelson, RB/LB
2018 – Kasey Obstaint, TE
2017 – Xavier Oliver, LB/RB
2017 – Terrell Quinn, WR/DB
2018 – Nicholas Rivera, DE
2019 – Samses Rizo, OL
2017 – Aldontae Robinson, WR/DB
2018 – Angel Rodriguez, OL
2018 – Omar Rosete, TE/DE
2017 – Manuel Trueba, DE
2019 – Jyzion Wade, QB/WR
2017 – Tyler Williams, DB/WR

NORTH MIAMI PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2017 – Brian Charles, DE/LB
2017 – Andieusone Cheri, LB
2017 – Jean Colson, WR
2019 – Elijah Deravil, DB
2019 – Ronald Fanfan, WR
2017 – Scottie Felix, DB
2017 – Omar Graham, DB
2017 – Tyberius Horne, QB
2018 – Derrick Jackson, RB
2018 – Alvin Johnson III, WR
2019 – Karon Johnson, QB
2017 – Erick Joseph, DB
2017 – Mitch Louis, OL/DL
2018 – Demetrie Massey, OL
2018 – Marquis Medina, DB
2018 – Rolph Michel, LB
2018 – Andy Pierre-Antoine, WR
2019 – Makenlove Petit-Ford, WR
2019 – Kacey Prospere, OL
2017 – Anthony Rodriguez, WR
2017 – Matthew Smith, DE/LB
2019 – Jacquez Stuart, RB
2020 – Renald Toussaint, OL
2017 – Larry Williams, WR

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