Through the years, there are very few National Football League teams who have been able to do what the Miami Dolphins have done – when it comes to the youth and high school athletes in South Florida and throughout the Caribbean.
With former Dolphin standouts Twan Russell and Troy Drayton, the relationships between the high schools and youth have never been better – and whether it’s as close as Miami or as distant as Fort Myers – this organization has a pulse on what these young men and women deserve.
Last weekend, which has become a yearly event, the Dolphins once again rolled out the welcome mats for many elite high school and youth programs.
On Saturday and Sunday, some of South Florida’s best high school football players and teams gathered at Central Park in Plantation for what has become a “summer must” for all the teams from Miami-Dade, Broward and the Palm Beaches.
For Western head coach Adam Ratkevich, the chance to attend an event like this was truly something that his team had looked forward to – attending every year since he has been at the school.
Ratkevich’s Wildcats are among the best 8A teams in the region for the season ahead. They have several big time football prospects who need to get tested by some of the best.
“What we committed ourselves to doing this offseason was to play in everything that all the ‘elite’ teams are playing in,” Ratkevich said. “We come and get in work against some of the best athletes – and teams – in the country.”
Miami Palmetto head coach Mike Manasco agrees. While he doesn’t play in many 7-on-7 events, competing in the Dolphins showcase is a must.
Manasco and his much improved squad have designs of not only getting to the post season, but like everyone else, wants that prize.
“By showing up here or at UM, I feel it is helping our players get better,” Manasco said. “You come here and get grouped with one of the best in Booker T. Washington, and then see teams like Norland, Miramar and Carol City, and this is what we need to get better.”
With Drayton and his tremendous staff working hard to once again make this a showcase, there are a lot of hours put in to running this. With the backing of Jason Jenkins and Russell, who really got this off the ground at the beginning, Drayton admits that this is that weekend where a lot of people circle on their calendars.
“You see it every year,” Drayton explained. “West Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade teams are always in the spotlight and they are here gaining an edge and playing very hard.”
While there were some elite programs, there were many that did not attend. Miami-Dade programs such as defending 8A state champion Southridge, defending state 2A runner-up Champagnat Catholic, Northwestern, Columbus, South Dade and Central could have enhanced things.
Broward programs such as Dillard, 7A state champion St. Thomas, Chaminade-Madonna, 5A state champion American Heritage and Deerfield were not on hand either. You would think that the local programs would want to represent in an event that the Dolphins certainly work hard to put on each year.
CAROL CITY WINS
As we told you yesterday, Miami Carol City won for the third consecutive time.
In addition to Miami Carol City and Miramar – the two schools that played in the finals – and Western and Palmetto, this event truly attracted some quality teams. Among those who spent this weekend playing elite competition included:
Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach)
Boyd Anderson (Lauderdale Lakes)
Carol City (Miami)
Dr. Krop (Miami)
Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens)
International School of Broward
Mourning (North Miami)
North Broward Prep (Coconut Creek)
Olympic Heights (Boca Raton)
Palm Beach Central (Wellington)
Somerset Academy (Pembroke Pines)
South Broward (Hollywood)
Stranahan (Fort Lauderdale)
Westminster Academy (Fort Lauderdale)
The event began on Friday with a symposium for high school student-athletes focusing on character development, practical life lessons and specific skill training.
THE YOUTH WAS TREMENDOUS
23 teams also competed in the youth tournament, which consisted of three age groups (10U, 12U and 14U). Rac Squad won the 10U, SFYF won the 12U and the Ft. Lauderdale Hurricanes won the 14U category.
2017 Miami Dolphins 7-on-7 Tournament Winners
1st Place 10U Youth: Rac Squad
1st Place 12U Youth: SFYF
1st Place 14U Youth: Ft. Lauderdale Hurricanes
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