Through the years, Stranahan’s football program was never considered to be a power that would be picked to win the state title each year. But the Dragons would be an opponent that you just did not was to play.
Loaded with quality athletes, this is a football team that certainly had its share of talented prospects and very good coaches along the way.
Three years ago, many felt that this program would finally turn the corner. There was plenty of talent and a lot of interest from those students who came to the school because of the educational opportunities it provided. But for one reason or another, things never got off the ground.
With several student/athletes leaving for other options, this football team would never survive – losing nearly every prospect they had. Even with the announcement that a new coach was hired, athletes continued to find their way to other programs.
As new football players would leave almost every week, Taliaferro “Tally” Adams Jr. walked the halls of this fabled school – and while nobody knew who he was – or really cared – this is someone who came to town, and he wasn’t going to be intimidated.
From the beginning, Adams, who had tremendous success as a football coach and teacher, tuned out all the outside distractions. He made sure to tell his football players that it is an honor to attend a school like Stranahan and play for the football team.
He has motivated and taught the players the way he was taught and preached that hard work would win out. All along, he never talked about what he was doing – and made sure his players kept everything within the team.
Three weeks ago, Adams and that Stranahan team that people considered junior varsity and not having enough talent, made a statement by winning Airo 7 on 7 State Championship, qualifying for the national tournament in July.
While it may NOT put them in a class with district foes American Heritage and Cardinal Gibbons, it did get the attention of many in South Florida.
“Since I arrived, we have been working toward small goals and achieving them – and then moving on to the next,” Adams said. “I told this team that we would meet all challenges and continue move forward.”
Moving forward is what the Dragons have done – and while much of their success has come in the offseason – the roster continues to improve and the process moves along.
What Adams has done may be a surprise to some, especially in South Florida where nobody knew who he was, others knew all along that he would be a success – from the moment the got the job.
“We knew Tally from around the Daytona Beach area, and if you followed his career long enough, you will see how he wins everywhere he goes,” said Coach Darry Evans, who coaches at Orange City University School. “He understands the game as well as anyone – and he conveys it to his players. He is out to make these athletes better men!”
This is a football team that has a little of everything. Solid skill players as well as emerging linemen.
Athletic Maurquel Dillard is a Class of 2018 standout who can play all over the field. The same can be said for versatile (WR/CB) Class of 2018 performer Milton Cook, and 2018 defensive end Uchenna Ezewike.
Quality prospects such as J’Veion Johnson (LB/RB, 2018), Dontay Watson (RB/LB/DT, 2018), Freddie Sears (CB, 2018), Ginial Isma (CB, 2018), Adonnis Mahoney RB (2018), Kyle McGregor (WR/LB, 2018) and Edward German (WR, 2018) are difference makers as well.
The senior depth will be evident with a number of football players who will be helping this program get to that next level. Among those athletes we will be watching in 2017 will be: Jacquez Dillard (DT/DE/RB), Kye Sims (OL), Jorge Carballeda (OL), Kevin Jaquet (OL), Gabriel Zuniga (OL), Sam Swiney (OL), Donavan Bobo (OL), Josue Pierre (OL), Jay Lovett (DT) and Demeatris Jenkins (LB).
The Class of 2019 also has some rising prospects who have already made a difference. Prospects such as Jonathan Solomon (athlete), Jyiquon Griswell (running back), Dionte Henderson (FS/WR), Eric Barton (CB/FS), Trevantae Cunningham (LB), Tre Brown (FS/SS), Devine Freeman (RB/LB), Matthew Keaton (QB/WR) and Jaquan Brayboy WR/DE (2019).
Also in the 2019 class are Julian Bastain (OL) Loubert Exantus OL (2019), Alphonso Brown (LB) and kicker/punter Christian Calix. Keep an eye on 2020 offensive lineman Anthony Roberts as well.
LOOKING FOR SOME HELP TO GET TO CANTON
With the state title under their belts, the Dragons are now looking to go to the Airo 7 on 7 National Championship Game in Canton. Ohio on July 15.
These young men have worked so hard to get to this point, and for many, it would the first time they have been on an airplane and away from home.
Anyone can help donate to the account at Wells Fargo Bank #7797708818! The team needs just $7,000. You can also head to the Go Fund me account: https://www.gofundme.com/stranahan-7-on-7-ntl-championship.
Catch the South Florida High Sports Radio Show each Monday night (9-10) on WQAM (560AM). For the past 10 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot!