By Larry Blustein

 Larry Blustein SFHSSports: Twitter | Facebook

When Jase Stewart was hired to take over as head coach at Doral Academy, the football community in South Florida knew that it wouldn’t be long until the Firebirds started to make some noise.

What happened last year, in his first season, is this team, which had an amazing amount of young talent in the starting lineup, won – and they won some more, and by the time the year had ended, they had finished second in the district, losing late to then unbeaten Hollywood McArthur.

What had happened – in one year – is Stewart used all the things he had learned along the way from some great mentors and applied it to a very talented program in 2016. He also surrounded himself with quality coaches who knew South Florida as well as anyone.

“We made sure that when we took this job that the coaching staff was paramount,” Stewart recalled. “It was huge for us to all be on the same page when it came to football. It was a tremendous season that set the table for 2017.”

The table is indeed set for this coming year – and while 7A is once again going to be a challenge in the race to represent the south in Orlando – this program now believes it can compete with the best.

As there are several tremendous prospects on the offensive side of the ball, the defense has some big time athletes who are going to be counted on heavily.

Starting up front with Class of 2018 standouts Ariel Garcia (DE) and Juan Torres (DT).

Also, the Class of 2019 has athletes who matured and are ready. Athletes such as Andres Lehrmann (DE) and Michael Lopez (DT), and Class of 2020 standout Cheyenne Lecour III.

As a few players moved out from the linebacking corps last year, this season’s group will be young, but extremely talented.

Class of 2019 standouts Oscar Garcia, Max Murillo, Goleman transfer Bryan Reinstrom, Zamareeh Odoms, and Jethro Joseph (Class of 2020) are all underclassmen with playing time.

The secondary will be very young, but the talent level is amazing – with Class of 2018 team leaders Brandon Dominguez (S) and Antwan Rolle (CB) leading the way.

The Firebirds also boast Class of 2019 prospects Kevin Arcia (CB), standout Wendol Philord (CB) and safety Johnathan Nunez. The 2020 class is led by big time safety Harry Henderson – and 2021 cornerback Tim Burns.

One of the elite Class of 2021 kickers nationally, Joshua Lopes, and Class of 2018 standout Christian Ramirez are just part of an emerging special teams’ unit.

THE OFFENSE WILL IMPRESS!

The loss of Angel Alvarez at quarterback will hurt, but the Firebirds believe they have one that will lead as well.

Senior Miles Hayes has had the chance to do his thing in the offseason, and has turned heads. He comes in from Punta Gorda Charlotte High, on Florida’s west coast.

What Hayes wants to do is give stud 2020 running backs Shemar Paul and Juan Henry a chance to contribute.

Talking about contributions, the group of receivers this program has are amazing, and like other places on the team, there are numerous youngsters.

Leading the are Class of 2019 standout Tavares Bradley, Shawn Hampton, Myles Smith and the already big time Breion Fuller. Add to that group, 2020 star Khalil Brantley and senior Natavious Payne and wow!

Perhaps the most experienced part of this unit is up front, where this team has seniors Erik Vento (G) and Carlos Jacoby (T).

Look for Class of 2019 standouts Reginald Wimberly (T) and Andres Chavero (C), and Class of 2020 guard Ryan Nunez.

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!

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