By Larry Blustein

larry block6 ON THE RISE: Miami High Stingarees

If you have followed high school football in South Florida for any length of time, you already know all about Miami High – and what the Stingarees have meant to football in the entire state of Florida.

Back in the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and into the early part of the 1960’s, this program dominated the landscape of football. If you were a top flight talent in this area, you played for Miami High – and many did.

What Miami High accomplished through all those successful decades – with national championships and All-American players – was set a trend that others would follow through the decades.

But while there was early success – this is a program that got caught up in the growth of Miami. No longer was the population satisfied to live in “downtown” – not with “suburbs” like Coral Gables, Alapattah and Little River thriving with new homes and the promise of a great community  – so Coral Gables, Miami Jackson and Miami Edison were the first area schools to benefit from what Miami High had built.

Miami High, not only as a football program, but as a school, had stars from every walk of life – and that was part of the mystique they carried with them for nearly six decades.

Remember, this is a school that is home to football stars such as Jim Dooley (NFL head coach and player, Chicago Bears), Atari Bigby, Lindy Infante (NFL head coach, Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts), Jamaal Jackson,  Andre Johnson, Lonnie Jonson, Marquand Manuel, Roscoe Parrish and many others.

It has also had its share of baseball players, but none greater than Al Rosen, a 4-time major league All Star and MVP.

Basketball has been king for years at Miami High – and with alumni such as “UD” – Adonis Haslem, Steve Blake, Doug Edwards and Final 4 head coach Frank Martin (University of South Carolina), the Stings are still representing.

The school has also had its share of movers and shakers such as Gil Amelio (CEO of Apple Computer), the great Desi Arnaz (I Love Lucy), John Dasburg (CEO of Burger King) and Bob Graham (Florida Governor and US Senator) to name a few.

While the football program never returned to the kind of glory and dominance many had been used to in the beginning, the athletes have been here through the years. And, while there were spikes of having the talent to do some big things, they fizzled.

As the 2017 season unfolds, the Stingarees are back in the spotlight, and one of its former players has returned – and things look extremely good for a program that made a lot of noise in the offseason.

Former Michigan State and NFL star Sedrick Irvin, who dazzled fans in his days as a high school back at Miami Southridge and Miami High is back, and in his first season, he is ready to contend.

“We came in here and told everyone that if they reached their potential, big things can happen,” Irvin explained. “A lot has to fall in place, and several people – on and off of the playing field – have to do their jobs. If that happens, good things will happen.”

The optimism centers around a number of transfers to the program that now becomes one of those 8A team that will battle for the chance to get to Orlando in December.

DEFENSE WILL SET THE TEMPO

While we expect the Stingarees to be explosive on offense, it’s the defensive side of the ball where this team is stacked with big time athletes.

Leading the way up front are seniors Durhan Chavez, Alexander Martinez, Isiah McDonald and defensive end Caleb Rutherford.

Juniors Xzavier Day, Gio Gonzalez (DE), Dennis Perez and Justin Tobar (DE) are solid. So is sophomore Raheem Berry.

With seniors Antquan Kinsey (MLB) and Dante Wilson leading the way, the linebackers are going to be solid. Add in juniors Leslie Smith (OLB) and Christopher Valdes (MLB) and things get better.

The secondary will be very athletic and have tattle everywhere. Seniors John Crawford (S), Derek Gainous (CB) and Andrew Reese, Jr. (S) are joined by juniors Andrew Bloodsaw, Jr. (CB), Devenson Cadet (FS) and Louie Louisaint (CB). Watch talented sophomores William Glover and Theion Kendrick.

PLENTY OF OFFENSE TO SPREAD AROUND

When it comes to offensive football, Irvin is right in the middle of it as he showed at Westminster Christian. He is huge up front and skilled everywhere else on the field.

Senior quarterbacks Isaias Castellon and Southridge transfer Tre Payne will see action.

The running game has been elevated in a major way with the addition of senior Johnny Ford, junior Marcus Barthell, and sophomores Roscoe Parrish, Jr. and George Young.

The receiving corps is talented as they showed in the spring. The group of seniors include Keythan Drayton, Jr., Lamont Finnie, Jr., Bernard Marshall, Myki Morno and Manny Santiago.

The strength of this unit will be up front with nationally-rated junior transfer tackle Dontae Lucas leading the way. Seniors  Amilcar Corton (G), Leonard Lucas (T), Ronaldo Marquina (G) and Khauron Prospere (G). Junior center Fernando Perez is also going to add to the line as well.

As if this team doesn’t have enough talent, sophomore athletes Trenod Desrosier and Marcus Fleming can play anywhere on the field.

There is plenty of excitement these days around Miami High, and while they know that beating Columbus and rival Coral Gables will never be easy, the Stingarees and Coach Irvin know it can be done.

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!

south florida high school sports ON THE RISE: Miami High Stingarees

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