While Fort Lauderdale High will never be considered a football powerhouse, there is more going on in the county’s oldest high school that many would never know.
This is a program that through the years, has had talent. But there was never a huge youth feeder program, and schools like St. Thomas Aquinas, Cardinal Gibbons and Dillard would pick off many of their student/athletes.
As many quality head football coaches have come and gone, it took one of its own to look past being a powerhouse and concentrate on developing the talent that came to the school. Richard Dunbar III bleeds blue and white. This is the job he wanted. He knew the community and understood that to be successful – in a district that features national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas – you had to bring something extra to the table.
“Everyone knows this school,” Dunbar said. “I tell all the students how fortunate they are to attend a landmark that thousands and thousands of students before them blazed trails – for decades and decades. It should be an honor every time they put on that uniform.”
What Dunbar has been able to do – since coming back to his alma mater – is lay down a foundation. Something that these talented athletes really needed.
From camps and combines – to 7-on-7 events, the Flying Ls attended everything. Dunbar wanted his players to get maximum exposure, and it has helped. From Wisconsin to Wake Forest and Miami of Ohio, Fort Lauderdale players have made an impact – and everyone is watching. They are also applauding what Dunbar and his program have done in the classroom.
Still batting St. Thomas Aquinas and Blanche Ely in competitive 7A, the 2017 season will once again watch the older players showcase what they have learned – while the younger group will prepare to be ready when needed.
While there are a few veterans returning, youth is front and center at quarterback – with sophomores Massimo Foerch and Gerard Nesbitt gaining experience.
The running game is also going to be young, but very talented. Senior Donnell Walters, and gifted juniors Lavelton Williams and Isiah Williams can do some damage. Williams is emerging into a big time back.
A veteran receiving corp starts with seniors Alonzo Clark, Deshawn Charmant, Wesley Eliodor and Andrew Golfin, Jr. There are also juniors Stanley Robinson and Cortez Gethers, and sophomore Richard Dunbar IV, who just happens to be the son of the head coach.
The key will be up front on the offensive line – where seniors Dominic Caprio (T) and Rosny Francois (G), super junior Kaleb Boateng (T), and sophomores Tyrell Crispin (G) and Luis Villar (G) have spent a productive offseason.
“The offense has potential,” Dunbar said. “But we will need a lot of younger players to step up for us – especially with our schedule.”
DEFENSE COULD MAKE A STATEMENT
If you look back over the past few years, you will see that the defense the Flying Ls have put together has been solid.
This year, things are in very good hands, especially up front. Seniors Gerrell Bones (DE) and Tristan Wood (DT) are talented, but so are juniors Demetris Dorceus (DE), Desmond Dorceus (DE) and defensive tackle Emmanuel Villatoro. All went everywhere in the offseason.
With seniors Onyxen Mercival (MLB) and Nopiel Taylor (MLB), and junior Eric Hernandez (MLB), the group of linebackers has some experience, and that is important.
Despite a few key losses, the secondary has some players who figure to make this team better. Seniors such as Michael Fils (FS) and Meshawn Neely (CB) are prospects that this team will look to for experience. Juniors Roy Gillyard (CB), Corey Graham, Jr. and David McFadden (S), and sophomore safety/corner Jason Moore, are all ready to make a contribution.
“I like what we did in our offseason,” Dunbar said. “But in order to be ready for our district and region, we needed to step our schedule up. We do it every year.”
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