By Larry Blustein

larry block6 FALL SPOTLIGHT: Miami Central Rockets Are Loaded

For those football fans, as emotional as they can be at times, who felt that Miami Central’s run was over, it may be time to take a step back and gather your thoughts.

The Rockets are not finished – and while the Chaminade-Madonna trouncing last Thursday to open the season was billed as the battle of the “state rated titans”, Central, winners of four of the past five 6A titles, is looking at the bigger picture.

While Chaminade-Madonna has talent, and are well coached, there is a reason why head coach Roland Smith and his Rockets have dominated the landscape of football locally, statewide and nationally for the past decade, sending prospects all over the country to play at the next level – and beyond.

This is a program that has the deepest and most talented running game in the country. Go ahead, try and dispute it. You will lose! Every back, starting with senior James Cook, has D1-level pedigree. Really!

What the Rockets showed out of the gate in 2017 is that they are not here to play around. No more leaving their fate in the hands of other programs. Easier said than done, but to go through the gauntlet that is their schedule, which includes Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, and by far the toughest district in America, you have to have some balance on offense, and this year there is no question.

In addition to Cook, the Rockets will feature senior Willie Davis, junior Lexington “Flex”  Joseph, sophomore Kijon Owens and one of the nation’s best freshmen in Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes youth standout, Amari Daniels.

Just in case you needed more depth, the Rockets have seniors Abdul Anthony and Alex Mattison as well.

Senior Tijuane Morton and junior Maurice Underwood are both very capable at the quarterback position and have three years of varsity experience each.

The receiving corps will be inexperienced, but with gifted seniors Terrell Perriman, Chaii Bland, Hollywood Hills transfer Zeryus Coleman, athletic Seth McGill and Ki’Dron Moore-Shuler, there is plenty of talent.

The junior class is also quality with Jaylin Johnson, Giovany Ribalta, Caleb Desir, Matthew Harvey, Shamal Zaragosa and Cedrick Gernard.

If you traced the reason for the success of this program over the years, it’s up front on the offensive line. This year is no exception as this group will provide the protection – while opening holes to run through.

Leading the way for this unit are senior standouts Taurrian Stafford, Jaylin Thelmas and Maurice Smith – as well as Starreak Moncrieffe and Yvensky Gedna.

There are also juniors Trayvon Taylor, Carlos Boothe, Bertly Dorelius, Skylar Richardson and Ronnie Dunn. Sophomores Lawrence Seymore and Demetrius Morrow who are expected to be huge additions as well.

DEFENSE HAS ALWAYS BEEN STINGY

In the run to four straight 6A state titles, the Rockets always made it about defense and how few points they could yield. Well, it’s back! With an infusion from Flanagan and a few other programs, this is a unit that will not give up a lot of points, which is the theme of the district they compete in.

Up front, you have people that will get after you and stop anything big from happening. Senior standouts Dwyane Boyles (DE) and Malik Edwards are joined by Jeremiah Youngblood, Kaelon Mazelin, Trevon Allen (DE), Rahji Hepburn, Dorote Rollansky and Jaelin Creighton.

Rising junior standout Tatum Bethune (DE) is joined by Kyndal Farrington (DE), Andre Auguste (DE) and Michael Powell.

The Rockets have produced some elite linebackers over the years, and this year, there is a lot to choose from. Led by elite talent Robert Hicks, the Rockets are loaded wth playmakers. Prospects such as Malik Poag, Narrio Walks and Randy Crawford.

Class of 2020 playmaker Janvier Hernedy is going to be special as well.

The place that the Rockets will dominate is in the secondary. You have some of the best and most athletic prospects who will define this unit.

The senior class is big time serious with Chandler Jones (CB), Christopher Metayer (S), Arthur Brathwaite (S), Davonte Wilson, Hunter Goetz, David Green (CB), Amir Augustin (CB), Michael Williams (S), Kristallion Valentin (S) and Darnell Vickers.

Juniors Derrick Dansby, Jaylin Harrell, Joey Ware and Einsley Joseph will be needed. Freshman Elijah Vaughn is also going to be special, too.

OPPONENT PROSPECT WATCH: CHAMINADE MADONNA

2018 – Marvin Alexander, WR

2019 – Dominick Bruzzi, LB

2019 – Tecory Couch, DB

2018 – Zachary Dixon, LB

2019 – Ernest Fielder, S

2018 – Logan Giordano, WR

2018 – Davoan Hawkins, DL

2019 – Ahmaud Jordan, DB

2018 – Daniel Longman, PK

2019 – Patrick Ottey, DB

2018 – Corey Prince, DT

2018 – Justinn Richardson, DB

2018 – Shaun Shivers, RB

2019 – Keontra Smith, DB

2020 – Deatrick Stanley, WR

2019 – Cameron Williams, DE

2019 – James Williams, DB

2018 – Xavier Williams, WR

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 FALL SPOTLIGHT: Miami Central Rockets Are Loaded

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