By Larry Blustein

larry block6 FALL SPOTLIGHT: Defense Drives Northwestern To The Top

Moments after his team defeated rival Booker T. Washington 14-7 at “The Mecca” – Traz Powell Stadium last Friday night, Max Edwards spoke the truth – and nobody was surprised.

After over two weeks of enduring the wrath of Hurricane Irma, football returned to South Florida – and a marquee matchup played out over three hours.

As most of the region is on the road to recovery, Northwestern showed why this brand of football is so exciting. It isn’t the 40 and 50 plus outings and 300 yard passing game. Not when elite teams get together.

“It’s all about defense, and we feel that we have one of the best you will find,” Edwards said. “Our secondary is as good as you will find.”

Once again the theme was defense – and the team speed that goes along with it. The fact that when any of the area powers meet on the field, you will find these type of games – where one play can make a difference – and on Friday that difference was senior quarterback Tutu Atwell.

Headed to Louisville after this season is over, the versatile quarterback who moves the chains when needed, kept this program undefeated – with his legs and arms, heading into the national showdown this week with IMG Academy in Bradenton.

Atwell is indeed a once in a generation athlete. He weighs 150 and is one of the toughest football players you will find. He is blinding fast – and that is what separates him from anyone else who plays the position.

“He is a winner,” Edwards said. “Tutu does what is asked of him – and that is why he is so well respected by everyone – everywhere.”

The Atwell factor may have been the difference against a Booker T. Washington team that is also one of the best in the country, despite losing by a total of 10 points to the Bulls and Miami Central.

But at the end of the day, let us not forget about the defensive unit that Edwards and this team trots out each week. One that can make record-setting quarterback Daniel Richardson mortal – or take away big plays throughout the course of a game.

This defense begins up front with seniors Jeremiah Harris, Quinton Brooks and Walter Fowles; and gifted juniors Calijah Kancey and Germain.

The ends also make a huge impact, led by one of the best in the country in junior Samuel Brooks, Jr., who dominated against the Tornadoes. Also, seniors Derrick Nicholson, Zechariah Esdaille, Nho’J Joyner, Courtland Faison and UCF-bound Demetrius Mayes, Jr. are nearly impossible to slow down.

With several linebackers departing from last year’s team. This year’s group of linebackers has the potential to be dominating.

Seniors Marlon Pelote and Jalen Kelly are solid. So are juniors Keyon Jackson and Deondre McDuffy.

As solid as this program is up front, the secondary that the Bulls have put together is amazing.

Led by University of Florida commit Divaad Wilson, who came up with two interceptions against Booker T. Washington.

The Bulls also feature seniors Larry Robbins, Sharod Oliver, Darius Cook, Jr., Rachad Wildgoose, Tyquan Hart, John Jocin, Jermaine Williams, Keon Armstrong, George Coleman and Errol Whiley.

Junior Tyrus Clinch and sophomore Demarcus Fleming are also gaining valuable experience.

GETTING OFFENSIVE TOO

Even though the marquee teams in Miami-Dade and Broward are defensive-oriented, there are also some quality offenses as well.

Besides Atwell, the Bulls are loaded up front with seniors Tyquan Cooper, Terron Carey, Avery Hall and Kemani Mathis.

Junior Mark Fox is one of the best in the country. Jonathan Guyton and Pedro Marte are also very impressive. There is also sophomore Gecolbe McKinnis.

The running game is also a source to be happy about – and the success of the team will depend on seniors Corey Hammett, Aaron Louis, Willie Scott, Kevin Johnson and speedy junior Jaquez Stuart and gifted sophomore Winsome Frazier.

The receiving corps has a lot of potential – with senior running back Kiaryn Davis playing slot again this season, but this unit needs to start coming up big in huge games. Seniors Quavon Beckford, Demarco Harris, Derrick Davis and Versatile Justin Hill are capable of doing some big things.

Juniors Ernest Balkman, Dwight Jackson, Ricky McKnight, Victor Thompson and Christopher Everett have potential as well.

Senior Kendry Rosales is a solid kicking specialist.

BOOKER T. WASHINGTON PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT

2018 – Jaquan Beaver, LB

2021 – Andre Borregales, PK

2021 – Jacorey Brooks, WR

2018 – Mantavious Brown, DL

2018 – Willie Davis, RB

2020 – Jovan Ferguson, WR

2021 – Donnell Harris, DE

2020 – Wati Huggins, DL

2020 – Eddie Jackson, Jr., DB

2018 – Tyler Jackson, DL

2018 – Cyril Jones, RB

2020 – Tavaris Lark, LB

2021 – Antwan Massie, DB

2018 – Jermaine McMillan, DB

2018 – Rodney Monpremier, OL

2018 – Tavares Phillips, DB

2019 – Travis Pittman, LB

2019 – Daniel Richardson, QB

2019 – Jaylin Richardson, WR

2018 – Emilio Rodriquez, OL

2018 – Tyquan Thornton, WR

2018 – Zahir Turner, WR

2018 – Cedric Walker, DB

2018 – Terrell Williams, DB

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: Defense Drives Northwestern To The Top

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