By Larry Blustein

larry block6 FALL SPOTLIGHT: Do Not Sleep On The Norland Vikings

Norland head football coach Darryl Heidelberg has been around long enough to know that no matter how much you talk, eventually you will have to back it up.

That’s why last Saturday night’s win over American was so important to the players and coaches who, like everyone else, had to endure a tough three weeks.

When previewed in the summer, this team was an afterthought when speaking about competing for a coveted 6A playoff spot. But now that moment has arrived – and while defending state champion Carol City has gotten off to a solid start, Northwestern has turned heads, at a national level, and Thursday’s (tonight) opponent, Miami Central, which has played better opponents in the first four weeks than anyone in the nation.

For this Norland program to be in the conversation, they will have to pick off one of the favorites, and nobody on that Viking sideline doubts they can’t do it.

“I told these players that we do not talk,” Heidelberg said. “We have worked hard, just like anyone else, and have done well against some solid teams. We’ll lineup and do what we do every year.”

Heidelberg may be selling his team short – or at least he may want to look like he is. This Norland team is physical, loaded with playmakers and has plenty of size. A win over any of the “favorites” will not be a surprise.

Like every other South Florida power, the Vikings are loaded with defensive playmakers.

The secondary, alone has prospects who can turn the flow of a game – in an instant.

There are several headliners on the defensive side of the ball. Prospects who give this team a chance to be in every game.

2020 – Samuel Anaele, DE. When many ask if the Vikings can compete with elite teams, and you roll out impressive sophomores like this, the answer comes every week. Big time football prospect with a solid future.

2018 – Wayne Barr, LB. Part of one the best linebacking corps around. Great size, makes plays and runs very well. Another key player on this side of the ball.

2018 – Nadab Joseph, S. Another of the Edison transfers, this is easily one of the top defensive backs in a region that is second to none. SEC schools have been after him since he arrived. Major talent who gives the Vikings a chance to win.

2018 – Reginald Lee, DL. After watching this physical athlete play, there is no doubt, he is among the catalysts who can truly help the Vikings in bigger games. He will be needed.

2018 – Eric “Dank” Smith, DB. After starting his high school career at Hialeah-Miami Lakes, he has flourished the past two seasons for the Vikings. True leader.

2019 – Larry “LJ” Smith, LB. Yet another elite football talent who has already started to pick up interest – for this play on the field, as well as his work in the classroom. One of the best in Florida!

OFFENSE SHOWS THAT IT HAS WEAPONS, TOO

When it comes to offensive teams, Heidelberg knows how to build and coordinate them. This year, the veteran head coach has been able to have some fun.

Check out some of these difference makers:

2018 – Alec Carr, QB. Let’s be honest, this is one of the prospects who has been overlooked, perhaps more than anyone. MISTAKE! This is a leader who came in from Dade Christian a year ago and hasn’t stopped turning heads since.

2018 – Craig Cooper, RB. After starting at Norland, moving to American, McArthur – this gifted runner returned this year to be part of a quality and deep running game.

2018 – Jaquan Denson, WR. Another big time slot receiver prospect who also came from McArthur, and has turned out to be the spark that the Vikings needed.

2018 – Terrence “TJ” Evans, RB. You may have to look long and hard to find a harder working player that this young man. This is someone who will play somewhere.

2018 – Artic Harris, OL. Here is one of the many line prospects that the Vikings continue to attract. Size and quickness have plenty of schools watching his play.

2019 – Wardrick Wilson, OL. After spending last season at Edison, here is one of those talented young men who is getting plenty of attention.

2018 – Blake Veargis, WR. Another elite player who came in this season from Monsignor Pace. A Georgia State commitment who can play this game.

AMERICAN PATRIOT PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT

2020 – Allen Council, Athlete

2019 – Daryl Denson, LB

2020 – Antjuan Dozier, DB

2018 – Javon Gary, DB

2018 – Germaine Harvey, OL/DL

2020 – Josh Jones, OL

2018 – Khalil Love, Athlete

2020 – Kristopher Love, DL/OL

2018 – Dorian Mathis, DL

2018 – Keith Murray, DB

2019 – Jaylin Norman, OL/DL

2018 – Jeremiah Simeon, DE/LS

2019 – Jaysen Soroh, WR

2020 – Katravis Williams, QB

2018 – Wanya Williams, Athlete

2018 – Gregory Wilson, 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: Do Not Sleep On The Norland Vikings

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