If you are a “gamer” and relish the spotlight, this is the time of year you look forward to.
One month left before the state playoffs and every game counts. Each and every matchup that is played over the next four weeks will indeed have a direct impact on which teams compete for the state playoffs – and those who will have to look toward a long offseason – and a promise of wait until next year.
These weeks ahead will challenge every player and coach to the max. Many of those who had big dreams and lofty expectations in July and August, have turned to a survival mode. Things that were supposed to workout, never really did.
Hurricane Irma is an excuse, especially to those who suffered damage, but for those who may have lost power for a few days, this is the time you need to step up. Nearly every school in Florida has had something go wrong from th storm, so using that as a reason you haven’t played well, is not valid at all.
What needs to be done in the coming weeks is those who continue to tell everyone they should have the scholarship offers, need to use this time to attain one. There will be no bigger games than these survival matchups for you to showcase your skills. There will never be a better chance for you to get solid film to send off to college and universities.
If you are an athlete and have nothing substantial, you need to use these games, while helping your team win, to showcase your abilities. The same talent that will get you noticed by schools.
If you are a senior, make this last month special. You will not be coming this way again – and the memories created will last a lifetime!
2018 – Isaias Castellon, QB, Miami High. What can you say about someone who has worked extremely hard to make a difference, and if you watch him play, he certainly has helped put the Stingarees on the map this season. Throws the ball, runs if he has to and doesn’t try to do everything. What head coach Sedrick Irvin wanted was a game-manager and he got much more. This remains one of the biggest surprises in this crazy season.
2018 – Jean Estiverne, OL/DL, Coconut Creek. While many in South Florida talk about the skill position athletes – such as quarterback, running back, receiver and defensive back – there is little talk about the line of scrimmage – on both sides of the ball. Here is one of those very athletic linemen who continues to turn heads and make things happen for a program that certainly looks like it is on the rise. This is someone the college coaches need to continue to watch. Very talented football player.
2019 – Luis Cristobal, OL, 6-2, 293, Miami Christopher Columbus. The last name says it all. If you have been a football fan in South Florida, or have followed the University of Miami for any length of time, the Cristobals (Luis, Sr. and Mario) have always represented hard work, dedication to game and a passion that goes beyond playing games each week. This next generation of Cristobal football prospects is indeed for real and getting better every day. No surprise here!
2018 – Jacob Kaplan, OL, 6-4, 288, Plantation American Heritage. Here is a young man that made a name for himself at Western, and then gained more exposure this season – moving to compete this season for the nearby Patriots. This is a quality talent who has the chance to be special down the line as he readies for the next level. Whether it was with this program this season – or in the past with the Wildcats and head coach Adam Ratkevich, this is a student/athlete who learned and acknowledged all those who influenced his career. Has a solid future ahead.
2018 – Tavaris Phillips, FS, 5-11, 175, Miami Booker T. Washington. It’s almost a given that any time you go and watch an Ice Harris-coached team, the athletes on that field will be as hard working as you will find. Here is a perfect example of someone who comes to play every week. Having watched a majority of the Tornadoes’ games, there is no getting around the fact that this young man can play and make a major difference. Has been one of the prospects who has flown way beneath the radar. He plays this game hard.
2021 – Marcus Tate, OL, Fort Lauderdale University School. If you have lived in South Florida for any length of time, and have followed the football that is played, you know that freshmen – 14 and 15-year-olds – are now making a huge impact at the varsity level, against talent that colleges are looking for. Here is one of those next wave of big men that colleges are always checking out – no matter where they come from. This is a very gifted football talent who will grow and mature over the next few years – and colleges will be living at this campus, watching his every move. Big time potential, but remember, he has over three varsity years left!
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!