By Larry Blustein

larry block6 PLAYOFF SPOTLIGHT: Miami High Brings Back The History

For a little over three quarters last Friday afternoon, Miami High appeared to end the 2017 season like so many before on the football field – with nothing to show for the hard work.

But this team – which started to change when Miami High alum Sedrick Irvin was hired to be the head coach – has never stopped progressing and believing.

During the course of the year, this program – which won three times a year ago – had transformed itself into a power, and the talent was indeed amazing.

When they came from 22 points down to the same Cristopher Columbus team that edged them earlier in the season for the district title, winning 28-22, this Miami High program was no longer a basketball school.

For the first time in 52 years – when Miami High thumped Melbourne in the state championship game in 1965, they are now one game away from making a historic return – and for generations and generations of proud graduates – from every walk of life – it was indeed time to feel great about the alma mater.

When they travel to Delray Beach on Friday night at 7:30, Stingaree Nation will be back – and playing in late November.

HISTORIC AND GROUND-BREAKING PAST

Today’s world of the #305 and #954 may not know a thing about the past, and laugh at the very thought that Miami High – in the heart of Little Havana – could be a football power. But check what happened during the early years – when high school football was owned and operated by Miami High, and getting a local game was nearly impossible.

State and national titles revolved around this program – and that is how the history of high school football in South Florida began. This school, with so many quality student/athletes set standards way before the programs of today.

Talk about the past of Miami High, and you are talking about pioneers, athletes who continued to raise the bar. Names such as Eddie Brown (1981), Joe Caldwell (1956), Steve Diamond (1963), Jim Dooley (1948), Davey Eldredge (1939), Fred Frink (1930), Ben Hanks (1991), Lindy Infante (1957), Andre Johnson (1999), Warner Mizell (1926), Claude Moorman (1956), Roscoe Parrish (1999), Dick Plasman (1933), Bruce Smith (1943), Arnold Tucker (1943), Pete Williams (1945) and so many others were instrumental in the school’s growth. Irvin came out in 1996.

PLENTY OF TALENT TO CHOOSE FROM

As Irvin and this program came together, so did a coaching staff that was among the best in South Florida. While having a number of talented athletes on the team is always good, coaching them up to their potential is what this staff did this year – and Irvin will be the very first to admit it.

“Having been around this game – as a player and coach – all of my life, you learn a little bit more each day,” Irvin said. “Without quality coaches, like we have, you have no next round. These are the men who are responsible for the success of Miami High in 2017.”

The Stingarees were loaded with difference makers. Players who changed the course of the season:

2018 – Isaias Castellon, QB. Before the season began, many were not sure if this young man could get the job done. After 2,700 yards and over 25 touchdowns, the top-rated passer in South Florida has turned heads and has put this program within one win of reaching state.

TAPE: https://www.hudl.com/profile/9375776/andrew-reese-jr

2018 – John Crawford, S. Extremely talented secondary performer who is athletic and very long, giving him a chance to get to balls that most never would get to. Solid playmaker who improved throughout the year.

TAPE: https://www.hudl.com/profile/8268334/john-crawford

2018 – Lamont Finnie, Jr., WR. Easily one of the most versatile and talented football players we have in South Florida. Can get it done on either side of the ball. Just a major impact player.

TAPE: https://www.hudl.com/profile/9904508/lamont-finnie-jr

2020 – Marcus Fleming, WR. There are very few sophomores anywhere who makes plays and dominates like this young man. Super athletic and very skilled on the field. Has a chance to turn heads nationally over the next year.

TAPE: https://www.hudl.com/profile/9774190/marcus-fleming

2018 – Johnny Ford, RB. What can you say about South Florida’s best football player – that hasn’t been said a million times. He is a one man show when he needs to be. Offense, defense, punting, kick and punt returns. East Carolina leads the way for his future services. Like them!

TAPE: https://www.hudl.com/profile/4701674/johnny-ford

2018 – Derek Gainous, Jr., CB. One of the top players for this program the past two years, he is a quality playmaker who is always around the ball. Plays the game with passion and plenty of intensity. Will be a factor at the next level as well.

TAPE: https://www.hudl.com/profile/7524228/derek-gainous

2018 – Antquan Kinsey, LB. Over the past three years – whether it was at Miami High or Booker T. Washington, there was not a better tackler than this quality talent. Big time playmaker who is always around the ball. Is a true leader for this program.

TAPE: https://www.hudl.com/profile/6199718/antquan-kinsey

2019 – Dontae Lucas, OL. Since he was in the 9th grade at Booker T. Washington, this is someone who not only been recognized locally, but is regarded as one of the nation’s elite juniors. Big, strong and talented – with dozens and dozens of colleges watching his every move!

TAPE: https://www.hudl.com/profile/7375808/dontae-lucas

2018 – Leonard Lucas, Jr., OL. Another of the big men who has given the Stingarees a chance to be in this position. Agile, athletic and someone who has learned so much in 2017 – and it shows.

TAPE: https://www.hudl.com/profile/6634963/leonard-lucas-jr

2018 – Andrew Reese, Jr., WR. If you watched this program play this year, you already know how impressive this young man has been. A very hard worker, who loves the game and understands what needs to be done to play at the next level.

TAPE: https://www.hudl.com/profile/9375776/andrew-reese-jr

TOTAL TEAM EFFORT

Here is a look at some of the other Miami High players who have turned it up this season:

2018 – Rioldan Aucey, DE

2019 – Marcus Barthel, RB

2019 – Andrew Bloodsaw, DB

2019 – Devenson Cadet, FS

2018 – Mike Caldas, CB

2018 – Durhan Chavez, DL

2018 – Amilcar Cordon, OL

2019 – Xzayvier Day, DT

2019 – Trenod Derosier, RB

2018 – Keythan Drayton, Jr., WR

2018 – Rolando Espinoza, PK

2019 – Gio Gonzalez, FB

2019 – Bailey Javier, DE

2020 – Theion Kendrick, CB

2018 – Rolando Marquina, OG

2018 – Bernard Marshall, WR

2018 – Alexander Martinez, DT

2018 – Isiah McDonald, DE

2019 – Paul Mitchell, LB

2018 – Myki Morno, WR

2020 – Roscoe Parrish, Jr., WR/RB

2018 – Tre Payne, QB

2018 – Dennis Perez, DT

2019 – Fernando Perez, OC

2018 – Khauron Prospere, OL

2018 – Caleb Rutherford, DE

2018 – Manny Santiago, WR

2019 – Leslie Smith, OLB

2019 – Justin Tobar, DL

2019 – Christopher Valdes, LB

2018 – Dante Wilson, LB

2020 – George Young, RB

Catch the South Florida High Sports Radio Show this Monday night (8-10) 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 PLAYOFF SPOTLIGHT: Miami High Brings Back The History

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