Over the past two years, when Cardinal Gibbons and American Heritage get together on the football field, the passion and talent that is South Florida football, comes alive.
While the series is one-sided, with the Patriots holding a huge advantage over the Chiefs, things have been getting closer and closer, and after Friday night’s region final, we had watched the best matchup yet.
In a contest that would send the winner on to this week’s meeting with unbeaten Immokalee in a state 5A semifinal game, what an overflow crowd witnessed was easily the best game of this series – and gave both programs instant national credibility.
With head coach Pat Surtain’s team riding a state best 25 games, this one really went down to the wire – as the Patriots remained unbeaten with an amazing 58-57 triple overtime win against head coach Matt Dubuc and his Chiefs.
In a game that could easily have been a state final, the No. 3 nationally-rated Patriots emerged and moved one step closer to defend their state title.
What the Patriots have been able to accomplish is amazing. While there have been some close calls along the way, there is mad respect for what they have been able to accomplish – playing every top program locally and nationally.
With a coaching staff that includes former NFL and collegiate standouts, there is no doubt that the advantage is heavily in their corner.
Surtain considered one of the best defensive backs the Miami Dolphins have ever had, takes this job serious. He takes pride in the fact that he is unbeaten as a head coach, but also points to his assistant coaches for making the difference.
“This is one of the best situations you can be around,” Surtain explained. “The players, coaches, parents and administration have certainly made this one big family.”
THIS IS A LOADED PROGRAM
What Surtain and his team have been able to do is develop talent and showcase the playmakers.
Here are some of those quality young men who have made an impact:
2018 – Josh Alexander, WR. Another of the key offensive threats who continues to impress and make plays when called upon and very valuable player.
2019 – Clarence Burley, DB. Since coming over from Douglas before the season, this is truly one of the up-and-coming elite players in South Florida and will ensure the Patriots have solid secondary play after this season is over. Make big plays. Always has!
2018 – Tyson Campbell, DB. Big time cornerback who continued to make a name for himself over the past year. With numerous collegiate offers and outstanding exposure the past two years, if he stays healthy, this is truly a player who we will hear about often, for years to come.
2018 – Andrew Chatfield, DE. This one time Ohio State commit is having another banner season – as a leader on a defense that does not usually give up big plays and a lot of points. Quality person – on and off the field.
2019 – Kamryn Giles, DB. This Monsingor Pace transfer is someone we spoke about earlier in the season – as he continues to make a solid impact as a hard–hitting safety/linebacker. Plenty of skill and talent – and yes – he will be back again in 2018.
2018 – Jordan Johnson, RB. This two year standout who began at nearby Plantation as a sophomore, has truly been a outstanding runner who can break off some runs. He is also state-rated wrestler, who combined the two sport to improve.
2018 – Miles Jones, RB/WR. When there’s a big game, head coach Pat Surtain and his coaches know who will get the job done – just like he has the past two years. Receiver, running back, return specialist and tremendous student has this Vanderbilt-bound standout in a class by himself.
2019 – Tyler Jones, RB. Next year, just when some will believe that the running game is not going to be a factor, you may want to refresh your memory about this gifted junior who just be one of the best in his class. A quick, strong and very talented runner, his impact has been felt all season.
2018 – Dyllon Lester, DB. Easily one of the most overlooked defensive secondary performers in South Florida, this one-time Flanagan standout continues to turn heads and make plays. College coaches have been watching – and now it’s time for them to make a move. Lester is the real deal.
2018 – Marcus Lodge, WR. One of the big play athletes the Patriots have, you can guarantee that his recruitment will start to pick up as the playoffs move along. Great size, quickness and play-making abilities.
2018 – Anthony Schwartz, WR. Everyone knows the fastest high school athlete in America. But they are also finding out that he can play this game – and we have watched that the past two years. Quality player and a tremendous young man as well.
2018 – Nesta Silvera, DL. Following this quality University of Miami commitment since his freshman season at Cypress Bay, he has become a real force in the middle. A very quick, aggressive and passionate player who loves the game and is always around the ball.
2018 – Cameron Smith, QB. After making the move from Delray Heritage, here is a talented athlete who continued all season to pick up the offense – and over the past six weeks – he has really been a major force for the Patriots. Not only does he run the ball, but also showed that his passing is also effective.
2018 – Patrick Surtain, DB. Since his 8th grade year, we heard about this gifted young man who has followed in the successful footsteps of his father, who has certainly made a difference as a head coach. Pat Jr. can do it all – from playing corner to returning punts – he is among the nation’s elite.
2018 – Zackary Zambrano, OL. This three year starter has improved and matured as much as anyone – and has more than proven that he is one of the best around. Big time talent with a great future.
A NUMBER OF UNDER THE RADAR PLAYERS
In addition to some of those headline makers, the Patriots also have had a number of athletes who have also made a major contribution so far this year:
2018 – John Alyn, DL
2018 – Anthony Brown, WR
2019 – Brandon Cohen, RB
2018 – Robert Cohen, DL
2018 – Jared Elstein, K/P
2020 – Douglas Emelien, WR
2018 – Noah Espana, DB
2021 – Aaron Felder, DB
2018 – Jack Fris, OL
2021 – Oronde Gadsden, WR
2020 – Andy Garcia, LB
2018 – Calvin Hart, LB
2020 – Ruben Hyppolite, LB
2018 – Troy Ingle, OL
2019 – Beau Johnson, TE
2022 – Marvin Jones, WR
2018 – Jake Kaplan, OL
2019 – Gabe Khandehrish, OL
2019 – Jimmy Lowery, KP
2019 – Reece Malvasio, RB
2018 – Tyler March, WR
2020 – Robert Martinez, LB
2021 – Ja’den McBurrows, DB
2019 – Frank Melgarejo, OL/LS
2018 – Matt Miller, DL
2019 – Tyler Milord, OL
2021 – Matt O’Dowd, QB
2020 – Daryl Porter, DB
2020 – Edwin Rhodes, QB
2019 – John Michael Serna, DB
2021 – Boogsie Silvera, DB
2018 – Tyrique Singh, DL
2018 – Eugene Stanley, DB
2019 – Brandon Stapleton, OL
2019 – Robert Reddick, DL
2021 – Chris Stumpo, OL
2022 – Richard Thomas, DE
2021 – Dallas Turner, DE
2020 – Andrew Volmar, WR
2018 – Joel Wilson, LB
2020 – Hunter Zambrano, OL
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!