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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As parents send their kids back to school and the weather changes from “surface of the sun” hot to “three inches away from the surface of the sun” hot, the 2015 high school football season is here.
While some may prefer the pro game and others clamor for the collegiate experience, keep in mind that Miami-Dade and Broward counties lead – by a large margin – for the areas in the United States that produce professional football players.
So getting in on the ground level, watching the stars of tomorrow play as high school kids on Friday nights will on further connect you to them as they move on to Saturday’s and potentially Sunday’s.
South Florida High School Sports (www.SFHS.CBSLocal.com) has set a new standard for covering high school athletics – especially football. And each week, SFHSSports will cover all the best games and report the best stories from around South Florida.
But for those who still want to dip their toe in the water before diving in head first – here’s your weekly cheat sheet to get you caught up to speed on week one.
The Must-see Game
Miami Booker T. Washington vs. Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
Friday at St. Thomas Aquinas, 8pm kickoff
This is a major showdown.
Two of the premier high school football programs in South Florida, taking on each other in a nationally televised (ESPN) game.
Booker T. Washington is a three-time defending Class 4A state champion, riding a Miami-Dade County record 41-game winning streak into the 2015 season.
The program, which produced University of Miami players RB Mark Walton, DL Chad Thomas and LB Demetrius Jackson, is now under the direction of Earl Tillman, who took over once Tim Harris Jr. became an assistant on Florida International University’s coaching staff.
St. Thomas Aquinas has a new coach too.
Roger Harriott now leads the Raiders after Rocco Casullo, who led Aquinas to two state titles during his tenure, resigned. Harriott came in with much fanfare though; as he’s an Aquinas alum, has a state championship on his resume (2012, Davie University School) and has twice served on college coaching staffs – Syracuse and Florida Atlantic University.
Both teams are loaded with talent.
St. Thomas has a pair of national recruits in defensive end Nick Bosa, the brother of Ohio State All-American defensive lineman Joey Bosa, and wide receiver Sam Bruce – an University of Miami commit that is also the nephew of former NFL receiver Isaac Bruce.
Also, former NFL cornerback Asante Samuel, NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin and Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem all have sons on the Raiders roster. Samuel Jr. followed in his dad’s footsteps and is a defensive back, Irvin Jr. is a tight end and Kedonis Haslem plays on St. Thomas’ offensive line.
Booker T. Washington is led by a young core. Sophomore linebacker Jaquan Beaver is already garnering attention from all of the nation’s major programs and junior defensive back Dedrick Mackey is a top-50 player in South Florida.
Dade County Special
Coral Gables vs. Miami Carol City
Thursday at Traz Powell Stadium, 7pm kickoff
Two history-rich programs take to the “Mecca” of high school football – Traz Powell Stadium for a very intriguing early season matchup.
The Cavaliers have a very strong defense which is led by its linebackers. Shocking that the school that produced Jonathan Vilma and Denzel Perryman once again has a strong linebacker – they actually have three in Gee Stanley, Robert Brown and Shakur Cooper.
Carol City is all about offense. Chiefs quarterback Stephen “Buckshot” Calvert – yes, Buckshot – is a Liberty University commit and is one of South Florida’s top signal callers.
Broward County Special
Parkland Douglas vs. Pembroke Pines Flanagan
Friday at Flanagan High School, 7pm kickoff
An early season tilt between two teams both out look to prove something this season.
Douglas, a team that won seven games in 2014 but still didn’t make the playoffs, wants to show that they are a team on the rise as it enters year three-under head coach Willis “Peanut” May.
Flanagan is a nationally ranked squad that is big on talent and is coached by former NFL safety and Super Bowl champion Devin Bush. Bush’s son, Devin Jr., is a one of the state’s best linebackers and defensive back/quarterback Stanford Samuels III, the son of former FSU standout Stanford Samuels, is the No. 1 rated player in South Florida in the class of 2017 according to Larry Blustein and they lead the “Dirty Bird” defense – a very stingy group.
Did You Know?
South Florida enters the 2015 season with four teams looking to defend state championships.
Miami Central (three-time), Miami Booker T. Washington (three-time) and Plantation American Heritage (two-time) are multiple winners and St. Thomas Aquinas is looking for a second straight crown.
Also, South Florida has three teams ranked nationally – Central (No. 2 consensus) Aquinas (No. 8) and Pembroke Pines Flanagan (No. 9).
For more information, including video highlights, visit www.SFHS.CBSLocal.com