This district may be short on teams, but it’s long on talent. Spanning two counties – Broward and Palm Beach – and including a pair of teams that have won state titles since the turn of the century, coming out of this district will be a tough task.READ MORE: Business Owners In South Florida Say They're Struggling To Get Employees Back To Work
2015 Record: 5-5
Coach: Peter Walker
2016 Outlook: Clewiston took a step backward in 2015.
The Tigers had won 11 games in each of the past two seasons but struggled to find their footing this past season.
Head coach Peter Walker enters his fourth year leading the program and he has a small nucleus of players that he’ll be relying on to get Clewiston back in the playoffs.
2018 running back Menta Jones could be “the man” on offense for the Tigers. While the 5-foot-11, 170-pound back has been Clewiston’s main ball-carrier since last year, he should see his production increase as he now has another year of experience and maturation under his belt.
Senior running back Zach Seale will also help carry the offensive load while linebacker Juan Norton anchors the defense.
Belle Glade Glades Central Raiders
2015 Record: 9-3 (District Champion)
Coach: Rick Casko
2016 Outlook: Glades Central is one of those lucky programs that will never truly have the bottom fall out on the program.
Even in their “lean years”, because of the talent-rich area and the community support, the Raiders will always field a roster with athletic kids that will compete.
2015 ended similarly to how the previous couple of years ended, reaching the second round postseason only to be knocked out by Miami Booker T. Washington.
Still, the 2016 version of Glades Central is once again a talented group.
6-foot-4, 165-pound quarterback James Blackman is finally a senior and he represents a group that has grown up through the Glades Central program and is ready to break out.
Blackman, a three-star prospect in his own right, also has a talented core of receivers to distribute the ball to in three-star Oregon State commit Quantino Allen, 6-foot-3 Siurpry Rinvil and speedster Rodney Porter Jr.
The potential pitfall for the Raiders will be finding consistent play on the offensive and defensive lines – especially when matching up against top tier teams.
Somerset Academy Pines Panthers
2015 Record: 0-10
Coach: Chance Benton
2016 Outlook: 2015 was a rough season for Somerset Academy.
The Panthers were winless and scored a total of 21 points in 10 games.
If head coach Chance Benton, who once led Hialeah American High School, could find a way to keep some of the talented players that cycle through the halls of what is an excellent academic school – a small turnaround could be on the horizon.
Because South Florida is South Florida, the Panthers do have a couple of prospects that could garner some attention if they reach their potential in 2016.
5-foot-8 senior athlete Brandon Hollis lines up as both a receiver and a cornerback for Somerset Pines and is easily one of – if not – the fastest player on the team. Also, fellow defensive back Ben Onwuzo has the size (6-feet, 180 pounds) to matchup with just about anyone.READ MORE: ‘Pretty Big Pay Package’: Broward School Board Negotiates $743K Exit Deal For Embattled Supt. Robert Runcie
University School Sharks
2015 Record: 7-4 (District Runner-Up)
Coach: Daniel Luque
2016 Outlook: University School slightly exceeded expectations this past season.
For the Sharks – formerly the Suns – to finish the regular season 7-3 before losing to eventual Class 4A state champion Booker T. Washington with an extremely young roster was a huge testament to the work that head coach Daniel Luque and his stuff put in.
Unfortunately, a lot of those young budding stars decided to take their talents elsewhere. Class 4A Player of the Year and quarterback Henry Colombi and receiver Josh Ali both went to Chaminade-Madonna. Receiver Darnell Fleury made a late switch to Plantation American Heritage and defensive end Ezekiel Leclerc moved on Stoneman Douglas.
But don’t cast this program aside just yet, they still have a nice core of young players and a couple of high-level prospects that can buoy this team.
The big man on campus has to be 2019 athlete Kenny McIntosh. The youngest of three football-playing McIntosh brothers – Richard a sophomore defensive end at the University of Miami and Deon a freshman running back at Notre Dame – Kenny is “tweener”, able to be a game-changer on both offense and defense. He’ll line up at running back and potentially be among Broward County’s rushing leaders.
Also, fellow senior Jaden Mancuso will anchor the Sharks’ secondary since standout Al Blades II transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas.
Once again, Glades Central wins this district.
The Raiders took the crown this past season, and they return an offensive core that should only be better in 2016.
The game between Clewiston and University School will decide the district runner-up. U-School came out on top last season, but even though the Sharks have a potential district MVP in Kenny McIntosh; they lost too much – namely quarterback Henry Colombi – to get the best of the Tigers again.
Somerset Academy will get a win this season, but they’ll still sit in the basement of this district.
Predicted Champion: Glades Central
Predicted Runner-Up: Clewiston
I think you have to split this honor between U-School’s Kenny McIntosh and Glades Central’s James Blackman.
Both of these players will play huge roles in their respective teams’ success this season and if either of them misses a significant amount of time, it could change the whole outlook of the district race.
U-School coaches elected to use McIntosh mostly at running back this past season, but I think it would behoove them to make sure he’s in on at least 80 percent of the offensive and defensive snaps. He’s that good.
Blackman, on the other hand, is solely a quarterback, but he can have a direct effect on every offensive play. If he can show some senior poise and leadership, the Raiders will be more than fine.
Two for one here also: I say that Siurpry Rinvil emerges as Glades Central’s top receiver this season and that Kenny McIntosh finishes in the top 15 in rushing in Broward County.
Anthony Walker – Clewiston
Benjamin Onwuzo – Somerset Academy Pines
Brandon Hollis – Somerset Academy Pines
Demetrius Martin – Glades Central
Jaden Mancuso – University School
James Blackman – Glades Central
Jeremy Czerenda – University School
Juan Norton – Clewiston
Kareem Ritch – Somerset Academy Pines
Kenny McIntosh – University School
Menta Jones – Clewiston
Quantino Allen – Glades Central
Rapheal Baptiste – Somerset Academy Pines
Rodrick Martin – Glades Central
Siurpry Rinvil – Glades Central
Zachary Seale – Clewiston