Larry BlockSFHSSports: Twitter | Facebook

As someone who has covered and evaluated high school football for the past five-plus decades, what happened at Orlando Camping World Stadium last weekend was certainly something that many will long remember.

Using a one weekend format of eight games in three days, football fans had the chance to see all 16 teams on one weekend – which is something that has been attempted in the past, with seven classes.

While all eight title games were well worth the admission to get in, having the opportunity to watch some of high school football’s elite players and teams were what brought thousands to Orlando.

As all eight champions were crowned, this format will once again happen next year and into the length of the current contract with the FHSAA.

For many college coaches and football fans from all over, the chance to see the best of Florida’s best was what this was all about.

Ken Rockwell and his coaching associated, Mike Billings, came from Indiana to watch the finals and both were amazed at the talent – in every game.

“We have a few kids like some of these monsters,” Billings pointed out. “But a number of big time athletes is the reason why there are so many football players in the NFL from here.”

As some complained about the early (10 a.m.) starts for Friday and Saturday, they got used to it as the 2A and 3A finals were entertaining and filled with tremendous athletes.

And, of course, the local teams – which made it a special weekend – and the experience and togetherness showed by all the teams, is the reason South Florida continues to dominate the talent landscape and offers up a look at the best of the best.

VERY YOUNG CHAMPAGNAT DROPS 2A STATE FINAL
All season long, Champagnat Catholic head coach Dennis Marroquin warned about the future of his football team.

While his program finished off a magical season with a 24-8 loss to powerhouse Jacksonville University Christian in the state title game, the second-year head coach was pointing toward the future.

Ending the season with a loss and an 11-2 record may have not sat well with some, but for this Lions’ squad, the future is indeed bright.

Playing as many as eight freshmen in a state title game is certainly what this program is all about – as young prospects will continue to lead this program as it appears that Champagnat Catholic is well on the way to some great things.

“I could not be prouder of a team,” Marroquin pointed out. “Did you see how many underclassmen we played this year. That is why I feel that we will be a fixture up here in Orlando for years to come.”

CHAMPAGNAT PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2018 – Kevin Acosta, OL
2017 – Sean Bouie, WR/CB
2020 – Marc Britt, WR
2017 – Jordan Coley, DB
2019 – Kervin Dessources, QB
2018 – Manuel Garriga, OL
2019 – Donald Georges, LB
2018 – Donovan Georges, LB
2017 – Brian Gooze, CB
2020 – Jovens Janvier, OL
2019 – Daryn Jones, RB
2020 – Johnquai Lewis, WR
2020 – Alann Louis, OL
2020 – Jesus Machado, DE
2018 – Maxesien Michel, DE
2017 – DeVante Mitchell, CB
2020 – Calvin Montgomery, RB
2017 – Voshon Ochoa, DT
2018 – Tyrik Robinson, DT
2018 – Gregory Rousseau, WR/S
2017 – Isaiah Sharpe, Athlete
2018 – Jawuan Wilson, OL
2018 – Jahani Wright, WR

JACKSONVILLE UNIVERSITY CHRISTIAN PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2017 – Otis Anderson, RB
2018 – Clay Boyd, QB
2018 – Malik Brown, RB
2018 – T.J. Ciresi, WR
2017 – Titus Curry, LB
2018 – Jalen Dunnigan, RB
2017 – Leon Huey, LB/FB
2017 – Zion John, DT
2017 – Michael Oakley, DE
2017 – Cameron Page, TE
2017 – Kelvin Perry, OLB
2018 – Uriah Ratliff, OLB
2017 – James Sasser, DE
2018 – Oak Stipe, OL
2017 – D.J. Stubbs, RB/B
2018 – Dyrell Stubbs, CB
2019 – James Tarver, CB
2018 – Caleb Thomas, OL
2017 – Alex Wilcox, OL/DL
2017 – Andrew Wilcox, OL

CHAMINADE FALLS SHORT IN 3A TITLE GAME
Everyone knows the story of how Dameon Jones took over Chaminade-Madonna’s football team days before the start of fall practice.

On Saturday morning that story played itself out as the Lions dropped a 24-13 decision to now four time defending state champion Jacksonville Trinity Christian, but not before this program truly made a huge statement.

What Jones and the Lions did was defy all the pre-season predictions to represent the south in the Class 3A state title game, coming up short to a very talented team.

In finishing 10-4 on the season with a tough schedule, the Lions set the table for the future – and Jones, a former Hallandale High coach, is right in the middle of it.

“What else can you say about the job this coaching staff and these players did this year,” Jones explained. “When it would have been easy to quit this team after the head coach stepped down before the season, nobody did – and that is definitely the team I want to be associated with. Great year and we look for an even better one in 2017.”

CHAMINADE-MADONNA PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2017 – Josh Ali, WR
2017 – Steve Jean-Baptiste
2017 – Hunter Bucknam, LB
2017 – Henry Colombi, QB
2019 – Tecory Couch, DB
2018 – Davoan Hawkins, OL/DL
2017 – Julius Ianella, OL
2017 – Adam Jancoscko, OL
2019 – Anthony Johnson, DB
2018 – Tarique Livingston, OL
2018 – Daniel Longman, PK
2017 – Jason Merry, P
2018 – Corey Prince, OT
2018 – Justin Richardson, WR
2018 – Shaun Shivers, RB
2019 – Keontra Smith, DB
2017 – Cody Watson, LB
2018 – Keondra White, RB
2017 – Chris Whittaker, DE
2019 – James Williams, DB
2017 – Jordan Williams, LB
2018 – Xavier Williams, WR

JACKSONVILLE TRINITY CHRISTIAN PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2017 – Dawson Adler, NT
2018 – Nyem Bozeman, DB
2017 – Legend Brumbaugh, QB
2018 – Chamarri Conner, DB
2019 – Marcus Crowley, WR
2018 – Ja’Juan Dowell, OL
2018 – Eriq Gilyard, LB
2018 – Tyreke Johnson, CB
2017 – Sam Jones, OL
2019 – Dominique Killens, DE
2017 – Chase Lasater, FB
2017 – Rasheed Martin, RB
2017 – D.J. Matthews, WR
2017 – Frankie Onate, PK
2017 – Deon Pate, DE
2017 – Izaiah Pough, OL
2017 – Brian Roberts, LB
2017 – T.J. Robinson, LB
2017 – Derrick Smith, S
2019 – Austin Thomas, QB
2017 – Farell Turner, WR
2018 – Jesse Urbina, OL
2017 – Shaun Wade, CB
2019 – Isaiah Washington, WR
2017 – James Washington, OL

AMERICAN HERITAGE WINS THRILLING 5A STATE FINAL
Coming into last Friday’s 5A state championship game, it was to be a contest that tested American Heritage and a defensive unit that had been mighty impressive through the first 13 games of the season.

Matched against first-time state title game opponent Ponte Vedra, this was anything but a defensive contest that saw the 14-0 Patriots complete a tremendous season with a thrilling 35-33 win and a third state crown in four years.

Under first-year head coach Patrick Surtain, this program came from 13-0 down and continued to match a gutty performance from the Sharks.

“I cannot tell you how impressed I was all year with this group of young men,” said Surtain, a former Miami Dolphins standout. “We fought through inexperience and injury to win this state title. This is for everyone at this school – now and in the past.”

While the Patriots didn’t play their typical defensive game, a lot of credit had to do with the Sharks – a program that never quit with senior quarterback Nick Tronti, running back Hal Swan and receiver Marshall Few leading the way.

AMERICAN HERITAGE PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2017 – Will Allen, DB
2017 – Jason Brown, QB
2017 – Dontavius Butler, WR
2018 – Tyson Campbell, S
2018 – Andrew Chatfield, DE
2017 – George Ellis, NT
2017 – Darnell Fleury, WR
2017 – Willie Hampton, DE
2018 – Calvin Hart, LB
2017 – Robert Hawkins, OL
2017 – Kai-Leon Herbert, OL
2017 – Michael Hicks, DB
2017 – Jerome Janvier, OL
2018 – Jordan Johnson, RB
2018 – Miles Jones, WR
2017 – Brandon Mincey, LB
2017 – Laress Nelson, WR
2017 – JoJo Ruma, LB
2018 – Anthony Schwartz, WR
2018 – Nesta Silvera, DT
2017 – T.J. Slaton, OT
2018 – Pat Surtain, CB
2017 – Marco Wilson, CB
2017 – Blake Wooden, S
2018 – Zack Zambrano, OL

PONTE VEDRA PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2018 – Kit Connelly, TE
2017 – Marshall Few, WR
2019 – Gunnar Goetz, OL
2017 – Kory Johnson, OL
2017 – Al Koch, DT
2018 – Duncan Van Kouteren, LB
2018 – Daniel Lichlyter, DE
2017 – Zach Lowery, OL
2017 – Jake McGuire, WR
2019 – Peter Merlini, DT
2017 – Taylor Montroy, OL
2017 – Andrew O’Dare, FS
2017 – J.D. Pirris, WR
2017 – Jacob Reeves, LB
2017 – Carson Richter, LB
2017 – Trevor Rolison, DE
2017 – John Santillo, CB
2017 – J.B. Shepherd, CB
2017 – Noah Solaun, S
2018 – Zach Summers, LB
2017 – Hal Swan, RB
2017 – Nick Tronti, QB
2018 – Robbie Worteboer, OL

CAROL CITY GETS DEFENSIVE IN 6A TITLE GAME
All season long, Carol City lived by its defense. On Saturday in the 6A finals against unbeaten (Lakeland) Lake Gibson, the Chiefs did it again.

Smothering the Braves throughout the game, Carol City capped off an 11-3 season with a 14-6 win and continued the district 16-6A (compared to the SEC) dominance that Miami Central began six years ago.

Carol City super sophomore running back Nayquan Wright, who had not played in over a month, returned to spark the Chiefs as they made good on a pre-season promise to come back and finish what they started in 2015.

Head coach Aubrey Hill guided his alma mater the past few years and put them in this position. His college coaching experience gave this program an infusion that many never get.

“What a tremendous team effort this was this season,” Hill said. “The fan support was amazing and the young men never stopped playing hard. So proud of this football team, the alumni and the community.”

CAROL CITY PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2018 – Yasir Abdullah, DE
2017 – Jerrod Cleraint, DT
2017 – Naytron Culpepper, DB
2018 – Camron Davis, RB
2018 – Irshaad Davis, S
2017 – Jason Dunois, OL
2017 – Kevaughn Dingle, WR
2017 – Jamare Edwards, DE
2017 – Zion Hartfield, DB
2018 – Terrance Horne, Jr., QB
2018 – Leonard Lucas, OL
2017 – Moris Lugo, LB
2017 – Harvey Martin, OL
2018 – Montrell Newton, OL
2018 – Daequan Nelson, LB
2018 – Kewan Parker, LB
2018 – Randy Russell, DB
2018 – Marlon Smith, QB
2017 – Terry Straughter, LB
2017 – Donelle Thomas, CB
2017 – Victor Tucker, WR
2017 – Chris Valembrun, OL
2019 – Nayquan Wright, RB

LAKE GIBSON PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2018 – Tequan Brown, DT
2018 – Jordan Crissey, OL
2018 – Antonio Denson, WR
2018 – A.J. Deshazor, LB
2019 – D’Shawn Graham, WR
2017 – Josh Hayes, DB
2019 – Chris Howard, RB/WR
2017 – Noah Johnson, LB
2018 – Travell Jones, RB
2018 – Tyrice Knight, LB
2017 – Mytrevious Link, WR
2019 – Jaharie Martin, DE
2017 – Chandler Pearce, OL
2019 – Daniel Pearce, OL
2018 – Keyshon Rogers, CB
2017 – Devonte Stephens, S
2017 – Emari Stribling, OT
2018 – Kevaris Thomas, QB
2018 – Shavonte Timothy, DE
2017 – Dawlton Vann, DT
2018 – Jarrett Whitehead, OL
2017 – K.J. Williams, CB

THREE-PEAT: THE RAIDERS WIN CLASS 7A
The trademark of a championship team is to put it all together and make a solid run in December.

For the past three years, St. Thomas Aquinas has done just that – and when the Raiders completed their season last Friday night, with a 45-6 win over Tampa Plant, they registered a third straight state title.

While the Panthers came into the game unbeaten, they never really got untracked against a strong Raider (12-2) defense that continued to punish all night long.

Like the past two years when St. Thomas powered their way into playoffs and came away with a state title, they did much of the same this year – outscoring the opposition 166-18 in the four playoff games – prior to the win over Plant.

In all but two games – where the Raiders were beaten by Booker T. Washington (27-23) and at national No. 1 Bishop Gorman (25-24) – they outscored the rest of the opponents, 485-36!

“This is a program where these young men understand what they have to do to be successful,” head coach Roger Harriott said. “The work this team puts in during the course of an entire pays off in the end. We are honored to be the first team in Broward County history to have won three straight state titles.”

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS PROSPECTS SPOTLIGHT
2017 – Jake Allen, QB
2017 – Nicholas Antonacci, OL
2017 – Lashawn Paulino-Bell, DE
2017 – Kyshaun Bryan, RB
2018 – Coleman Crozier, DL
2019 – Jaden Davis, CB
2018 – Adetutu Daranjo, S
2017 – Jason Dooling, DL
2017 – Michael Epstein, RB
2017 – Michael Harley, WR
2018 – Dejmi Jean, DT
2018 – Tavares Kelly, WR
2018 – Kaleb McCarty, LB
2017 – Jordan Merrell, WR
2017 – Grant Miller, OL
2017 – Jonathan Moore, WR
2019 – Vincent Murphy, OL
2017 – Joshua Palmer, WR
2018 – Asante Samuel, CB
2018 – Darrell Shelton, LB
2017 – Zachary Sweeney, OL
2018 – Jason Swann, OL
2018 – Trenell Troutman, S
2017 – Albert Tucker, LB
2017 – Andrew White, LB

TAMPA PLANT PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2017 – Thomas Allen, LB
2017 – Egan Baber, LB
2017 – Davis Bak, LB
2017 – Juwan Burgess, WR/S
2018 – Judge Culpepper, TE/DE
2017 – Dane Frantzen, QB
2017 – Bryce Jenkins, OT/DT
2017 – Aaron King, CB
2018 – Justin Lawrence, OG
2018 – Bryce Love, DE
2018 – Micah McFadden, LB
2018 – Garrett Murray, OG
2017 – Whop Philyor, WR/CB
2017 – Jack Raney, OG
2017 – Nick Rice, PK/P
2018 – Scotty Rogers, OT
2017 – Jamil Thomas, S
2018 – Ty Thompson, RB
2017 – Kyle Trina, QB
2017 – Christian Watson, WR

SPARTANS: COMEBACK KIDS TAKE 8A TITLE
For over three quarters last Saturday evening, the Southridge Spartans struggled to put points on the board, but that all changed in the final minutes.

When junior Michael Cox found fellow junior Mark Pope for a long touchdown, the Spartans had accomplished something that had not happened in 23 years. They brought home a state title to South Florida.

The 14-10 thrilling win over hometown Orlando Dr. Phillips certainly put a cap on a productive weekend for Miami-Dade and Broward schools – and provided enough memories for everyone to look back for years to come.

“This was one of those wins that the entire team has to share in,” veteran head coach Billy Rolle explained. “We haven’t quit all year, so nobody expected anything different.

ORLANDO DR. PHILLIPS PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2018 – Davarius Bargnare, WR
2017 – Christian Bryant, OL
2018 – JeQuan Burton, WR
2017 – Henry Caldwell, S
2018 – John Campbell, OL
2017 – D.J. Charles, CB
2017 – Albert Gilreath, CB
2018 – Joe Gulla, DE
2017 – Emare Hogan, WR
2018 – Tanner Ingle, FS
2018 – Michael MacNeil, OL
2018 – Alessandro Martinez, OL
2017 – Xandre McCleary, FB
2017 – Dylan Meeks, LB
2017 – Kenny Palmer, FB
2017 – Robert Porcher, DE
2019 – Jaquarri Powell, LB
2019 – Japerri Powell, LB
2017 – Nick Smith, LB
2018 – Sterling Stockwell, P/PK
2018 – Brian Velez, OL
2017 – Caleb Walls, WR
2017 – Marvin Washington, QB
2018 – Christian Williams, DT

SOUTHRIDGE PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2017 – Cody Bowes, OL
2018 – Randy Charlton, DE
2017 – Antoine Collier, DB
2018 – Michael Cox, QB
2017 – Shawn Davis, DB
2018 – Jordan Dillard, P/WR
2017 – Nadarius Fagan, LB
2017 – Kemore Gamble, WR
2017 – Billy Gibson, LB
2017 – Keith Harris, OL
2018 – James Head, DE
2017 – Juwan Horn, DB
2017 – Brandon James, LB
2017 – Mel Jeudy, OL
2017 – DeAndre Johnson, DL
2017 – Coemba Jones, DB
2019 – Chris McDonald, DB
2017 – Rashod Pittman, OL
2018 – Mark Pope, WR
2017 – D’Mitri Prophet, DL
2019 – Courtney Reese, RB
2017 – Rodney Scott, WR
2017 – Ben Thompson, RB
2017 – Dawson Tisdale, OL
2018 – Daquaris Wiggins, WR

home-button-long

Comments