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As Benedict Hyppolite walked the sideline at Gwen Cherry Park in Liberty City last Saturday, he had the chance to watch many of his players live for the first time.
As our J.T. Wilcox reported first, the 27-year-old, who came up through the Tim “Ice” Harris, Sr. “coaching tree”, was hired as the new head coach of the defending Class 6A state champion Carol City Chiefs.
Hyppolite, who was on hand for the Second Annual War Zone 7-on-7 Football Tournament, knew many of the prospects that the Chiefs had, but had not watched them perform. On Saturday, he had the opportunity to lay eyes on a number of prospects who are ready to defend that state title – and more.
“We certainly set these young men up with a challenging schedule once again – that’s for sure,” Hyppolite said. “Playing the best only puts you in the spotlight.”
With so many elite prospects coming back on both sides of the ball – and the recent addition of prospects such as athlete Legend Moore (Hallandale and American) – competing for a district title will still be tough, but more realistic.
With powers such as Miami Central, Northwestern and Norland in the district, which many believe is the toughest in the country, every week is going to be a battle – and to win that battle and others, offense will be a key.
That is why one of the first hires for Hyppolite was one time North Miami head coach Ed Williams, who is known for his innovative and high scoring offenses that captured two district titles for the Pioneers.
Williams, who has worked with some impressive quarterbacks, will have the chance to work with Marlon Smith, who like Tyberius Horne he had last year, can put the ball up.
Because the defenses are so dominating in South Florida, a productive offense is essential, and the Chiefs believe they have the edge.
With University of Miami commit Cam’Ron Davis (2018) and Nayquan Wright (2019), this may be the best running back tandem anywhere. But many believe that the difference once again this season will be at quarterback.
Perhaps the most underrated of all Class of 2018 passers could be Marlon Smith. While Northwestern’s Tutu Atwell is easily the best game day quarterback, but Smith is not far behind in what he brings to this team.
At 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, he has the size and athleticism that college coaches are always looking for. Add in the fact that he has a strong and accurate arm, and has already lead his team to a state title, this very well may be the best secret going.
Having worked with some outstanding quarterbacks at Booker T. Washington, Edison and at Hallandale this past season, Hyppolite understands what having a quality quarterback who leads does for a program. He saw it with Treon Harris at Booker T. He also sees plenty of positives with his new signal caller.
While Smith was not the player who was slated to take over for two-year starter Buckshot Calvert, he ended up being the player everyone was talking about at the end of the season – and into this offseason.
“As he learns more about the game, he is really becoming a very productive and important part of this offense,” said Strong Arm 7-on-7 organizer Martin Maultsby. “Our offensive backfield has the chance to be one of the best in the country.”
Losing some key playmakers on offense from last year, the addition of Moore with receivers such as Phenol Williams, Johaun Beresford and Greg Grate, Jr., and lineman Montrell Newton, along with some key transfers, things are indeed looking up.
COMING AND GOING
Moore’s move from Hallandale wasn’t the only prospect that changed locations recently.
Safety/linebacker Jesse Smith, who started the past two years at McArthur, is now at Piper.
This week, St. Thomas Aquinas is expected to get some additional running back help with 1,000-yard rusher Riley Allison making the move over.
Flanagan lost a pair of linemen. Troy Ingle went to Plantation American Heritage and Terry Augustin went to Carol City.
Dr. Krop, which lost running back Lawrence Papillon to Hallandale, may be getting the impressive runner back. The lightning did get one-time American standout defensive back Xavier Lopez.