We are now just weeks away from the official start of the 2017 high school football season, and while everyone wants to win a Florida state championship, there are a group of programs that have put themselves in a position to attract national attention.
With schools such as Miami Northwestern, Booker T. Washington and St. Thomas Aquinas all joining the 1940’s and 50’s Miami High squads as national champions from this region of the state, this is now an area that always has to be in that argument when speaking about nationally-rated programs.
It depends who you follow – when talking about who the best teams are across the country – but take a minute and be as objective as possible. Programs such as Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas are the ONLY teams in their area. It’s that way almost anyplace you look. The second best team in the state, Liberty (Henderson, Nv.), lost to Gorman by 70 points in the state championship game.
The South Florida teams can have – like this season – five teams that are within 15 total miles from each other are all rated among the country’s elite! It’s staggering – and it does not happen many other places!
As the 2017 season opens, there are a few programs that have a chance to win a national title – and perhaps the best chance is with head coach Roger Harriott and his St. Thomas Raiders. With games against two highly-regarded programs, and a few local powers, this is a two-time defending state champion that is loaded again.
The Raiders go in as one of 12 (counting IMG) programs in the top 100 from across the Sunshine State.
Other local schools that will begin 2017 in the spotlight include Miami Southridge (defending 8A state champion), Miami Northwestern (6A), Miami Booker T. Washington (4A), Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna (3A), Miami Central (6A), Miami Carol City (defending 6A state champion) and Plantation American Heritage (defending 5A state champions). There are also Jacksonville Trinity Christian (5A), Seffner Armwood (6A) and Tampa Plant (7A).
PROSPECTS TURNING HEADS
With the start of the 2017 season just around the corner, there are some football players who have been turning heads and jumping ON THE RADAR.
Check these six standouts out:
2018 – Willie Carter, CB/RB, Southwest Miami. Here is one of the prospects that the Eagles’ coaches have been talking about all offseason. A quality athlete who can play on both sides of the ball – as well as get it done in the classroom. For colleges looking for a talented football player, who gets it in the classroom as well as on the field field, here is a must see. Big time football player who will be a leader on the field for a program trying to build back up.
2018 – Tayondric Crowder, Jr., FS/CB, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely. You hear a lot of names that have been talked about on this football team, but when you watch this program play, here is a prospect who will jump out at you. Comes back for another season after a very productive spring and summer. With the infusion of talent that the Tigers have on the roster, you know that this is someone who can be the ultimate surprise. watch him play this game and you will also be sold. He plays with passion, has quickness and athleticism. The coaches love the way he plays this game. Keep your eye on Crowder. He is indeed someone who makes plays.
2018 – Malcolm Hyppolite, FS/WR, Miami Palmetto. Another of the many football players who has actually been on the radar for a few years. Is one of those two-way athletes who competes at another level, and with the Panthers expected to be in the playoff mix in 2017, he will be a player who many are waiting to watch. Enjoyed a productive offseason, and many feel that this will be a breakout year for him.
2019 – Dominic Tianga, LB, 5-9, 200, West Broward. Talk to anyone who has played with – or against him – and all will tell youth this is a player. Someone who is never afraid to stick his nose into the action and make plays. Head coach Monte Dilworth and his Bobcats know that they have a special football prospect here – and as the spotlight will be on this team in 2017, you will hear more and more about this impressive talent.
2018 – Santiago Venegas, QB, Miami Belen Jesuit. When you watch football players, in their quest to get better, it is amazing how youngsters of today have the time to keep up with the demands that the sport of football dictates. With Venegas, his passion for the game and being around it for as long as he has will always give him a major advantage. He attends everything and will do his best to get better and start to turn heads. This season, with all the hard work and dedication behind him, this tremendous prospect embarks on his final season – and as the Wolverines have changed their offense – he will now be given that opportunity to enhance what he has worked on.
2019 – Lavelton Williams, RB, Fort Lauderdale. Yet another football talent that continues to pop up each and every year in South Florida. A potentially big time football player who has two years to continue working on his craft. A big back that coaches have already started to watch and understand that his maturity still will take over during the next two years – and that adds to why everyone will continue to see what this impressive talent brings to the table over the next few seasons. Keep your eye on this young man.
Catch the South Florida High Sports Radio Show each Monday night (9-10) 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!