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Larry Blustein

SPRING SPOTLIGHT: Streaking American Heritage Back For More In 2018

Larry Blustein
April 16, 2018 - 10:26 am

When the American Heritage Patriots scored 27 points in the second quarter of last year’s 5A state title game, it all but sealed a 27th straight win and a third consecutive state title.

When head coach Pat Surtain and his team rolled to 45-15 win over previously unbeaten Baker County, it gave this program another state championship – four in five years – and a seat at the top of all programs in the state of Florida.

The program which has met all challenges – at home and on the road have earned the right to sit on top of that hill – especially in the best area in the country for high school football talent.

As the three time defending 5A state champions watch some major stars move on to the next level, there is a sense that taking this team lightly will be making the same mistake that the past three years have proven.

While many big time players moved on, the Patriots have done exactly what every other program – public and private – have done for decades – reload!

Because of graduation over the past two years, there is not one area of the team you can look at and say they are absolutely the best – but they are not far off.

The defensive secondary has been strong for as long as anyone can remember – and with a mix of returnees and newcomers – it may be the best place to look again.

Class of 2019 prospects Clarence Burley (CB), Timothy Butler (CB), Kamryn Giles (S), converted receiver Johnmichael Serna (S) and Michael Weber, Jr. (S) are solid and will be looked to for experience.

Class of 2020 standouts Daryl Porter, Jr. (CB) and Andrew Volmar (S) are solid, but so are 2021 stars of the future Aaron Felder (CB), Conner Maron (CB), Ja’Den McBurrows (CB) and Boogsie Silvera (S).

While the linebackers are young, they may end up being as talented as any – with Class of 2019 performers Reece Chase and J. Frank Melgarejo, who is also one of the best long snappers in the country.

The sophomore class is amazing – with Andy Garcia (OLB), Ruben Hyppolite, II (OLB) and Roberto Martinez (OLB).

Up front, coming up with prospects to pick up where Nesta Silvera and Andrew Chatfield left off will be tough, but with Class of 2019 athletes Derek Burns (DE) and Brandon Stapleton (DT), things can pick up quickly. Burns is one of the most underrated players around – and at every event the one-time Archbishop McCarthy standout attends – he turns heads.

In addition, Class of 2020 emerging stars Kerry Graham (DE/DT) and Jeremy Hernandez, 2021 prospect Dallas Turner (DE), and 2022 big timers Justin Février (DT) and Richard Thomas (DE/DE), the table is set for the future.

OFFENSE HAS THE TOOLS

What has given this program so much stability in the past will be another source of the focus in 2018. The offensive line, which has lost five top-flight prospects in the past 2 years, had to once again go through a rebuilding process, but this year may have been easier.

As quality is leaving, there were prospects who were on hand – as well as a few newcomers – who will look to come together in the spring.

Class of 2019 big men 2019 - Marek Malinowski (C/T)

Gabriel Khanehrish (G),  Tyler Milord (G) and transfer Khiry Stubbs (T) gives this unit stability.

Class of 2020 – prospects Kristopher Love (G/T), Andre Mestre (G/C) and Hunter Zambrano (G) are solid. So is Class of 2o21 emerging standout Chris Stumpo (G).

The one position that has helped to keep this program together through the years is quarterback – where the play the past two years has put this team in a position to win.

This season, Class of 2020 standout Edwin Rhodes has watched the past two years and is ready to grab control.

He is joined by Class of 2019 player Jeffrey Miliffe and 2021 future star Matthew O’Dowd.

The experience on this team will be with three Class of 2019 stars. Tyler Jones is easily one of the most underrated runner in South Florida. Brandon Cohen was a Miami-Dade County rushing champion as a sophomore – and big back Lavelton Williams, who comes from Fort Lauderdale has the size to play for a long time.

While the receiving corps have also lost some big time playmakers in the past two seasons, there are rising stars such as Class of 2022 prospect Marvin Jones, Jr., Class of 2021 fast rising standout Oronde Gadsden, II and Class of 2020 standouts Douglas Emilien and Keeven McBride.

The Class of 2019 will also have talented and experienced playmakers such as Beau Johnson (TE), Reece Malvasio, Tyler March and Damian Sutton.

With Class of 2019 kicker/punter Jimmy Lowery (PK), the Patriots have one of the elite.

NEXT WEEK: We Usher In The Spring With A Look At The Defending 6A State Champion Miami Northwestern Bulls.

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each week on WQAM (560AM). For the past 11 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot about football recruiting!

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