SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: Could This Finally Be Cardinal Gibbons Year?

Larry Blustein
May 28, 2018 - 1:38 pm

Larry Blustein

If you happen to be a Cardinal Gibbons football fan, nobody has to tell you about frustration.

The past two years – with a tremendous team and plenty of talent, the Chiefs fell short to longtime district nemesis, American Heritage, twice.

Both games were close and both contests were enough to continue to give this football program plenty of confidence. Many felt that the state title game was played in Plantation and not in Orlando.

As we head into the offseason and get ready for the summer, head coach Matt Dubuc and his team believe that this is the year. Not to take anything away from head coach Pat Surtain and his two-time defending 5A state champs, but this is one of those programs that has built toward this point for several years, and after last year’s battle, they are indeed tested.

After a convincing 21-7 win over 7A Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer in the spring game – with dozens of college coaches watching, Cardinal Gibbons is one of the most complete teams in South Florida.

“There are so many used to American Heritage coming out on top, and for good reason,” Alex Myers of USA Recruiting explained. “But if you know football and take the emotion out of the game, Cardinal Gibbons has the talent and experience edge over just about any team in South Florida, and they will have a chance to prove it.”

Credibility is always important – and when the Chiefs completely dismantled defending 8A state champion Miami Southridge last season, many started to believe.

This season, in addition to American Heritage and a trip to Georgia, they will open the season with Miami-Dade powerhouse, Central.

“I have watched all the teams in South Florida this spring and there is no doubt that on any day, Cardinal Gibbons can lineup with anyone,” Myers pointed out. “If you think that you are just going to roll over this team – because they do not have that winning reputation – you will lose. They have way too much talent. Ask the 70 plus major colleges who were through the campus this spring!”

OFFENSE HAS THE EXPERIENCE

The success of this program will certainly begin on offense – where Class of 2019 quarterback Nik Scalzo, a University of Kentucky commit, leads a tremendous group.

Scalzo, who is considered one of the best in South Florida does have promising Class of 2021 prospect Brody Palhegyi ready if needed.

The running game is one of the most complete you will find – with Class of 2019 standout Vincent Davis – along with Class of 2020 prospect Tajae Davis.

In addition, Class of 2020 standouts Coleman Bennett an Andy Feliciano add depth.

The receiving corps, which lost several playmakers, will count on some quality football players to add balance.

Class of 2019 athletes include Chris Benestad, Dimon Stewart and heavily recruited tight end Nikolas Ognenovic.

Class of 2020 standouts Samir Brown, Jordan Freeman, Dasani Gordon and Jackson Marseille are all solid. So are Class of 2021 athletes Jamal Edrine, Jake Harrington, Noah Hart, P.J. O’Brien, Troy Stellato and big time Majon Wright, the younger brother of Daniel and Major Wright.

When it comes to the line, Dubuc believes that this is one of the best they have had.

Class of 2019 prospects John Diaz, Jordan Johnson and heavily recruited Jamari Williams and Willie Hepburn.

Class of 2020 rising standout Gerald Mincey is joined by a 2021 group that features Kervin Aaron, Jertavis Black, Connor Blake, Anthony Earle, Kyle Herrera and William Spicer.

DEFENSE WILL SET THE TONE

Make no mistake that when it comes to defense, this is a program that has produced some impressive defensive players.

Up front, there is no question that everything revolves around Class of 2019 defensive end Khris Bogle. This long, athletic and quick football talent has attracted just about every college in the country – and for good reason.

Also up front, the Chiefs also have fellow Class of 2019 prospects Rashon Crooks and Chad Tiernan, as well as Class of 2020 standouts Terry Mareus and defensive end Karl Mehrhoff. The Class of 2021 (sophomores) also boasts Joey Brooks and Javon Pierre.

Last season, the Chiefs were among the best at the linebacker position. Playmakers in every direction.

This season, with the injury to Class of 2019 standout Nico Scheesley, the Chiefs will now look to fellow Class of 2019 playmakers Yahweh Jeudy and Trevis Robinson.

Underclassmen will be vital to this team in 2018. With Class of 2020 rising prospects Lucas Marcinkervicius and Tommy Reid – along with Class of 2021 football players Austin Cooper and Mark Findley.

Everyone talks about the way Cardinal Gibbons has been able to compete against the elite teams as they climb toward the top. One of those things is a secondary that has produced top-flight talent.

This year, replacing those playmakers from last season, will not be easy – but the Class of 2019 is loaded with leaders. Donovan James

Derek Atwaters, Alexander Battle, Ta’von McBride, Sidney Porter and Allen Bryant have shown they can play the game.

Add in Class of 2020 future standouts Richard Haynie, Messiah Johnson, Cameron Jones and Dave Williams, and you can see why the Chiefs are so highly regarded.

Even the current freshman class (2021) has its share of star power with Sanaan Cuffy, Zack Farris, Ty Jones, Jai Levison and Hugo Silsby.

Once again this year, you can expect the special teams to be very special.

Class of 2019 standout Daton Montiel is solid on his kickoffs and could be one of the best punters around. The Chiefs also have Class of 2020 kickers Thomas Carney and Hristos Kommatas, who recently won a kicking showcase.

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