FRIDAY FOCUS: Raiders & Rockets Are A National Showcase Tonight

Larry Blustein
September 21, 2018 - 10:09 am

Larry Blustein

It’s about time those across the country who cover high school football understand that the rest of the nation wants to see teams from the Sunshine State.

With no disrespect, are you really going to hype these “national” games with two or three major college athletes over teams from Miami-Dade and Broward? It makes no sense that ESPN and those who attempt to promote the players and the sport would shy away from teams exclusively from Florida.

Didn’t you ever notice how if a Florida team is showcased nationally, it is with another team from outside the state? It’s like they don’t trust us to have two programs from this region of the country.

That’s why tonight’s (7:00) monumental meeting between Central and St. Thomas Aquinas is such a focal point. Even with other quality matchups taking place across south Florida this evening, this first ever meeting between the two south Florida powers on the football field has not only filled local message boards, but this game is one that will have national interest - with by far the two most high level college producing programs in the country.

Speaking about producing talent - recently a list came out - as Miami-Dade was first in the country with 24 players currently on NFL rosters. Houston was second with 20. While nobody is disputing those numbers, the size of Houston and the amount of schools they have are equal in numbers to Dade, Broward and Palm Beach - and there is where you have the overwhelming numbers that pop out.

Between Miami-Dade, Broward & Palm Beach Counties there are 52 players in the NFL, and that shows you how amazingly dominating this region of the country is, and there is NO disputing it.

The Rockets will always play a tougher schedule than anyone in the state and perhaps the country. Understand that they are a PUBLIC SCHOOL, and for that reason, should be applauded for what they have been able to accomplish.

The Raiders are always going to be among the best with more players in the NFL and quality athletes making at the collegiate level as well.

What you have in this game are two well coached and savvy teams. Athletes who have lined it up against top competition for decades - and big time athletes who are always in the spotlight.

The Rockets are indeed tested, coming into this meeting, beating Cardinal Gibbons and rival Booker T. Washington - and losing a 5 overtime contest in Washington, D.C, against national powerhouse St. John’s Prep.

The Raiders come in unbeaten after beating then nationally rated DeMatha of Maryland and local schools. 

WESTLAND HIALEAH BREAKS THROUGH

They had set a state record of 47 straight losses, but on Thursday night, Westland Hialeah made sure that the streak came to an end.

By beating Mourning 6-0, Westland won for the first time since Oct. 4, 2013, and ended what had been Florida’s longest streak.

CORAL GABLES, PALMETTO SHOWCASE TALENT

Coming into Thursday night’s meeting at Tropical Park, head coach Roger Pollard and his Coral Gables Cavaliers knew that beating Palmetto - the No. 6 rated team in south Florida - would not be easy.

Taking a 13-0 lead into the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers could not hold on as the Panthers (4-0) rallied to tie the game at 13 and send it into overtime - where they pulled it out, 16-13.

Definitely keep your eye on Coral Gables over the next few years. They are young and well coached.

The Panthers will take their unbeaten squad into a meeting with district foe Southridge next week.

CORAL GABLES PROSPECT WATCH

2019 - Storm Banks, LB

2020 - Dimitris Biamby, LB

2019 - Willie Cunningham, DB

2019 - Freddy Espinosa, DE

2020 - Henry Everton, OL

2021 - Johnny Hassell, OL

2020 - Eliser Hernandez, OL

2021 - Terrell Huggins, WR

2019 - Roger Moore, WR

2019 - D’Angelo Paul, DT

2019 - Kevin Stewart, RB

2020 - Ian Valdez, WR

2019 - Gerald Williams, QB

2020 - Jermaine Witherspoon, DB

PALMETTO PROSPECT WATCH

2021 - Corey Collier, DB

2020 - Kameron Darville, OL

2019 - Mitchell Daverman, DL

2021 - Derrick Edwards, WR

2022 - Bob Golden, WR

2019 - Chris Greene, DL

2020 - Robert Hanna, DB

2019 - Tyler Larco, PK

2020 - Javon Marshall, Athlete

2021 - Lamond Morrison, OL

2019 - Cornelius Nunn, Athlete

2020 - Kentron Poitier, WR

2019 - Cairiq Rackley, QB

2019 - Cuevas Russ, DB

2021 - Brashard Smith, RB

2019 - Kane Vandemark, WR

2019 - Eddie Williams, LB

2021 - Ralph Williams, RB

THURSDAY NIGHT SCORES

Carol City (Miami) 76, Dr. Krop 0

Coral Glades 42, Pompano Beach 2

Coral Park (Miami) 46, Varela 13

Doral Academy 51, Reagan 21

Mater Academy (Hialeah) 36, Sunset 0

Palmetto (Miami) 16, Coral Gables 13, OT

Westland Hialeah 6, Mourning 0

TODAY’S GAMES

Palm Glades at Everglades Prep (Harris), 3:30

Calvary at Gulliver Prep, 4

Coral Reef at Homestead (Harris), 4

LaSalle at Somerset, 4

South Miami at Goleman, 4

American Heritage-Delray at Archbishop McCarthy, 7

No. 5 American Heritage-Plantation at No. 8 Chaminade Madonna, 7

Boyd Anderson at Blanche Ely, 7

No. 14 Cardinal Gibbons at Douglas, 7

Cypress Bay at No. 10 Plantation, 7 

No. 3 Deerfield Beach at Coral Springs, 7 

Gulliver Prep at Calvary Christian Academy, 7

Hollywood Hills at Dillard, 7

Mater Academy at Doral Academy, 7

No. 15 McArthur at Nova, 7

Miramar at South Plantation, 7 

Monarch at Northeast, 7

Monsignor Pace at No. 13 University School, 7

North Broward Prep at West Palm Beach King’s Academy, 7

Pine Crest at Fort Pierce John Carroll Catholic, 7

Pines Charter at Coral Springs Charter, 7

Somerset Academy at Melbourne Central Catholic, 7

South Broward at Everglades, 7

Western at Flanagan, 7 

Westminster Academy at Boca Raton Christian, 7

Belen Jesuit vs. No. 7 Christopher Columbus (Tropical), 7:30. .

Booker T. Washington at No. 13 Northwestern (Traz Powell), 7:30.

Killian at Ferguson (Southridge), 7:30

Norland at American (Hendricks), 7:30

Saturday, September 22

Hialeah Gardens at Braddock, 10 a.m.

Hallandale at Stranahan (South Plantation), 7 

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each Tuesday night (8-9) on WQAM (560AM - https://wqam.radio.com/media/podcast/south-florida-high-school-sports-radio). 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!