FRIDAY FOCUS: South Florida Is Loving The Spotlight

Larry Blustein
August 31, 2018 - 10:05 am

Larry Blustein

Go anywhere during the off-season and you will find south Florida athletes, competing in something football related - and always wanting to be in that spotlight.

While this is certainly not another bash the rest of the country blog, it is a friendly reminder that while we take nothing away from the national powers, NONE run the talent gauntlet that the elite programs in south Florida do. FACT!

The greatest thing that has happened over the years with high school football is that we are gaining more and more national exposure, and yes, I know the coaches are not the highest paid, but we have dedicated people who are in this more to develop players and the communities in which we all live in.

To me, if I had a say in coaching salaries, I would tell you that it’s a crime that we have public school coaches working for next to nothing - and that is not stretching the truth. We are losing some very good young coaches, but are keeping many at home as well.

Any way, this Friday finds some tremendous games with programs from this area - after a night where Frank Gore, who was taking the night off from the Dolphins, was watching his son’s Miami Killian team - along with current University of Miami and former Killian standout Sheldrick Redwine.

Tonight, the curtain will rise on two programs at Tropical Park that will NOT define the season, but certainly will give one a leg up on being among the area’s best.

When Northwestern travels to Tropical Park for a 7:30 game with Christopher Columbus, it pits two top 10 programs. Last year, in a rain shortened game, the defending 6A state champion Bulls held the upper hand. In the past, they have done the same.

They have long been the obstacle - along with Central - for head coach Chris Merritt’s team to really grab any lasting attention. Even moving to 8A - while the Bulls and Rockets stayed where they were - never really changed anything. Sure, Columbus did advance to the state title game a few years back, but football fans in south Florida have never felt that these two programs are on the same level.

Tonight may or may not change that, but what will happen for nearly three hours will be two outstanding and prospect-rich programs getting some Friday night spotlight with a large crowd.

THE RIVALRY CONTINUES 

When Booker T. Washington failed to reach the playoffs last season, there was a thought that the schedule that this program had was far too challenging, especially when the other 4A schools were not even coming close to playing those types of schools - and everything was based on a point system.

While the same schedule will greet the Tornadoes this year, things may change starting next season - as some of the larger schools will be taken off the every week schedule of games, which is something that should be done.

There are two games that cannot be removed from the schedule. One is Northwestern and the other is Central. Too many ties between those two programs and classic matchups over the past few years.

Tonight, Traz Powell Stadium once again becomes the sight for a 7:30 matchup in a game that has always been competitive and has produced some elite stars - many who have moved on to the next level - and beyond.

It is one of those games - where Central, like this evening, comes in as a favorite, is not a sure thing. These games feature so many elite athletes that anything can happen.

In addition to these matchups, today around south Florida will also be very interesting. Here is a look:

TODAY’S GAMES

Coral Park at Hialeah Gardens, 3:30

Gulliver Prep at Everglades Prep (Harris Field), 3:30

Boca Raton Christian at Somerset Academy, 4

Monarch at Hollywood Hills, 4

Somerset Silver Palms at Palmer Trinity, 4

Boynton at Boyd Anderson, 7

Coconut Creek vs Greeley West, Colorado (Windermere Prep), 7

Dillard at Western, 7

Ft. Lauderdale at Northeast, 7

Hallandale at McArthur, 7

Immokalee at University School (Autonation Field), 7

Key West at Pine Crest, 7

LaSalle at Calvary Christian Academy, 7

Miami Christian at Ransom Everglades, 7

North Broward Prep at N. Palm Beach Benjamin, 7

North Miami at Southridge, Friday, 7:30

Nova at Taravella, 7 

Plantation at Blanche Ely, 7

St. Andrew’s at Pines Charter, 7

St. Thomas Aquinas at Piper, 7 

Stranahan at South Broward, 7

West Broward at Coral Glades, 7

Clewiston at Monsignor Pace, 7:30

Cooper City at Lakeland, 7:30

Goleman at Westland Hialeah (Hendricks), 7:30

Krop at Miami High (Curtis), 7:30

Northwestern at Columbus (Tropical), 7:30. 

North Miami at Southridge, 7:30

Southwest at South Dade (Harris), 7:30

Deerfield Beach at Griffin, Ga., (8:30)

Cardinal Gibbons at Milton, Ga. (8:30)

SATURDAY

Cypress Bay at Coral Spring, 11 a.m.

American Heritage at St. Joseph’s Region, N.J. (Milton, Ga.), 1:30

Douglas vs. St. Matthews, Ontario, Canada, 5 (Miton, Ga.) 

THURSDAY’S RESULTS

American (Hialeah) 28, Killian (Miami) 27

Coconut Creek 21, Greeley West (Colorado) 0

Columbine (Colorado) 27, Orange City University 14

Coral Gables 14, Edison 8

Doral Academy 42, South Miami 20

Fairview 43, Evans (Orlando) 0

Halifax Academy 40, Florida Deaf 0

Jackson (Miami) 44, Hialeah-Miami Lakes

Lehigh 12, Dunbar 6

Lincoln (Tallahassee) 28, Bainbridge, Ga. 6

Mater Academy 27, Reagan 6

Miami Beach 40, Varela 0

Miami Springs 27, Sunset 6

North Miami Beach 38, Coral Reef 15

Olympic Heights (Boca Raton) 42, Spanish River 7

Ralston Valley 45, Orlando University 14

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each Saturday morning (10-11) 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!