MONDAY TAKE: Fort Lauderdale Turns Heads – In Round 1

Larry Blustein
November 12, 2018 - 11:10 am

Larry Blustein

While we already know about the great talent that emerges during the state football playoffs, there are those programs who rarely get the chance to jump into this coveted spotlight.

The playoffs are a reward for those who worked hard during the year, and very few have worked harder than Fort Lauderdale.

The oldest school in Broward County, the Flying Ls have never been in the conversation as being among the best on the football field.

While this programs has had its share of quality players throughout the years, it had been nearly 50 years since this team won a playoff game.

Back in 1966, when the Flying Ls beat Winter Haven – before losing to Bradenton Manatee – it was the last time that this school had won on the football field.

Last Friday night, after compiling an impressive 9-2 record, competing in the same district as national power St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale finally broke through.

In beating Doral Academy, 54-7, this program did something that all those football teams of the past never accomplished, and that was great news for veteran head coach Richard Dunbar and his team.

A graduate of the school, Dunbar has been one of the most underrated coaches in south Florida, building this team from the bottom up – and never listening to those detractors who said that winning in football would be next to impossible at a school that has no youth feeder program or a population that was geared to the sport.

This team, which has traveled everywhere to expose its athletes over the past five plus years, has started to turn out talent. Prospects that major colleges were impressed with.

“We knew that if we gave these young men a true football experience – plus the quality education that this schools is known for, positive things would happen,” Dunbar explained. “Every player and coach at this school has bought in to what we saw many years ago.”

In a world where attending everything and giving your team exposure year round, the Flying Ls have certainly turned some heads – as they head into this week’s rematch with St. Thomas.

FORT LAUDERDALE PROSPECT WATCH

2021 – Xavier Angulo, OC/LS

2020 – Evan Augustin, CB

2019 – Kaleb Boateng, OL

2020 – Tyler Bray, S

2020 – Teron Brooks, RB

2019 – Deshawn Charmant, WR

2021 – Sam Clark, DT

2019 – David Crawford, CB/WR

2020 – Leo Cremades, QB

2020 – Tyrell Chrispin, OL

2020 – Jon Currington, OLB/RB

2020 – Antz Damas, TE/DE

2019 – Marlon Derilus, OLB/DT
2019 – Demetris Dorceus, DL

2019 – Desmond Dorceus, DL

2020 – Richard Dunbar, IV, WR

2020 – Cali Canaval-Ejem, PK

2021 – Jahmal Eldrine, WR

2021 – Demitray Fields, FS/WR

2020 – Rish Flerant, DT

2020 – Massimo Foerch, QB

2020 – Orayn Foster, FS

2020 – Robiy Gerve, OL

2019 – Roy Gillyard, DB

2019 – Andrew Golfin, Jr., WR/CB

2019 – Eric Hernandez, LB

2020 – C’quan Jnopierre, RB

2019 – Kevin Larkins, Jr., WR/QB
2019 – Antoine Lee, OL

2019 – Markevious Legree, CB

2020 – Trayvon Lewis, WR

2019 – Isaiah Livingston, WR

2020 – Justin Long, DT/OG

2019 – David McFadden, S/LB

2020 – Patrick Mertilus, LB

2020 – Ryan Popov, S

2019 – John Pritchard, DE

2019 – Stanley Robinson, WR/FS

2019 – Sterlin Rollins, RB

2019 – Ryan Sills, DB

2020 – Aramis Smith, FS

2019 – Damian Tanelus, WR

2020 – Kevin Tarver, S

2020 – Pierre Telisca, DE

2020 – Robert Varela, LB

2020 – Luis Villar, OL

2019 – Emanuel Villatoro, DL

2021 – Daniel Walford, OL

2019 – Isaiah Williams, FB/LB

2020 – Jamesly Youyoute, FB

HOW ABOUT THESE PROGRAMS?

In addition to Fort Lauderdale, which has certainly turned heads with a 9-2 record, there are others in south Florida that move into the second round – when many felt they wouldn’t.

Last year, head coach Adam Ratkevich and his Western High football program pulled the ultimate surprise by advancing to the third round of the state playoffs. Well. The Wildcats are back at it again.

After a stunning 21-7 win over previously unbeaten Delray Beach Atlantic, this program moves on in the playoffs with the belief that they have as much playoff experience as any team left in 8A-Region 3.

While you don’t usually point out a defending state champion for getting it done, but Miami Northwestern, which won last year’s 6A state title, went on the road to Daytona Beach and beat Mainland, handily.

While the Bulls are 6-5, and happen to play in the most prospect rich district in the country – with over 50 FBS prospects between the five schools – they now stay on the road to play this Friday at Palm Bay Heritage.

Another program that has enjoyed a solid season is head coach Earl Sims and his Gulliver Prep Raiders.

After a win at Miami Monsignor Pace to start the playoffs out, they will now stay on the road for a second round game at the No. 1 seed University School.

Two years ago, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic finished second in the state among 2A schools, losing to Jacksonville University Christian.

Last year, the Lions won the school’s second 2A state title, but with a coaching change and players coming and going, things started to change.

After an opening round win against Miami Christian, head coach Hector Clavijo and his team heads to No. 1 seed Moore Haven for the second straight year.

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!