MONDAY TAKE: South Florida Football Takes No Backseat

Larry Blustein
September 10, 2018 - 12:57 pm

Larry Blustein

This is the time of year, following some great football games over the weekend, where you sit back and reflect.

As someone who has covered plenty of games throughout the years, it’s tough to remember when we have had so many teams who are playing at a national level.’’

Nobody has to tell me or anyone else who follows south Florida football that our athletes end up going much further than anywhere in the country – and it’s NOT close at all. But what we have lacked throughout the years are those marquee football teams.

This past weekend revealed to many who pay attention nationally, that our players are not only at another level, but our programs are now at the point where they are kicking “nationally-rated” butt.

If these national analysts who cover this sport can actually sit there and look us straight in the face and tell all the fans that Florida is not far above the rest of the country, they are fooling themselves and everyone who follows them.

Take a look at the national high school football rankings when the season started and see how many of those programs were private schools who can recruit players from all over their region and beyond.

California powers Mater Dei and St. John Bosco. IMG Academy, St. John’s of Washington, D.C. and St. Francis of Maryland to name a few. Even the public schools that are listed among the nation’s elite were schools that are suburb programs that have very little competition from other area schools.

In south Florida, with the exception of St. Thomas, American Heritage, Chaminade-Madonna, Christopher Columbus and University School, the talent at the public schools have been amazing – to say the least.

While we understand that those national powers are stacked with talent and great coaching, there is NO way that any of them would roll Carol City. No way – and if you look at the rosters of all those powers and follow all of their decorated athletes over the next five years, it’s a joke how many south Florida athletes far exceed what they do.

What south Florida football boils down to is Deerfield Beach, Miami Central, Palmetto, South Dade and Plantation have a ton of Power 5 prospects on their rosters – which is not present at larger cities across the country.

This is not a “homer” blog. The facts do not lie –and when a Deerfield, Central, Northwestern and Booker T. Washington beat these national powers, it is not a surprise to people here in this region.

Having traveled throughout the country for decades and seeing the talent, we are often impressed by some of those quality players, but what will always separate us from anywhere in the country are the sheer numbers who compete in this sport 

There is nothing better than watching a high school football game where athletes and coaches respect and know each other, competing year round for decades.


There is no doubt that when it comes to top performances, south Florida has some elite players who continue to step it up each week.

Check out some of these impressive games for the third week of the season:

2019 - Demetrius Burns, QB, Homestead South Dade. Was 14 of 24 for 238 yards and 1 TD in a win over Miami Northwestern. 

2019 – Alan Crawford, RB, Davie Western. Ran for 183 yards and a score in a win over Hallandale.

2019 – Malcolm Denbow, RB, Pembroke Pines West Broward. One of south Florida’s leading rushers after three weeks had 146 yards in a loss to McArthur.

2020 – Ruben Hyppolite, LB, Plantation American Heritage. Had seven tackles, including a sack and an interception in a win over Miramar.

2021 - Tyler Johnson, OLB/DE, South Dade. Came up with 3 sacks and 8 total tackles in a win over Miami Northwestern. 

2019 – Ryan Kavanaugh, QB, Parkland Douglas. Helped the 2-0 Eagles win their first home game of the year – an emotional return to campus – beating South Broward by the magical number of 17!

2019 – Nik Scalzo, QB, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons. The Kentucky bound senior threw for 326 yards and 3 TDs in a win over Dillard.

2019 – T.J. Smith, QB, Hollywood McArthur. Threw for 2 TDs and 265 yards in a district win over West Broward.

2019 – Amaru Teneus, DB, Miami Carol City. Came up with an interception and severak big plays in a win over Christopher Columbus.

2021 – James Williams, S, Plantation American Heritage. The talented sophomore had two interceptions in a win over Miramar.

2019 – Myles Wilson, CB, Davie Western. Came up with 2 interceptions and returned one for 61 yards in a win over Hallandale. He also had 7 tackles.


The only area in the entire state of Florida that begins its games at 7:30 could be changing for the 2019 season.

Miami-Dade, which started its games at 8:00 for much of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, is rumored to be discussing moving to 7:00 for all night games, which is the starting time for the rest of Florida’s high school programs.

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each Tuesday night (8-9) 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!