SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: Dillard Working Hard For Success In 2018

Larry Blustein
July 23, 2018 - 11:12 am

Larry Blustein

When Toriano Morgan took over Dillard’s football program, he made no promises other than his teams would work hard and be ready for every game.

Coming off a season in which the Panthers won a district title, Morgan, who has had vital college coaching experience, understands that while winning a district crown is always tremendous for any program, the road is much longer than just appearing in the first round of the playoffs.

With Miami Central, Miami Norland, Miami Carol City or Miami Northwestern almost a certain first and second round opponent for the Panthers, getting players to buy in and be committed to the program is essential – and cannot come by just talking about it.

What Morgan has done this past spring and into the summer is get every player and coach on the same page.

“The important part of any program that is looking to grow is that everyone has to buy into what everyone is doing,” Morgan said. “This area has always had the talent to win, and what we need to do is tap into that and work harder than ever before.”

With Boyd Anderson, Boynton Beach and Northeast in the district, and a very competitive non-district schedule, which includes Miami Booker T. Washington, Western, Cardinal Gibbons, Hollywood Hills, Stranahan, Archbishop McCarthy and the annual Soul Bowl with Blanche Ely, things are looking very promising in 2018.


There were times in 2017 that the Panthers had trouble moving the ball. While the offensive line is young in some spots, the amount of weapons that this unit has could make a huge difference.

With competition being the key word around this program, quarterback certainly has enough capable players to keep everyone on their toes. Senior Tyrease McConn has experience and talent, but so do Class of 2020 standouts Keon Gooding, Jarvis Lewis and Marcus Nowell

Morgan knows that the offense needs to have as many capable playmakers as possible, so that’s why the running game will be loaded – with gifted senior Sky Louis leading the way.

The Panthers will also unleash juniors Patrick Bowen, John Cross and Kevon Walker as well as sophomores D’mon Brinson and Leonard Sholtz and incoming freshman Method Bradley.

With balance being the objective – the group of receivers the Panthers have are also impressive – with seniors Jacquez Chance, Xzavier Cintron, Kevin Felder, Jr., William Houston and Avontae Mobley leading the way.

Juniors Angel Andino, Tacobi Becklum (TE), and talented Elijah Black make up a gifted group of juniors. With sophomores Jaylin Collins, Keiven Morgan, Evan Valcourt and impressive Lamont Scott, Dillard believes the future is now.

There is no getting around the fact that success starts up front. Do the Panthers have enough to support the skill players behind them?

That is one of the objectives – as sophomores Amir Anderson, Rosene O’Neal and Christopher Stephens need to step and lead the way for a very young group.

That talented but very youthful unit includes DeAndre Campbell, Marcus Harris, Justin Lewis and Malik Louis.


The Panthers realize that what happens over the first month of the season will help build the character needed to win football games.

While the offense will have the opportunity to some big things, it’s defense and the team speed that the Panthers have that will end up determining what the year will be like.

Up front, senior leadership will be important with Kevon Hall, Jarod Jackson, Jr. and defensive end Shanoyd White leading the way.

Juniors Rodner Exumn, Aaron Honer, Javon Johnson and Kalen O’Neal will be vital. So will sophomores Deandre Campbell (DE) and Justin Cross – as well as incoming freshman Nyjalik Kelly.

With several starting linebackers moving on from last year, the Panthers will look to a very young group to start the years out.

Juniors Dave Clarke, Tyrease Clowers, Abraham Gipson, Jerry Jean, Jacquan Marlow and Darious Williams will be counted on heavily. Incoming freshman Demetrious Heller will be important as well.

If there’s a place where the senior leadership will truly take hold is in the secondary – where Jordan Aexander, Jahlead Fleming, Darrion Harris, Omari Hill, Jontavious Johnson and Carl Mosley all have talent.

Juniors Dakari Cabell, Favion Haden, Keon Smith and Elijah Walker are very impressive. So are sophomores Shemar Carr, Ced James and Jerry Jean.

Junior Ralph Olbrice will handle the kicking for the Panthers in 2018.

From the time National Signing Day took place back in February, we have been promoting some of the programs across Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

From the defending state champions to those who were close – and those teams who figure to be in the mix in 2018 - we have had the chance to follow.

Even though athletes continue to change schools, we will still bring you every prospect – several times – no matter where they are.

This list of our Spring/Summer Spotlight will continue right through as part of our 2018 Countdown To Kickoff.

American Heritage (Plantation) Patriots.

Belen Jesuit (Miami) Wolverines.

Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale) Chiefs.

Carol City (Miami) Chiefs.

Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood) Lions.

Champagnat Catholic (Hialeah) Lions.

Christopher Columbus (Miami) Explorers.

Deerfield Beach Bucks.

Miramar Patriots.

Norland (Miami) Vikings.

North Miami Pioneers.

Northwestern (Miami) Bulls.

Palmetto (Miami) Panthers.

Plantation Colonels.

Southridge Spartans.

St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) Raiders.

University School (Fort Lauderdale) Sharks.

West Broward (Pembroke Pines) Bobcats.

Western (Davie) Wildcats.

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