SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: A New High School Season Begins Today

Larry Blustein
July 30, 2018 - 10:11 am

Larry Blustein

For the past 47 years, we have had the best seat in the house for some of the best high school football in the nation. Year 48 begins today!

While there are so many teams and players that start the year with high expectations, the new year brings with it so many dreams of winning a district, region and state title. 

As teams hit the field for the first week of practice, the theme once again this year will be new faces in different places – with some programs bringing in as many as 15 new players to fill out rosters.

Because the bar is so very high in south Florida – with so many prospects moving on to college and ultimately the NFL – this has become big business, and while the Dolphins and Hurricanes have not been in the spotlight the past few decades, the popularity of high school football and recruiting has never been more popular.

DEFENDING A STATE TITLE

As the hopes remain high for the upcoming season, there will be just four programs who will start the 2018 season as defending state champions.

With a coaching change and many players coming and going, Hector Clavijo and his Champagnat Catholic Lions will do what they can to defend a 2A state title that was won last December in Orlando.

With some prospects returning, this will be a very young team that will attempt to get back to the state championship game for the third straight year.

In 3A, head coach Dameon Jones and his Chaminade-Mdonna Lions head into the season as overwhelming favorites to win for the second straight year.

Loaded with big time athletes – even after last year’s record group that went to college – the Lions are certainly loaded up with athletes everywhere on the field.

If Plantation American Heritage is to keep it going for head coach Pat Surtain in 5A, the Patriots will have to reload and battle rival Cardinal Gibbons and much improved Miami Jackson in the district and region.

But this is a team that knows how to win – sporting a 28-game winning streak and a pair of state titles.

While we understand that winning a 6A state title completely goes through south Florida – choosing the program that will emerge at the end is never an easy thing to do.

Miami Northwestern and head coach Max Edwards are the defending state champion, but know that Miami Central is hungry to get back, Norland will always have quality athletes – and Miami Carol City starts the years as the top team in south Florida and the best public school in Florida 

While we do not have 1A schools in south Florida – others than Palm Beach County’s Pahokee Blue Devils, all eyes will be on 4A, 7A and 8A all season.

With University School coming back as the No. 1 seed in 4A, things will certainly be a lot tougher in 2018 – as the field for the playoffs have been expanded to 6 teams, which will not include state-rated power Booker T. Washington.

As all roads to Orlando leading through Cocoa, which advanced a year ago, this should be very interesting season.

In 7A, St. Thomas Aquinas missed out on going to Orlando for the first time in three years. Don’t look for that to happen again in 2018.

Other than Dwyer, which has not even been close to the Raiders’ level, and Bradenton’s Braden River, there are no other teams that should be able to get close to this loaded team.

That will not be the case in 8A – as 10 teams have a chance to represent south Florida in Orlando.

In the north region, you have Palm Beach programs such as defending state runner-up Delray Atlantic and a very talent-rich Palm Beach Central squad. Add in Miramar, Western and Plantation, and the stakes are very high.

In Miami-Dade County, in the southern part of the region, North Miami, Southridge, South Dade, Palmetto, North Miami, Belen Jesuit and Christopher Columbus all have a chance.

Last year, it was Sedrick Irvin and Miami High that advanced the furthest. This season, Irvin goes back to his alma mater, Southridge, and it will not be easy.

2018 REGIONS/DISTRICTS

Region 4-2A

Champagnat Catholic

Community School of Naples

Dade Christian

First Baptist Academy

Glades Day

International School of Broward

Marco Island Academy

Moore Haven

St. John Neumann

The Benjamin School

Village Academy

Region 4-3A

American Heritage Delray

Calvary Christian

Chaminade-Madonna

Everglades Prep

Palmer Trinity

Pinecrest Prep

Somerset Silver Palms

St. John Paul II

Westminster Academy

Westminster Christian

Region 4-4A

Booker T. Washington

Clewiston

Coral Springs Charter

Edison

Glades Central

Gulliver Prep

Immaculate LaSalle

Key West

Monsignor Pace

North Broward Prep

Pine Crest

Somerset Academy

University School

5A Districts

15

Fort Pierce Westwood’

Port St. Lucie

Pompano Beach

Riviera Beach Suncoast

District 16

American Heritage 

Cardinal Gibbons

Coconut Creek’Halandale

Miami Jackson

Stranahan

6A Districts

District 15

Boyd Anderson

Boynton Beach

Dillard

Northeast

District 16

Carol City

Central

Hialeah-Miami Lakes

Norland

Northwestern

7A Districts

District 14

Blanche Ely

Fort Lauderdale

St. Thomas Aquinas

District 15

Cooper City

Hollywood Hills

McArthur

Nova

South Broward

West Broward

District 16

Barbara Goleman

Doral Academy

Mater Academy

Miami Sunset

Mourning

Reagan

South Miami

Westland Hialeah

8A Districts

District 11

Coral Springs

Deerfield Beach

Douglas

Monarch

Piper

Taravella

District 12

Cypress Bay

Everglades

Flanagan

Miramar

Plantation

South Plantation

Western

District 13

American

Dr. Krop

Hialeah 

Hialeah Gardens

North Miami

North Miami Beach

District 14

Christopher Columbus

Coral Gables

Coral Park

Miami Beach

Miami High

District 15

Belen Jesuit

Coral Reef

Felix Varela

Ferguson

Holmes Braddock

Southwest Miami

District 16

Homestead

Miami Killian

Miami Palmetto

Miami Southridge

South Dade

Independent

Coral Springs Coral Glades

Tavernier Coral Shores

Miami Florida Christian

North Miami Beach Hillel

Hollywood Christian

Hollywood International School of Broward

Pembroke Pines Charter

Miami Pinecrest Prep

Pompano Beach

Miami Ransom Everglades

Pembroke Pines Somerset Academy 

Miami St. Brendan

Fort Upperroom Christian

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!