Larry Blustein

MONDAY TAKE: True Contenders Start To Make A Move

Larry Blustein
October 08, 2018 - 11:25 am

Seven weeks are now in the books for the 2018 high school football season and things are starting to really come into focus.

What did we learn so far this season – with just a month away from the first round of the state playoffs? Well, let’s put it this way, Miami Carol City and Miami Central are head and shoulders above everyone in south Florida.

On a weekend when St. Thomas Aquinas burst the bubble of 8A power Deerfield Beach by running the clock on the previously unbeaten Bucks, it is now apparent that no matter how anything plays out by the end of the year, Carol City and Central are in a league by themselves.

While it stings for the Raiders and American Heritage not be considered among the two best, the reality is Central not only crushed Cardinal Gibbons, but took St. Thomas apart in the second half, showcasing speed, size and a will to win like very few.

But seven weeks in, you want to talk about a program that has gotten disrespected from the first day of spring, you are talking about the Chiefs, who have embarrassed everyone on the schedule.

What the Chiefs have done to the opposition, which includes two-time defending 5A state champion American Heritage, Christopher Columbus and last Friday night’s humiliation of state-rated Southridge, 50-0, only tells a story of a program who has as much talent as anyone in Florida.

While the national people will rush to the defense of private schools factories, this is a PUBLIC SCHOOL, and very few places in the country play at this kind of level every season.

At the start of the year, those who make the national rankings, completely left a Carol City team out of the top 100, and when questioned by many who felt that this was perhaps one of the best teams in the country, they were ignored. Now, those same national people who blew off Carol City at the start of the season, are now on the bandwagon.

While there are a few key games coming up for the Chiefs, including defending 6A state champion Northwestern and the well-stocked Rockets on Oct. 26th at Traz Powell Stadium, this is a program that has won every game by an embarrassing average of 48 points, and that is not playing against a series of “cupcakes.”

RAIDERS TURN SOME HEADS

Even though St. Thomas Aquinas has long been a program that didn’t need to remind anyone how successful they have been for over the past three decades, the last regular season game of 2017 –when they suffered perhaps the most complete loss in decades against Miramar, and the contest last month when they were dominated in the fourth quarter at home against Central.

What last Friday night’s convincing win at Deerfield did for this program was put it back on course, and for as far as they can see – all the way to Orlando – head coach Roger Harriott’s team will be favored in every game – no matter who it will be.

With huge plays made by two-way junior standout Xavier Restrepo and senior quarterback Curt Casteel, the Raiders jumped out in front from the very beginning an never looked back – winning 38-6.

That very beginning happened to be on the first offensive play of the game when Casteel pitched the ball to Restrepo who threw to gifted junior Marcus Rosemy for the score.

In addition, senior running backs Daniel Carter and Nigel White made a huge impact on offense – with University of Miami-bound linebackers Avery Huff and Anthony Solomon coming up big all evening along with Ohio State commitment Jordan Battle.

The win will help this program get a No. 1 seed – after beating the No. 1 team (8A) in Florida – and picking up valuable points. Besides unbeaten McArthur, who sewed up a post season appearance, and Dwyer, there are very few teams who will challenge the Raiders.

DEERFIELD BEACH PROSPECT WATCH

2020 – Mykel Avin, OL/DL

2019 – Donte Banten, WR

2019 – Robert Boyd, OL

2019 – Dashaun Davis, WR

2019 – Miles Dickens, DE

2019 – Gemon Eaford, LB

2020 – Bryce Gowdy, WR

2020 – Woody Jean, OL

2020 – Derohn King, QB

2020 – Jaylen Knighton, RB

2019 – Keyon Martin, CB

2020 – Deajuan McDougle, WR

2020 – Louis Rolle, DB

2019 – Romello Rutty, LB

2019 – Christopher Townsel, S

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS PROSPECT WATCH

2019 – Myles Bell, DB

2019 – Jahmar Brown, LB

2019 – Jamal Cooney, WR

2019 – Jaden Davis, DB

2020 – Marcus Dumervil, OL

2020 – Jamari Maybin, DL

2019 – Semar Melvin, DB

2019 – Jason Munoz, DL

2019 – Vincent Murphy, OL

2019 – John Pope, OL

2021 – Tyreak Sapp, DT

2019 – Antonio Serrano, OL

2020 – Derek Wingo, Athlete

UNIVERSITY SCHOOL ROLLING ALONG

For many who challenged the schedule that NSU University School has played so far this season, last Friday night’s convincing 50-14 win over Delray American Heritage indeed showed how potent this team really is.

While they will never be confused with the major powers, head coach Daniel Luque and his team will be in the mix for a chance to represent the south among 4A schools.

On Friday, it was gifted sophomore quarterback Nick Vattitato who threw for 4 TDs and senior running back Kenny McIntosh had 139 yards and 2 TDs in the win.

STATE-RATED PROSPECTS

So far this season, several south Florida football players have stepped up to grab the spotlight statewide.

Among the quarterbacks who have been in the spotlight include University of Kentucky-bound Nik Scalzo (Cardinal Gibbons), Marshall commit Maurice Underwood (Miami Central), Edwin Rhodes (Plantation American Heritage and Hialeah’s Ryle Aguila.

Among the top receivers in the area are Coral Springs Charter’s Reynald Fleurival, Central’s Anthony Frederick and gifted Douglas Emilien (Plantation American Heritage)

Deerfield Beach junior Jaylan Knighton, Miami Coral Park’s Sammy Bencid and Somerset Academy’s Ahmad Fitchett have turned heads so far this season.

Defensively, Bobby McLaughlin (Coconut Creek Monarch), Dorian Jones (Plantation American Heritage) and Devin Carswell (Palm Glades) have been standing out.

Also on defense, Tatum Bethune (Miami Central), Malcolm Ray (Carol City), Tyreak Sapp (St. Thomas Aquinas) and Trevis Robinson (Cardinal Gibbons) have dominated.

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!