Huge Surprises Highlight The Opening Week

When head coach Mike Manasco’s Palmetto team opened with a 41-7 win over Killian, the Panthers embarked on a season that could be one of the most promising in school history.

Coming into last Friday night’s season opener against Monsignor Pace at home, there were many who began to doubt how good head coach Pat Surtain and his American Heritage football team would be after missing out on a return to the 5A state title game. That question was answered in a major way over a three hour period – as the Patriots cruised to a 49-10 win.

The week began on Wednesday as Christopher Columbus and Belen Jesuit squared off in a battle of running backs – with Henry Parrish, who is headed to the University of Pittsburgh – going against University of Miami commitment Don Chaney Jr. Parrish showed why he is so highly regarded, running for 324 yards in a win and helping head coach Dave Dunn win his return to the program. 41-7.

If the first week of the 2019 high school football season didn’t get your attention, you simply may not have a pulse.

With south Florida programs jumping into the national spotlight – with games being televised for the country to see – the new season began in a major way.

From California to south Florida and everywhere in between, area programs stood tall in a spotlight that was bright enough to help kickoff the new season.

As head coach Roger Harriott and his St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders were grabbing the attention on the west coast, coming away with a huge 24-14 win against national power De La Salle, Miami Northwestern was making a statement in the Battle of Miami-Dade vs. Broward, shutting down defending 5A state champion Cardinal Gibbons, 32-0.

What head coach Max Edwards and his two-time defending state champion Bulls showed in the opener is if you are going to beat them this season, penetrating their defense will be a must – and head coach Matt Dubuc and his Chiefs never put the ball in the end zone.

In the second Battle of Miami-Dade vs. Broward contest played at Traz Powell Stadium, Carol City head coach Josh Taylor made his debut in a win over Deerfield Beach – with defense and key plays being the difference in a 24-12 win.

Saturday was not a great day for Miami Central and head coach Roland Smith as the Rockets, who came into the ESPN matchup with national power St. Frances Academy of Maryland as the top area team, went up against possibly the country’s best program, losing 49-13.

The week began on Wednesday as Christopher Columbus and Belen Jesuit squared off in a battle of running backs – with Henry Parrish, who is headed to the University of Pittsburgh – going against University of Miami commitment Don Chaney Jr. Parrish showed why he is so highly regarded, running for 324 yards in a win and helping head coach Dave Dunn win his return to the program. 41-7.

When head coach Mike Manasco’s Palmetto team opened with a 41-7 win over Killian, the Panthers embarked on a season that could be one of the most promising in school history.

Coming into last Friday night’s season opener against Monsignor Pace at home, there were many who began to doubt how good head coach Pat Surtain and his American Heritage football team would be after missing out on a return to the 5A state title game. That question was answered in a major way over a three hour period – as the Patriots cruised to a 49-10 win.

Losing in a pre-season matchup to American Heritage, many fans were also asking the same question of head coach Dameon Jones and his two-time defending 3A state champion Chaminade-Madonna Lions as they headed down the street to play Hollywood rival McArthur.

By the end of the matchup with the 7A Mustangs, a 21-12 win showed that this team is on path for a fourth straight trip to the state finals.

When it comes to 8A football, there are a few teams who have been getting plenty of attention, but South Dade has been overlooked – and that is driving veteran head coach Nate Hudson and the Bucs. A 34-0 win over 7A Doral Academy was the perfect way to start out 2019.

Speaking about respect, with head coach Tim “Ice” Harris moving on to Florida Memorial University, Booker T. Washington – with rival Miami Central coming up this Friday, showcased first year head coach Ben Hanks, using a solid defense and a timely offense to beat Lehigh, 44-7.

One of the most overlooked programs in south Florida are the 4A University School Sharks – where head coach Daniel Luque opened the season with a convincing 44-7 win at 1A Pahokee.

Another team that many could be sleeping on are the Dillard Panthers – where head coach Eddie Frasier won his first game, 55-0 over Piper. The best is yet to come for this program.

There are other teams who everyone will need to keep an eye on – as the season continues to unfold:

. Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian (3A) came up with a huge win over 2A rising power Miami Christian.

. Gulliver Prep, a 4A school, showed 8A Coral Gables that they will be for real this season.

. In 7A, keep your eye on Hialeah – as the T-Breds opened the season with a convincing win against Hialeah-Miami Lakes.

. Defending 2A state runner-up Champagnat Catholic is searching for another trip to state – opening with a huge win at 6A New Smyrna Beach.

. Miramar also broke out of the gate on opening night as they beat 6A Miami Norland 25-10 and served notice that the Patriots will be a force in 7A.

. One of the programs that is certainly building for the future are the Monarch Knights, who opened the year with a big win. They could be a player in 8A for years to come.

. One of the most impressive wins this past weekend came over 600 miles from south Florida when North Miami Beach stunned Alabama power Enterprise – giving the 5A Chargers a huge start under veteran head coach Jeff Bertani, who has coaches longer than any current head coach in south Florida – over the past three plus decades – is anxious to lead his team in 5A.

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