Larry Blustein

MONDAY TAKE: The Season Begins Today For South Florida Teams

When football programs heads back to the practice fields this week in south Florida, the objective is still the same.

Like it has been for decades, it’s where you end up in December is all that counts. It’s all anyone really cares about.

All the 7-on-7 events that you won during the summer are memories that only your friends and family care about. Remember those line camps that you brought home a trophy from? It means nothing now.

What does mean something is finishing the season off with a win. Very few do it – and while the playoffs are vital to the success of any program, people seem to remember those holding the trophies in the end.

For 2A state runner up Champagnat Catholic, two-time defending champ Chaminade-Madonna (3A), defending state champion Cardinal Gibbons (5A), two-time defending state champion Miami Northwestern (6A), state runner-up St. Thomas Aquinas (7A), and state runner-up Christopher Columbus (8A), this is the chance to stay at a high level – and everyone knows that it will not be easy.

With the change in classifications this coming year, the face of football will change statewide. Class 6A, which had affectionately been known as the “SEC of high school football” has now lost that tag to 4A – where it is stacked, especially in south Florida.

The competition will be fierce once again – with the giants staying near the top – and the schedules going through the rood with nationally-rated competition.

Today, as we began practice for the 2019 season, we take a look at some of the programs from south Florida who we will all be watching.

8A

This is a five team race from the start – with a few others may getting into the mix.

Miami Palmetto, South Dade and defending state runner-up Columbus – with new head coach Dave Dunn in the south. Up north, talented Deerfield Beach and very gifted Western team.

Here are the other teams from Miami-Dade and Broward in 8A:

Coral Gables

Coral Glades

Coral Springs

Cypress Bay

Flanagan

Miami High

Monarch

Piper

Southwest Miami

Taravella

West Broward

7A

This is all St. Thomas Aquinas – which it should be. Until someone from this region can knock them off, nobody can feel otherwise.

McArthur and Hialeah have promising programs, but not in the league with the Raiders. It would be one of the biggest upsets in modern history if St. Thomas doesn’t get out of this area.

Here are some others to keep an eye on in 7A:

American

Blanche Ely

Cooper City

Doral Academy

Everglades

Fort Lauderdale

Homestead

Mater Academy

Miami Beach

Miramar

North Miami

Nova

Plantation

South Broward

South Plantation

6A

This one time powerhouse district has changed – with only Central and Norland remaining.

It would be another major upset if Central didn’t go to state. The Rockets are loaded.

Only Dillard has the bodies to compete – like they did last year.

Here are some other 6A programs to keep an eye on:

Archbishop McCarthy

Belen Jesuit

Boyd Anderson

Hollywood Hills

Northeast

South Miami

Southridge

5A

While many may not want to admit to it, this is a two team race to meet Rockledge to represent the south in Daytona.

Two-time defending state champion Northwestern – or a Plantation American Heritage squad that missed out a year ago.

The Bulls remain stacked with talent – while the Patriots look to replace key prospects.

Here is a look at some of the other 5A programs:

Coconut Creek

Hallandale

Key West

Miami Jackson

Miami Killian

Miami Springs

North Miami Beach

Stranahan

4A
This is the classification that every football fan wants to keep an eye on this coming season.

Defending 5A state champion Cardinal Gibbons, powerhouse Carol City, always well coached and talented University School, rejuvenated Monsignor Pace, always gifted Booker T. Washington and suddenly, a ready to challenge Gulliver Prep squad.

This is a class that is too tough to pick. Way too many athletes on these rosters.

Here is a look at the rest of the 4A schools:

Coral Springs Charter

LaSalle

North Broward Prep

Pine Crest

Somerset Academy (Pembroke Pines)

3A

On paper, this is all two-time defending state champion Chaminade-Madonna. They are loaded everywhere – and while Miami Edison has some kids who can play – the Lions and head coach Dameon Jones are way too talented and deep.

Here are some other schools to keep an eye on in 3A:

Calvary Christian

Palmer Trinity

Pinecrest Prep

Somerset Charter (Silver Palms)

Westminster Christian

2A

What more can you say here? Champagnat Catholic who has been to the finals three straight years – winning two years ago – and a Miami Christian team that has loaded up and has the talent to compete.

While there are a few others in the region, the winner of that contest should produce the southern finalist. Westminster Academy has tremendous coaching and solid athletes.

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