Larry Blustein

SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: 8A – Miami Palmetto Is Ready For The Challenge

Through the years, Miami Palmetto’s football programs has always had football talent, but often boasting individuals and not a team.

As the 2019 season will unfold in a few months, the Panthers and head coach Mike Manasco will be one of five 8A football TEAMS with a legitimate chance to defend the south in December in Daytona Beach.

For the Panthers, who will share a southern spotlight with South Dade and Christopher Columbus – and the northern duo of Deerfield Beach and Western, it is all about staying healthy and not putting everything on the talented underclassmen.

With only 14 total seniors on the entire roster, it will be in the hands of playmakers – no matter what class they happen to be in.

“We have the talent and are slowly gaining the momentum, but still have a long way to go,” explained Manasco, a Palmetto graduate himself. “We need everyone wearing this uniform to step up and make an impact.”

As the offense is truly gifted, it will be the defense that brings the most proven playmakers to the table. It was this defensive unit that was amazing in the spring games in Palm Beach against host Palm Beach Lakes and Rockledge.

Up front, this unit loaded with underclassman, and standout Leonard Taylor leads the way after a tremendous spring that showcased his amazing skills. He was just impossible to block this spring and every college coach was sold with this junior.

Other junior linemen expected to make an impact this coming season include: Trevon Ball, Dwight Dassaw (DE), Melvin Dean (DE) and Jarrett Woodley. There is also sophomore Jamarrion Solomon and the lone senior Jaime Henderson.

Although there are several young linebacker prospects, the Panthers also have a trio of seniors they can count on – with Jaylen Jones, Dean Kniseley and standout playmaker David Ealey.

Palmetto also features juniors Nyheim Floyd, and sophomores Carlos Guerrero and Jaiden Louis.

The secondary has the potential to be as good as you get at this level – with just one senior, Robert Hanna.

Leading a very gifted junior class is heavily recruited Corey Collier Jr., who continues to turn heads everywhere he goes. But he certainly not alone. The junior class is extremely impressive – with Craig Bethel, Marc Charlemange, Derrick Edwards. Versatile Jason Marshall, athletic Cahron Rackley and Octavious Winkfield.

Class of 2022 rising prospects Marquis Charlemange and Octavious Pender are special as well.


When you lose a quality quarterback and several key playmakers, replacing them sounds much easier than it is.

The Panthers headed into the summer looking to continue to work on an offense that will be led by sophomore quarterbacks Bryan Jacobson and very athletic and promising Kevin Smith.

The Panthers still have a solid running game with junior standout Brashard Smith, and sophomores Tyrone Maxwell and Isaiah Mosley.

When it comes to catching the ball, the Panthers have the players – and with a trio of seniors such as standouts Kentron Poitier, Mitchell Haggins and tight end Alex Valverde, there are playmakers. Add in junior Luca Rodriguez – as well as sophomore difference makers Bob Golden

and speedy Mike Jackson – and you have a chance to be very special.

In the spring it was all about the offensive line – and this is an area that has made some major strides.

Beginning with seniors Kamran Darville, Matthew Guerrero, Al Quezada, Dwayne Robinson and Allen Smiley, this is a unit that will special.

Add in juniors Clarence Bailey, Brandon Fields, Jake McCreary and Lamond Morrison, and sophomore Jacob Jeudy.

With the kicking game one of the best in south Florida a year ago, replacing that huge is has been the objective – with kickers Ariel Colodner and Cole Schmidt.


It’s all about promoting the best talent in the country – and right up until the start of the 2019 season, we will spotlight south Florida football teams that figure to be in the mix for a state title this coming season.

We began our series, looking at state championship game teams from 2018 with 2A state runner 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 new coach Dave Dunn and state runner-up Christopher Columbus (8A).

Click on the link to check them all out!

2A – Hialeah Champagnat Lions.

3A – Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna Lions.

4A - Fort Lauderdale University School Sharks.

4A – Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons Chiefs.

4A – Miami Booker T. Washington Tornadoes.

4A – Miami Carol City Chiefs.

5A – Miami Northwestern Bulls.

6A – Miami Central Rockets.

7A – Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.

7A - Plantation Colonels.

8A – Davie Western Wildcats.

8A – Deerfield Beach Bucks.

8A – Miami Christopher Columbus Explorers.

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each Monday night (8-10) in the summer on WQAM (560AM - For the past 12 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot about football recruiting!