Inner city high schools prepare for football competition
By Derek Joy
First of Four Parts
The 2011 high school football season provided some intense athletic competition amid a show of high caliber talent.
While three of what some might call inner city high schools in Miami Dade County made it to the State Finals last year, only one brought back a title – the Norland Vikings. Booker T. Washington and Miami Central were defeated in the 4A and 6A championship games.
So, what’s in store for the 2012 season? Well now. Let’s see.
For openers, two of the seven schools changed athletic directors. And there are two first year head coaches. The Carol City Chiefs have Eric Lape as athletic director to replace Andre Williams, who is now athletic director at his alma mater, Miami Northwestern.
Antonio Brown replaced Ni-gel Dunn as head coach at Miami Jackson. Brown, a graduate of Miami Central and West Virginia University, was Dunn’s defensive coordinator for three years. Stephen Field became the first Anglo head coach at Miami Northwestern when he was hired to replace Billie Rolle, who retired.
“I think Dade County speaks for itself with talent,” said Brown, who played in the NFL for four years – two with the Buffalo Bills and two with the Washington Redskins. We’re going to show up and compete. We’ll look forward to each challenge.”
The Generals made the playoffs each of the last three years. Those playoff runs ended in the first two rounds each year. They want to go further this year.
“I have not seen a championship won in spring practice,” said Brown, when asked the difference between spring practice and fall practice. “From here on in everything counts.”
What Brown and his coaching staff is counting on is a talented core of players on offense and defense.
Junior quarterback Quinton Flowers, junior receiver Timothy Bellinger, senior running back Tinoris Timmons, junior receiver Vincent Hall and sophomore receiver Terrence Rutherford are expected to provide offensive punch.
On the defensive side of the ball Brown looks for leadership from senior safety Christopher Williams, senior cornerback Dvondre Powell and sophomore defensive end/linebacker Kevonis Davis.
The Generals will get a better idea of what’s to come when they square off against the Coral Gables Cavaliers in the Aug.24 Kick-off Classic and the following week in the season opener against Dr. Michael Krop Lightning.
“It doesn’t make a lot of difference with us being 5A playing teams in 6A, 7A and 8A. These kids have played with or against each other since Pop Warner. So it doesn’t really matter.”
Booker T. Washington, which was defeated by Jacksonville Bolles in the State Championship Class 4A Championship game to compete for another championship. The Tornadoes won the State Class 4A Championship in 2007.
They must first conquer their District foes – Miami Edison, Pace Gulliver and Doral. The Tornadoes take on the Miami Northwestern Bulls in their Kick-off Classic, Aug. 25, and open the season Aug. 30, against the Chiefs.
“When you come so close and don’t win it all, it motivates you to improve,” Tornadoes Head Coach Tim “Ice” Harris, Sr. “We’re teaching every day. It’s about patience. Some kids don’t understand that success takes patience.
“That’s why I take them out to see other places, other players, other areas beyond their home boundaries. Right now, we don’t want to single out any specific players. We’ll wait until after the Kick-off Classic and the first game. Then we’ll see how they perform”
Miami Edison is preparing for its third season under Head Coach Trevor Harris, a graduate of Norland and Bethune Cookman University. The Red Raiders are looking to improve on last season’s 6-4 record.
“We’re trying to make our Kick-off Classic a ‘Trophy Game’ because of the large Haitian American population at both schools,” said Harris in looking forward to their Aug.24, date with the North Miami Pioneers.
“We’re a senior heavy team. We probably have only 15 or 20 new players coming in. Last year we 40 to 45 players because we don’t have a junior varsity team. Last year we had six coaches. This year we have eight.”
Harris is counting on leadership from senior receiver Markey Joyner, senior receiver Jude Timothy, junior quarterback Timothy LaBody and junior receiver Otis Grimes.
Defensively, the Red Raiders are counting on senior linebacker/nose guard Ricardo Cardona, senior defensive end/linebacker Rodney Lovinsky, junior middle linebacker Roy Jean Joseph and senior linebacker Guy Hillarie.
The Red Raiders open the season against Varela on Aug. 30.
“We’re trying to prove ourselves worthy of everything we get. That includes competition on the field, increased parental involvement, support from fans, boosters and the community,” Harris said.