Larry Blustein

SPRING SPOTLIGHT – Champagnat Catholic Looks Toward Orlando, Again

Larry Blustein
March 26, 2019 - 12:40 pm

For the next six months – right up until the kickoff of the 2019 season – we will bring you up close with some of the top football teams in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

With so many tremendous programs to promote, as we have for much of the past six decades, it is important to mention football players and coaches as part of the recruiting process.

At a time when individual accomplishments are magnified – and for good reason – the team concept has completely gotten out of the equation. It has, and it’s sad, but part of what we are living in. People are in a rush to tell everyone about a 6-5, 255-pound linebacker who runs 4.5, but what about the 5-10, 195 pounder who plays the same position and makes the same amount of plays?

There are never enough eyes to go around in south Florida. Just when you watch five budding stars, there are five more who will be just as good and just as fast.

What we will do – in our weekly prospect and team report – is bring you the programs who were involved in the state championships a year ago.

After we look at Chaminade-Madonna (3A), Cardinal Gibbons (5A), Miami Northwestern (6A), St. Thomas Aquinas (7A) and Christopher Columbus (8A), we will continue to take a look at the contenders in south Florida.

THE LIONS CONTINUE TO ROAR

While they didn’t repeat their 2A state title from the year before, first year head coach Hector Clavijo and his team fought and clawed its way back to Orlando for the third straight year.

To get back to Orlando for an amazing fourth straight time, this program will need plenty of good health and for things to click from a young program.

The past two years have watched the Lions say goodbye to plenty of talent, making the younger players – like 9th and 10th graders – having to play vital roles - with few backups with any experience.

Offensively, this is a team that didn’t score in bunches, but with 2020 quarterback James Herard, 2021 standout Emile Bien Aime and Class of 2024 (7th grade – soon to be in the 8th) Reshaude Williams, there is talent and skill.

There is indeed plenty of football skill at running back – where Calvin Montgomery (2020) and Donovan Jones (2021) return with plenty to give.

The receiving corps is impressive. Colleges have been watching this group for a few years, and the main 2020 target is four year starter Johnquai Lewis, a talented pass catcher who schools need to continue to watch. Nobody has more experience at the varsity level than he does.

Other 2020 receivers will be Chris Paxton and Curmari Dobson.

Class of 2021 prospects will also be needed to come through to help add depth. Standouts Malik Rutherford, Ashton Beck and Eathan Nozile – as well as Class of 2020 rising standout Shayon Walton – will contribute.

The one thing that Clavijo and his coaching staff found over the years is that depth, especially up front on both sides of the line of scrimmage will be essential. Mission accomplished!

Class of 2020 players leading the way will be Dedrick Hall (OT), Ainsworth Bain (OG), Darnell Georges (OG) and versatile Yeurys Feliz, who not only plays tackle, but can play tight end as well.

Class of 2021 will not only add depth, but some frontline talent as well. Elias Blandon is solid at center – while Sandy Corzo (OT) and Kevin Ramos (OG) will also figure in the depth chart.

In addition, Class of 2022 guard Adam Dziri – and Class of 2023 rising performers Melvin Herrera (C/G) and Lamari Turner (OG) will be ready to go this spring.

CAN THE DEFENSE KEEP IT GOING?

The trademark during the success of this program has been defense. It got them to the state finals last year, and should keep them in the running in 2019.

Up front, on the line, there are a number of athletes who can play – and have made huge strides. Class of 2020 prospects have experience and will provide that leadership. Players such as Patrick Renazile (DT), and tackles Kaleb Evans, Cheyanne Locurr and Ezekiel Figueroa.

The Lions also have Class of 2021 standouts Deondrick Speight (DE) and Stephon Hyatt (LB/DE), and impressive Class of 2023 defensive end Jose Aguirre.

With Class of 2020 athletes Malcolm Colson and Jhorge Figueroa – as well as Class of 2021 rising prospects Walter Phillips and Tyler Grissom, this group is talented and will continue to pick up experience. 

The secondary will be gifted and experienced – with 2020 standouts Shedrick Ursery (CB), and safeties Jonathan Nesbit and Damian Grover.

There is also Class of 2021 players cornerback Justin Payoute and Class of 2022 cornerback Simi Pierre.

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each Monday/Tuesday night (8-9) on WQAM (560AM - https://wqam.radio.com/media/podcast/south-florida-high-school-sports-radio). 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!