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August 28, 2006

Sunshine State Report

There was plenty of Friday night action in the Sunshine State this past week as high school football got underway all across Florida, but a lot of the state's attention turned north to South Carolina on Saturday, as Glades Central made the 11-hour trip to represent the state against the three-time defending Palmetto State champion Byrnes Rebels.

The much ballyhooed match-up of the two FAB 50 programs, No. 6 Byrnes and No. 16 Glades Central was televised on ESPN and featured Elite 11 quarterback Willy Korn of Byrnes along with a host of Division I prospects on both squads.

Byrnes turned out to be too much for Glades, as they defeated the Raiders 27-15. The Raiders were their own worst enemy, as they had opportunities to take advantage of five Rebel turnovers but were unable to convert the mistakes into points.

Top Florida programs Lakeland, Nease and Mainland were all in action this weekend. The defending Class 5A state champs and FAB 50 No. 1 Lakeland Dreadnaughts pasted Venice 42-7. Senior RB and Florida commit Chris Rainey led the way for Lakeland on opening night, rushing for 267 yards and four touchdowns on just 15 carries. Alabama commit Jamar Taylor added 103 yards and a score on 13 carries as Lakeland rushed for 384 yards on the night.

The Class 4A No. 4 and defending state champion Nease Panthers played an inter-state game against the Memphis University School in the first game of the post-Tim Tebow era. The Panthers kept rolling as they handed the Tennessee state champs a 34-3 loss. Junior quarterback, Ted Stachitas led a balanced run/pass attack that proved to be no match for the Owls.

Class 5A Daytona Beach Mainland handed rival DeLand a convincing 28-8 loss, led by quarterback/receiver combo of Derek Taylor and Montari Leonard.

In Broward County action, defending Class 2A state champion and FAB 50 No. 23 ranked Chaminade-Madonna took on 6A Everglades Friday night. The game was an intriguing one pitting a rising Everglades program versus traditional small school power Chaminade, but in the end the Lions showed why they are one of the best teams in the state handing Everglades a 34-6 loss.

Another 6A powerhouse and last year's state runner up, No. 5 Deerfield Beach squeaked by 5A Dillard 14-7, in a defensive struggle that featured a host of turnovers and three and outs. A three-yard run by Matt Whitfield put the Bucks ahead with 3:07 left, it was the only lead Deerfield would need.

Other regional action pitted Class 5A No. 10 Pompano Beach Ely against rival Boyd Anderson. The game was tight 12-6 going into the fourth quarter and both teams were stingy defensively. Then Ely junior Patrick Johnson took control of the game and scored the game tying touchdown and two-point conversion lifting the Tigers over the Cobras 14-12.

In Weston, the Cypress Bay Lightning hosted the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders, 2005 Class 5A state runner-up and preseason 5A No. 2 team. The Raiders were simply too much for the Lightning forcing turnovers and converting them into points. St. Thomas put the game away in the third quarter on a 53-yard punt return by Phillip Pierre-Louis and cruised to a 31-3 victory.

Coral Glades scored a mild upset as they defeated District 9-6A Taravella, 27-16. Taravella, is home to former University of Miami standout linebacker and Carolina Panther Dan Morgan, and were heavily favored in this cross-town match-up. The Jags capitalized on a pair of turnovers to take a two-touchdown lead and never looked back.

The Mayor's Cup went to Pembroke Pines Charter as they defeated rival, Flanagan. The Jags were able to run the ball effectively with the help of new offensive coach and former Minnesota Viking star Robert Smith. Nico Amaro, senior quarterback and Navy recruit, led the way and helped preserve the 28-14 win.

The 5A No. 4 ranked Spartans of Hollywood Hills and their star junior running back, Chris Anderson, traveled to Class 4A Hallandale Beach to take on the Hallandale Chargers. Anderson paced the ground attack and rushed for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Joe Wacenske also ran for 100 yards and two more touchdowns as the Spartans handed the Chargers a 35-19 loss.

Elsewhere Coconut Creek blanked Pompano Beach 20-0. The Cougars held the Tornadoes to minus-22 yards of offense and forced three turnovers.

Northeast shutout Douglas 28-0 as running back Bo Williams rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns. South Broward came back with 27 seconds left to defeat Miramar 15-14 on a Marvin Sylvestre 8-yard run and a successful two-point conversion from Octvaious Hawkins to Aaron Strumski. Western forced 5 turnovers and Junior Allen rushed for 152 yards en route to a 34-14 win over Nova.

Miami-Dade County action featured the game of the week as the 6A No. 1 and FAB 50 No. 34 Northwestern Bulls took on rival Carol City. The game was a lopsided 50-13 affair with the Bulls showing why they are considered the best team in Class 6A. Senior running back Antwain Easterling ripped of 153 yards and three touchdowns and that is all Northwestern would need.

Class 4A No. 3 Booker T. Washington played Homestead at Curtis Park and the game came down to a field goal. The Tornadoes trailed 13-0 at one point, but erased the deficit and took the lead 14-13. The Broncos lined up for a 38-yard field goal to take the lead for good, but kicker Julio Moraga pushed it wide right and Washington escaped with the win.

Coral Gables used a 63-yard punt return by Curtis Johnson Jr. to pull away 21-6 over Sunset at Tropical Field. In an defensive struggle, 6A No. 7 Miami Central edged Norland 7-6. The Vikings had a chance to attempt a game winning field goal with eight seconds left, but instead they faked it and threw an incomplete pass allowing the Rockets to escape with the win.

6A No. 3 Miami Killian dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides and routed Miami High 25-0. The Cougars rushed for 211 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns, led by Lamar Miller's 79 yards on 9 carries and a pair of scores. North Miami shut out Hialeah Miami-Lakes 13-0 on the strength of the defense and a solid ground game led by senior fullback, Jeff Andre's 92 yards on 11 carries. HML missed star RB Armando Allen, who is likely out for the year after suffering an ankle/lower leg injury in the preseason.

In 1A action, LaSalle knocked off Miami Country Day 41-33 in an offensive shoot out. The Royal Lions used a potent rushing attack racking up 342 yards on 39 carries and 5 scores. The Spartans relied on quarterback Paul Riemer's arm as he threw for 334 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Class 3A No. 7 Monsignor Pace traveled over 4 hours to Orlando to take on Class 5A Lyman in Longwood. The drive was worth it for the Class 3A Spartans as they made a statement defeating the Greyhounds 21-3. The Spartans were able to convert two touchdowns off three Greyhound turnovers. Archbishop Carroll used a late 11-yard touchdown run by Brandon Marti to beat 1A No. 5 Palm Beach Benjamin 28-21.

Elsewhere around the state, senior RB Bilal Powell ran for 291 yards and five touchdowns to lead 5A No. 8 Lake Gibson past 3A No. 4 Kathleen 40-27.

In 6A, No. 2 Palm Beach Gardens topped Lake Worth 36-12, No. 4 Edgewater opened with a 54-0 win over Oak Ridge, Lake Brantley topped No. 8 Apopka 7-3, No. 9 Winter Park beat Boone 24-20 and No. 10 East Ridge edged 2A No. 2 South Sumter 16-10.

In other 5A top 10 action, No. 3 Palm Bay topped Merritt Island 21-14, No. 5 Niceville pounded Rutherford 28-3, No. 6 Atlantic blanked Boynton Beach 20-0, No. 7 Bartram Trail subdued Palatka 31-7 and No. 9 Manatee fell to 4A No. 7 and crosstown adversary Bradenton Southeast, 28-21.

4A No. 1 Armwood opened with a hard-fought 19-9 win over No. 8 Hillsborough. No. 2 Dwyer got 216 yards and a TD passing plus two rushing TDs from sophomore QB Bradley Wallace in a 34-7 win over Jupiter. No. 5 Tallahassee Lincoln blanked Rickards 33-0, No. 6 Miami Edison topped American 26-14, No. 9 Pace edged Fort Walton Beach 35-34 and No. 10 Lake City Columbia shutout Suwannee 34-0.

Kynon Codrington is new to the SSFootball.com team and based in Florida. To contact him about top teams or players in the Sunshine State, email kynon@studentsports.com.

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