Showdown in the Glades
From the minute the new classifications were set in the spring there were talks of several dream postseason matchups. One of them was a third-round matchup between Norland (Miami, Fla.) and Glades Central (Belle Glade, Fla.).
Both teams are nationally ranked and come into Friday's contest with 12-0 records. Norland features 2012 Under Armour All-American Randy “Duke” Johnson, who is expected to be one of the top candidates for Florida's Mr. Football award.
Glades Central feels like they have their own all-purpose star in Class of 2013 Watch list member Will Likely. Both players will spend time at running back, wide receiver, defensive back, long snapper and possibly work the concession stands, if asked.
“We normally have a practice each week when I have to get on the kids,” Glades Central assistant coach Reidel Anthony said. “But this week it's been all business. When the season started we circled this game and I'm sure they did too.”
Meanwhile Johnson, a Miami commit, has a group of linebackers from Glades who are waiting for him. Wake Forest commit Dominique Gibson and three-star linebacker/safety Jatavis Brown will have to be at their best Friday.
“It's going to be a terrific challenge and I know my players wouldn't have it any other way,” Norland head coach Darryl Heidelburg said. “We've had to wait 12 weeks before we could talk about it but now it's hear."
Agholor faces tough test
ESPNU 150 athlete Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep) has been the catalyst behind a Berkeley Prep team that has rolled through its schedule this season. But Friday it will hit the road to take on American Heritage (Delray Beach, Fla.), one of the top small-school programs in the state.
While Berkeley is new to this stage of the playoffs, American Heritage is going for its fourth appearance in the state championships over the last five years. It is led by 2013 Watch List member Greg Bryant, who is fresh off of a 171-yard performance that included two interceptions and a touchdown on defense.
“We know they are a great program with a lot of great players,” Agholor said. “We knew we were going to have to face Heritage or University to get where we want to go and we want to win a state championship.”
Beyond Agholor, expect a busy night for three-star linebacker Schyler Miles, who will most likely have the task of containing the 5-10, 195-pound Bryant.
To be the man...
Cocoa is going for a fourth consecutive state championship but in order to reach the state finals it will have to travel to Miami-Dade County and face another former state champion, Booker T. Washington.
To prepare for this game and this playoff run Cooca had one of the toughest schedules in the nation, facing Skyline (Dallas, Texas), Colertain (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Miami Central during the season.
So far the plan has worked as Cocoa has won its first two playoff games by a total of 120-0.
“I expect this game to be considerably different,” Cocoa head coach John Wilkinson said . “I have a ton of respect for Booker T. Washington and their coach Tim Harris. They will be bigger, faster and ready to play.”
Class of 2013 Watch List running back Taurean Folston will continue to carry much of the load for Cocoa's dynamic rushing attack, while linebacker/safety Grady Redding Jr. will have to keep Booker T. Washington's young, explosive offense in check. The Tornadoes have youth on both sides of the ball with Class of 2014 athlete Treon Harris and fellow sophomore Lamar Parker leading a group of solid playmakers.
Booker T Washington also has a big, strong offensive line with Class of 2013 prospect Denver Kirkland going through his third year as a starter. The 6-4, 300-pounder already has an offer from Rutgers.
Isidora backs 'Canes
In what's been a topsy-turvy period for Miami recruiting, it seems like coach Al Golden is landing a new recruit for every one he loses.
After losing four-star wide receiver Ricquan Southward to Ohio State to start the weekend, Miami struck back with four-star offensive lineman Daniel Isidora (Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay) by the middle of the week.
The 6-3, 335-pounder chose the Hurricanes over Wisconsin and Michigan. North Carolina and Florida State were also making a late push but Isidora's heart was always with the 'Canes.
“Danny has been a fan of Miami since he was young and I think hearing about Coach [Al] Golden's extension really pushed him to make the commitment,” Cypress Bay head coach Mark Guandolo said. “He was a little concerned about the sanctions but knowing he's going to be playing for Coach Golden put him at ease.”
Price ready for trips
While Under Armour All-American tight end Sean Price (Citra, Fla./North Marion) doesn't have all of his dates set yet the 6-3, 230-pound tight end will take his official visits now that his high school season is over.
“I'm still committed to South Florida but I want to see what some of these other programs have to offer,” Price said.
Price expects to take an official visit to Miami in December and said Tennessee, Arkansas and Alabama are also on his short list.
A final decision is expected on or right before national signing day.