After over a decade of silence, watching programs such as Carol City, Norland, Northwestern and Killian bring home state titles and see the power shift away from Goulds and Richmond Heights, things are changing.
While first year head coach Patrick Burrows put in a plan to help this program bring back some of its past glory, it was to be another year or two until things were supposed to be in place. Not the first season. Not this fast.
Burrows, who had completely turned around Southwest Miami's fortunes with Lamarcus Joyner, has started to do the same things.
"Northwestern, Central and Columbus included," said senior quarterback Jermaine Kelson, who has been at the center of this turnaround. "We are the only 6A program in south Florida that has not lost, so why shouldn't we feel that way about being the best."
Kelson is indeed one of the players who has been responsible for the Spartans return to its dominating days. He is part of Burrows "bring back the kids who belong at this school" program, which also includes senior linebacker Ralph Williams, a University of Tennessee commit, who played for the 2A state runnerup Gulliver Raiders a year ago.
At 5-9, 175-pounds, Kelson is not the biggest player on the team, but this versatile quarterback, who originally attended Southridge before heading to nearby Doral Academy, is one of the fastest and most impressive leaders in the state.
"Jermaine does things from the quarterback position that brings back the old days of Southridge football," said Burrows, who had to play against the Spartans when he was a student at Killian. "He is a fast, smart and knows how to direct this offense. He flat-out makes this offense go."
Kelson is not the only prospect on the team. Senior receiver Lavaughn Whigham (6-1, 185), running back Christian Goods (5-9, 170), and UCF-bound brothers Jordan McCray (6-3, 300) and Justin McCray (6-2, 300). There is also junior receiver Reggie Knox (6-1, 180).
Defense is certainly a trademark of this year's team. Like the teams of the past, this unit gets after you with seniors such as Phillip Warren (5-11, 180), Antwon Wilson (6-1, 200), Michael Aguilera (5-10, 210), Anthony Sosa (6-0, 200) and Carl Waters (6-2, 280). There are also juniors Gerrod Holliman (6-0, 180), Mark Guerin (6-2, 200), Tommy Myles (5-10 235), Anthony Flowers (6-1, 190), sophomore linebacker Keith Brown (6-1, 195) and freshman linebacker Charles Davis, a 5-11, 180-pounder.
The Spartans also have a link to the past with freshman receiver Lileddie Webster, a speedy 5-7, 150-pounder, who is the nephew of the fabled Davis (Darren and Troy) brothers.
While the Spartans had another good week, here is a look at some other prospects across Miami-Dade County this week:
- Billy Kinsey rushed for 218 yards on 25 carries with two touchdowns to lead Braddock to a 31-28 win over Southwest. Hansley Fleurjerus added 113 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. As a team, Braddock rushed for an even 400 yards while picking up 16 total first downs in the game.
Southwest was led by senior running back Ed Smith, who rushed for a game-high 240 yards on 23 carries with three touchdowns, including a 96-yard run in the second quarter. Smith is one of the top running backs in Miami-Dade.
- One of the state's premier juniors was at it again. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was 9 of 11 for 173 yards and a touchdown in Northwestern's 49-0 win over Edison. The Red Raiders were playing their first game since the funeral for former Red Raiders and Uconn starting defensive back Jasper Howard Senior Corvin Lang, Isreal Linder and Jerrill Jenkins each rushed for two touchdowns as the Bulls gained 273 yards on the ground.
- The Belen Jesuit Wolverines continue to impress as they knocked off yet another Miami-Dade football power, Norland 27-12, to capture a district title.
Junior Manny Sicre led the Wolverines' rushing attack with 12 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown, and senior Sergio Fernandez-Soto had five rushes for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Belen did not attempt a pass in the game. Belen's defense also contained Norland sophomore running back Duke Johnson, who entered the game leading Miami-Dade overall in rushing, to 71 yards on 14 carries.
- All season long, junior running back Jerron Seymour has been a player everyone has kept an eye on. After a tough game last week against Central, the speedy back returned toi form in Hialeah's 21-7 win over Hialeah-Miami Lakes as he rushed for a game-high 179 yards on eight carries with two scores. T-bred quarterback Juan Soto helped his team to a 14-7 lead just before the half after connecting with Craig Wilkins for a 48-yard reception, setting up a 23-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Spence.
- Tuning up for next week's district survival showdown with Gulliver Prep, Monsignor Pace used the passing of senior Stephen Morris, who completed 8 of 18 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in a 31-6 win over LaSalle. William Bodden totaled 54 yards on 10 carries and scored a touchdown, and junior Jabari Gorman rushed for 47 yards on just two carries and also scored.
- Sophomore standout Deandre Jasper returned two kicks and caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Demetrius Whitehead in Jackson's rebound 24-11 win over Ferguson. Junior Robenson Therezie (five carries, 67 yards, one touchdown) and Terronce Robbins 11 carries, 68 yards) led Jackson on the ground.
- Senior running back Jarvis Bridge led the Coral Gables offense with 198 yards rushing on 12 attempts and three touchdown runs of 2, 38, and 60 yards in a 48-0 win over Coral Park. Senior quarterback Patrick McCain threw for three touchdown passes, two of which were to senior wide receiver Andre Gutierrez.
- Dylan Dunlap hit a 27-yard field goal in the third overtime to lift Palmetto past Homestead 13-10. Junior Wyatt Chickillo completed 11 of 16 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown, with one interception, and Eldridge Wilcox caught a 79-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to tie the score at 7 for Palmetto.
- Senior running back Carlos Campos had 16 carries for 174 yards and three touchdowns and Mike Rivadeneira added 88 rushing yards to lead Sunset to a 35-26 win over Varlea. John Adeniyi led Varela with 92 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and quarterback Jordan Armstrong ran for 90 yards and threw a touchdown pass.
- Junior Rakeem Cato completed 11 of 16 passes for 269 yards and five touchdowns, including a 68-yard scoring pass to junior Tommy Shuler as Miami Springs defeated Miami Beach, 35-28. Cato passed for 218 yards in the second half. He threw three touchdown passes to Shuler.