Craig Damon named FHSAA Executive Director Elect

craig_damon-FHSAA

DAMON RECEIVES UNANIMOUS VOTE TO BECOME NEW FHSAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

(GAINESVILLE) — The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) has named long-time staffer Craig Damon as the new Executive Director elect. Damon received a unanimous vote on Saturday night by the FHSAA Board of Directors to succeed George Tomyn, who headed the organization for the past 5 years, as the new Executive Director.

CRAIG DAMON
New FHSAA Executive Director elect

[ Photo Credit: FHSAA official website ]

Damon was one of 5 finalists for the position of FHSAA Executive Director. Each of the finalists was interviewed during the FHSAA Board of Directors Special Meeting on Saturday, and the final vote was taken by the board later in the evening.

The five finalists were (in order of interviewed):
Craig Damon
Lanness Robinson
David LaRosa
Scott Bass
Jamie Rohrer

The FHSAA Board of Directors voted unanimously for Craig Damon to become the 11th FHSAA Executive Director in the organization’s history and the FIRST African-American to helm Florida’s prestigious governing body of interscholastic athletics.

Damon has a myriad of direct high school experience and has been with the FHSAA since 2013, most recently serving as the FHSAA’s Associate Executive Director of Eligibility and Compliance.

Damon’s expertise and experience with eligibility and compliance should lend well to the transitioning high school athletic landscape where compensatory legislation and implementation of possible NIL compensation for student-athletes is a looming subject approaching many states with solutions being looked to the state’s official governing bodies for some form of structural guidance presenting balance.

Headquartered in Gainesville, The FHSAA is a non-profit 501c(3) corporation founded in 1920 and has been Florida’s official governing nonprofit organization for interscholastic athletics since 1997 under Florida Statute 1006.20.

Per the FHSAA’s official website: “The FHSAA sponsors over 3,500 championship series games through which 144 teams, and 294 individuals are crowned state champions in 32 sports each year. Over 2,000 student-athletes each year experience winning a championship. Through participation in these athletic programs, over 800,000 students annually are extended opportunities to receive lessons in leadership, sportsmanship and citizenship.”

The Executive Director’s duties entail but are not limited to being the Chief Executive Officer, supervision of FHSAA staff and office, interpretation of bylaws, guidelines, regulations, policies, and procedures, and corporate sponsorships. The Executive Director is there to provide guidance, but ultimately things become law by vote of the 16-person Board of Directors, which serves as the executive authority of the FHSAA. Board members are elected to serve a three-year term and may seek reappointment.

Damon’s entry as the helm of the FHSAA comes at a time when the upcoming football landscape is on the budding of a new classification system with teams being classified as Metro and Suburban. Earlier this year, the FHSAA Board of Directors voted 9-7 to base classifications for the next two years on 10-year census data. This marks a shift to supposedly provide equity to avoid major metro teams from consistently claiming the majority of titles for a region. In 2019, South Florida comprised of teams from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, claimed 7 of the 8 State Championship trophies.

Previous FHSAA Executive Directors

George D. Tomyn 2017-2022
Dr. Roger Dearing 2009-2017
John Stewart 2003-2008

————————-
Official Website: https://www.fhsaa.com
FHSAA Board of Director’s Special Meeting Agenda (Saturday, August 23, 2022): https://fhsaa.com/documents/2022/4/14//SPEC_BOD_MTG_AGENDA_4_23_22.pdf?id=2991

USFL Kicks Off Inaugural Season

USFL-Logo-800

BIRMINGHAM — The United States Football League (USFL) will play its inaugural season-opening game at Birmingham’s Protective Stadium on Saturday, April 16th before a nationally televised crowd simultaneously broadcasted on both NBC and Fox.

As players continue on their journey, continually striving to ultimately gain productive game tape to present eye time for scouts in the NFL, the USFL should become a new viable developmental league to provide a fertile output of players who’ve honed their skills to be evaluated by the NFL.

The USFL will consist of 8 teams nationwide who will play 10 regular-season games. One of those teams, The Tampa Bay Bandits, will represent our home state of Florida.

As we watch the opening season game between the Birmingham Stallions and the New Jersey Generals, let’s look at a few key players who honed their football skills on Florida’s gridiron.


BIRMINGHAM STALLIONS


#2

QB ALEX MCGOUGH 6’3″, 214 lbs.
Florida International

Tampa Gaither HS

#51
C JORDAN MCCRAY
6’2″, 280 lbs.
UCF
Miami Southridge

#4
WR OSIRUS MITCHELL
6’5″ 210 lBS.
Mississippi State
Sarasota Booker HS

#20

RB TONY BROOKS-JAMES 5’9″ 190 lBS.
Oregon
Gainesville HS

NEW JERSEY GENERALS

#1

QB DE’ANDRE JOHNSON 6’2″, 188 lbs.
Texas Southern via Florida Atlantic
First Coast HS
2014 Florida Mr. Football

#51
T GARRETT MCGHIN
6’5″, 320 lbs.
East Carolina
Florida High

#8
CB DAVID RIVERS III
6’1″, 185 lbs.
Youngstown State
Hialeah American

#57

LB TERRILL HANKS 6’3″, 220 lbs.
New Mexico State
Miami Immaculata LaSalle

For more additional information on the USFL, visit their website:
https://www.theusfl.com/

————
We at Florida Gridiron Preps will highlight former HS football players from the state of Florida on their complete journey from prep gridiron action to professional routes to later coaching journey.

Metro/Suburban Classification Plan APPROVED by FHSAA Board of Directors

fhsaav1_logo

HUGE CHANGES FOR UPCOMING 2022 FOOTBALL SEASON

(GAINESVILLE) — The Florida High School Athletic Association Board of Directors APPROVED the proposed Metro/Suburban Classification plan by a vote of 9-7 Monday afternoon as anxious high school football programs awaited the result that could potentially tilt the landscape of how Florida’s future State Championship teams will be classified and crowned.

According to the proposed (now approved) plan, Football Classifications will be based on 10-year census data. Florida’s 67 counties will be split between Metro and Suburban, with Metro class designations on teams in Florida’s 8 most densely populated counties based on the aggregated census data.

METRO CLASSIFICATION (4A-1A)

Florida’s new Metro Classification will consist of teams in Florida’s 8 most densely populated counties. These teams will be classified in Classes 4A-1A based on high school population.

High school football teams in these counties, designated Florida’s 8 most densely populated counties, will be classified in Florida’s new METRO Classification, (counties listed in alphabetical order):

Broward
Duval
Hillsborough
Miami-Dade
Orange
Palm Beach
Pinellas
Seminole

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, You see it right, South Florida, consisting of teams in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, are All METRO]

SUBURBAN CLASSIFICATION (4A-1A)

Florida’s new Suburban Classification will consist of teams in the remaining 59 counties, not designated as Metro. These teams will be classified in Classes 4A-1A based on high school population.

RURAL CLASSIFICATION (1A)

Current rural classifications

The plan was initially proposed to ultimately solve parity concerns in state championship series, with teams from the projected Metro classifications bringing nearly 90% of the state championship trophies in recent state final history. In 2019, South Florida teams took home 7 of the 8 state championship trophies.


MOVING FORWARD
Now that the plan has been approved by the FHSAA Board Directors, now comes the real work of the FHSAA properly designating teams. Classifications are larger now, being that a team that would have been classified in one of 8 classifications, can now only be classified in one of four classifications, based on a wider set of high school population numbers.

As far as scheduling, METRO teams will be able to play SUBURBAN teams. In both Metro and Suburban designations, classified teams must play their district schedule to advance to the playoffs. As in past years, the district champ will advance, with 4 at-large teams from each of the 4 regions based on ranking.

Once the official classifications have been released by the FHSAA, we will also designate and update all our team hubs statewide to show their new proper designation and classification for the upcoming 2022 season.

SOUTH FLORIDA RAMIFICATIONS
We hinted at it earlier, but let’s discuss how this may affect the state championship landscape, from a South Florida perspective. South Florida has been dominant in recent years achieving much success as perennial crowned champs coming from teams in the Tri-County area.

St. Thomas Aquinas, who holds Florida’s most state championship win record with 13 State Football Championships, celebrate after their 2021 Class 7A State Championship win in their hometown Fort Lauderdale

[PHOTO CREDIT: B. Jackson, Florida Gridiron Preps]

In the 2021 State Championship series, South Florida claimed 4 titles in Classes 3A (Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna — Broward County), Classes 4A (Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons — Broward County), Class 5A State Champion (Miami Central — Miami-Dade County), Class 7A State Champion (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas — Broward County). Hialeah Champagnat Catholic also played in the Class 2A State Final, coming up short versus Jacksonville Trinity Christian.

Now with South Florida, consisting of teams in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, are ALL Metro, they can only win at most 4 METRO TITLES… and that’s it.


NO LONGER WILL SOUTH FLORIDA TEAMS BE ABLE TO BRING HOME 7 OF THE 8 TITLES LIKE THEY DID IN 2019


REIGNING STATE CHAMPS VENICE WILL BE IN SUBURBAN
Venice Fighting Indians will be classified as Suburban, because they are in Sarasota County, not one of Florida’s 8 most densely populated counties. Still expect powerhouses like VENICE to play teams in Metro designations to properly get them battle-tested for the playoffs and a quest to repeat as State Champs.

VIDEO: Venice’s 2021 State Championship Win over Apopka

OBSTACLES REMOVED FOR SOME TEAMS


With the separation of teams into Metro and Suburban classifications, some Suburban teams may be able to advance more easily through the playoffs without having to play one of the now classified Metro teams or powerhouses. One team that comes to mind is Daytona Beach Mainland, which during the times of the notably the best district in past times Miami’s District 6A-16, would have their playoff dreams doused by one of the Miami powerhouses (Miami Central, Miami Northwestern, Miami Carol City) that were in the district at the time. Now, the Volusia County powerhouse Buccaneers, in their second year under famed state champion alumni and current Head Coach Travis Roland, may be able to navigate the gauntlet a little better, being in one of the more populous counties in the 59 counties in the new Suburban classifications.

Imagine, gone are the days in which we would be bound to see a possible Cocoa vs. Miami Booker T. Washington state final matchup or a Cocoa vs. Bolles state final matchup, a Cocoa vs. Jacksonville Raines battle, a storied Cocoa vs. Belle Glades Glade Central fight, or like this past Class 4A State Final where Cocoa came up short by two versus powerhouse Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons. Cocoa, the statewide powerhouse with 4 state titles from Brevard County, will be designated as a Suburban team, and will not have to play any of the aforementioned previous state opponents, as they all will be classified as Metro. Cocoa may (or may not) have an easier path to the promised land.

Ultimately, to some teams’ delight, and to other teams’ dismay at their placement in the new system, the 2022 football season should be quite the experiment. A bold, radical plan has now been approved, changing Florida’s landscape on the future crowning of state champs in the best football state in the country for at minimum the upcoming 2022 season. In the coming months, our state shall see how this system will unfold when classifications have been made official and schedules will be strategically formed by our high school programs teams to offer them the best opportunity to advance to the state finals. Expect to see major battles in the Metro Division with major powerhouses finding themselves in nail-biting games in the earlier stages of the playoffs. In the end, there will be the argument of ultimately who are really the best teams in the states, with some Metro teams that did not win a title or even advance to the title game ultimately being better teams than the upcoming 2022 state champs in the Suburban classifications.


More

Florida’s FULL LISTING OF ALL TIME STATE CHAMPIONS DATING BACK TO 1962



More on this story to come…

THE LEGEND RETURNS: Tim “Ice” Harris, Sr. is back at Miami Booker T. Washington

Coach_Ice_Harris2013-1

(MIAMI/OVERTOWN) — Legendary Head Coach Tim Ice Harris is back at the helm of the program that he molded into one of the states premier powerhouses, Miami Booker T. Washington.

Miami Booker T. Washington Head Coach Tim “Ice” Harris, Sr. coaches his team during the 2013 State Championship win in Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. [PHOTO CREDIT: B. Jackson, Florida Gridiron]

“Ice” Harris was named new Head Football Coach of the Miami Booker T. Washington Tornadoes Wednesday at the high school campus in Overtown. This will mark Harris’ fourth time coaching the program throughout his historical championship career as a football coach.

3 STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS…. ICE, ICE, ICE, BABY

Tim Harris first began coaching the Miami Booker T. Washington Tornadoes in 2003. It would only take 4 short years to transform one of Miami’s inner-city teams from Overtown to state prominence as one of the premier programs… notice we said programs. With star players like Davon Johnson, Thearon Collier, and the coach’s son Brandon Harris leading the 2007 Tornadoes’, Ice Harris would coach his team to a perfect 14-0 season while claiming his first state title beating Ponte Vedra Nease Panthers 23-15. This was the start of something special as Harris delivered the 1st State Football Championship to the Booker T. Washington Tornadoes… and it also highlighted the domination of football talent hailing from a section of Miami in which two teams from the inner city both went undefeated with Liberty City’s Miami Northwestern going 15-0 ultimately being crowned national champ.

After winning the state’s pinnacle achievement, Harris would go on to lend his coaching talents to the University of Miami. Harris had claimed the state pinnacle as a head coach, and his All-American son Brandon Harris, a two-way star who was rated as the 3rd best CB in the country, decided to stay home and follow in the footstep of his bigger brother Tim Harris by signing with The University of Miami. It was a perfect time to lend his talents to the collegiate level and join the UM staff as assistant to the Head Coach. Brandon would go on to excel as a Hurricane, earning All-ACC honors as a sophomore, and All-ACC and Third-Team AP All-American as a junior. Brandon would enter the draft forgoing his senior year, and was selected in the 2nd round by the Houston Texans in the 2011 NFL Draft.

After three seasons with The U from 2008-2010, Harris would return back to Booker T. Washington to finish the mission he started. Within his 1st year back as the Head Ball Coach, he would lead his team right back to the State Final game in 2011. His Tornadoes would play a good game, but ultimately North Florida powerhouse Jacksonville Bolles would win the State Championship 33-25 over Miami BTW. This game was a slight defeat for the Tornadoes, but a monumental turning point from which Miami Booker T. Washington would once again announce themselves as the de facto class 4A state contender vs. Jacksonville Bolles in a consecutive tetralogy of State Championship Finals. Bolles was the Big Dog in the State of Florida, with the most football state championships in Florida history at the time with 11.* This win by Bolles in the 2011 state title over BTW would mark the last state title victory for the Bulldogs.

BTW would go to become THE dominant team in the State in Class 4A. Coach Ice Harris’ 2012 and 2013 were dominant, thrashing Jacksonville Bolles 35-7 and 40-21 to conquer back-to-back State titles for Miami Booker T. Washington. Booker T’s 2013 State Championship team may go down as one of Florida’s BEST teams EVERT to play on Florida’s gridiron, being named mythical national champs. Led by Coach Ice Harris’ son QB Treon Harris behind the wheel, Miami BTW engineered one of the most impressive feats, 26 straight wins. Dual Threat QB Treon Harris was both great on the ground and highly capable in the air, as his F5 Tornadoes were unstoppable. Check out a few tweets from back during Treon’s playing days:

Coach Ice Harris would leave the program in good hands with his son Tim Harris, Jr., who was a star athlete at Booker T. Washington. With Harris, Jr. as BTW’s new Head Coach, he continued where his pops left off, taking BTW back to the promised land where F5 became THREE-PEAT State Champions by beating Bolles with a resounding 54-21 victory.

THE REBIRTH OF FLORIDA MEMORIAL
Florida Memorial returned back to playing college football after 61 years. And Ice Harris had the honor to welcome FloMo back to collegiate football action as their newly selected Head Coach. You see, Ice is a maker of Men…. He did it on the high school level, and definitely could do it on the collegiate level. Harris compiled an all-star cast of assistant coaches, many of who found good success on the high school level. As with any program, especially one that was dormant for more than half a century, it takes time to build from the ground up… even if your campus is located in the fertile epicenter of the nation’s elite high school talent.

METRO CLASSIFICATION
With the new 2022 football season approaching, Harris’ F5 team faces a monumental change in Florida’s landscape of high school football. Teams within Florida’s 8 most population-dense counties will be grouped into the Metro Classification. Which will probably mean that Booker T., which has historically been in the lower classifications of the original 8 tier system, will now play against many schools that were previously in a higher classification.

FAMILY TIES
Coach Ice has seen many levels of success through his time with Miami Booker T. Washington. And not only from the players who he helped to many different next levels… but also on a grand familial level. Coach Harris is responsible for 3 State Championship wins at Booker T., … and his Sons Tim Jr., Brandon, and Treon have played a Huge part in the success and building of the F5 dynastical powerhouse. His older son, Tim Harris Jr. was an All-American track and multisport athlete at Miami Booker T., eventually going on to become an All-American and 400M champion in track at the University of Miami. Harris, Jr. would also come back to his alma mater and win state championships under his father Ice as an assistant, and ultimately when given the helm as Head Coach would lead his team to not only state championship dominance, but a good pounding 34-28 win over Utah’s Bingham HS in the national GEICO BOWL SERIES in Boca Raton after the 2014 season.

Miami Booker T. Washington is home for Coach Ice Harris. He has molded many former players into great citizens in their communities. His ability to use the game of football to teach young players the correlations of life has transformed young men into leaders. Home is where the heart is. And Coach Ice Harris is home… ready to lead F5 BACK TO THE PROMISED LAND.


MORE


STATE CHAMPIONSHIP APPEARANCES (4)
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES (3)

2013 4A – WIN
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON beat The Bolles School 40-21

2012 4A – WIN
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON beat The Bolles School 35-7

2011 4A – LOSS
THE BOLLES SCHOOL beat Booker T. Washington 33-25

2007 4A – WIN
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON beat Nease 23-15

Tim “Ice” Harris’ Coaching Profile
Miami Booker T. Washington football Team Hub


ALSO

STATE CHAMPIONSHIP HEAD COACHES RETURNING
Harris’ return marks another head coach headed back to the Florida high school coaching ranks. Head Coach Rick Darlington, who won state championship titles in at Apopka and then headed to coach Enterprise HS (Alabama) football, has returned to Florida and will lead the DeLand Bulldogs for the upcoming 2022 season.

FLORIDA BOYS SET TO SHINE IN SUPER BOWL LVI IN LOS ANGELES

Super Bowl LVI

(LOS ANGELES) — When Super Bowl LVI kickoffs on Sunday, February 13, 2022 at SoFi Stadium in LA, 17 Players from the State of Florida are listed on rosters to play in the biggest game of their lives….representing the East Coast’s Sunshine State on the West Coast.

Super Bowl LVI

SUPER BOWL LVI


Cincinnati Bengals (10-7)
at
Los Angeles Rams (12-5)


SoFi Stadium
Inglewood, California
February 13, 2022
6:30pm ET
Weather: °
TV: NBC, NFL App

Let’s talk about these players and their contributions as they suit up to be crowned and immortally cemented in NFL Super Bowl history.

Los Angeles Rams

LOS ANGELES RAMS (12-5)

NFC Champions

Head Coach: Sean McVay

The NFC Champs Los Angeles Rams have TEN players listed on their team roster who played on Florida’s gridiron during their high school years.

(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, LA Rams)

#25
RB
SONY MICHEL
5’11″, 215 lbs.
Plantation American Heritage — Plantation, FL
(BROWARD AREA)
University of Georgia
Nth year in NFL

Star RB Sony Michel enters Super Bowl LVI with [STATS]. In his short 4 year career thus far in the NFL, Michel will be competing in his 2nd Super Bowl, already a Super Bowl champion with Patriots win in SB . Michel continues to live up to his championship pedigree since his 8th-grade boy wonder season on a varsity squad, eclipsing over 1000 yards. He left Plantation American Heritage with a token of appreciation, the Patriots 1st football State Championship trophy. Michel would go on to Georgia, where he would star alongside Nick Chubb in their high octane duo running game with the Dawgs. Sony would lead his team to the National Championship game with a tough loss to. Then on to the NFL, the pedigree reshined in his Michel’s rookie season, being the feature back with the GOAT QB Tom Brady in the Patriots backfield, ultimately winning the Super Bowl. Now, in his first season after being traded to the Rams, Michel is back center stage, with a new reworked offense with Matt Stafford quarterbacking the helm and Sony manning the carries. Michel has rushed 208 times this season for 845 yards, and 4 TDs, sharing time with Cam Akers. Will the Rams bring home the Lombardi trophy and Sony Michel win yet another Super Bowl ring, with his second team?? Sunday we will find out.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, LA Rams)

#89
TE
TYLER HIGBEE
6’6″, 255 lbs.
Tarpon Springs East Lake — Tarpon Springs, FL
(TAMPA BAY AREA)
Western Kentucky
Rookie in NFL

Higbee enters Super Bowl LVI as a big cog in the Rams Offense, but was injured with a MCL Sprain and his game status was questionable. Higbee has 60 receptions for 560 yards and 5 TD. Over half of these receptions (33) have been for a first down.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, LA Rams)

#11
CB

DARIOUS WILLIAMS 5’9″, 187 lbs.
Creekside HS — St. Johns, FL
(DAYTONA & ST. JOHNS AREA)
Alabama at Birmingham
4th year in NFL

Starting at corner opposite of Jalen Ramsey should say something alone. When you have one of the best corners in the league, more action goes to the other side, Williams Way. Williams enters Super Bowl LVI with 66 tackles, 55 solo, and 9 Pass Deflections.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, LA Rams)

#19
WR

BRANDON POWELL 5’8″, 181 lbs.
Deerfield Beach Bucks — Deerfield Beach, FL
(BROWARD AREA)
University of Florida
3rd year in NFL

Powell has contributed to his Rams on special teams, returning punts and kickoffs. Former Deerfield Beach star Powell is dangerous with rock, taking one to the house with a 61-yd return, averaging a whopping 22.2 yards a return vs. and also has been nice on kickoff returns to the tune of 26 yards a return.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, LA Rams)

#13
QB

JOHN WOLFORD 6’1″, 216 lbs.
Bishop Kenny — Jacksonville, FL
(FIRST COAST AREA)
Wake Forest
2nd year in NFL

Wolford enters Super Bowl LVI with only 1 completion on the season, and also an interception.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, LA Rams)

#38
RB

BUDDY HOWELL 6’1″, 225 lbs.
Coral Gables HS — Coral Gables, FL
(MIAMI-DADE AREA)
Florida Atlantic
4th Year in NFL


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, LA Rams)

#14
RB

JAVIAN HAWKINS 5’9″, 196 lbs.
Cocoa Tigers — Cocoa, FL
(SPACE & TREASURE COAST AREA)
University of Louisville
Rookie in NFL

University of Louisville rushing record holder Javian Hawkins got his feet wet in the preseason. Hawkins enters Super Bowl LVI on the practice squad roster with his contributions maybe not stated in individual season stats, but his preparation for the defense being met soundly with quality competition by giving fair opponent looks to the Rams’ vaunted defense.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, LA Rams)

#15
WR

TUTU ATWELL 5’9″, 165 lbs.
Miami Northwestern Bulls — Liberty City, FL
(MIAMI-DADE AREA)
University of Louisville
Rookie in NFL
*Status: Reserve

University of Louisville’s record holder WR Tutu Atwell has been on reserve… but being on a championship-caliber team, with two of the premier route-running receivers in the league, Kupp and Beckham, Jr., should bode well for the super fast Atwell on his route-running game. Atwell is one of several former Florida gridiron players to win a state championship while at the world-renown Miami Northwestern.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, LA Rams)

#41
DB
SHARROD NEASMAN
5’11″, 213 lbs.
Braden River Pirates — Bradenton, FL
(SUNCOAST AREA)
Florida Atlantic
6th year in NFL

Neasman played during the regular season with the NY Jets, but signed with the Rams practice squad for the postseason due to a thinning secondary corp.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, LA Rams)

#87
TE
JACOB HARRIS
6’5″, 211 lbs.
Palm Harbor University HS — Palm Harbor, FL
UCF Knights
Rookie in NFL

Rookie out of UCF, Harris may be called on with fellow teammate TE Tyler Higbee questionable.



CINCINNATI BENGALS (10-7)

AFC Champions

Head Coach: Zac Taylor

The Cincinnati Bengals have SEVEN players listed on their team roster who played on Florida’s gridiron during their high school years.

(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, Cincinnati Bengals)

#91
DE

TREY HENDRICKSON 6’4″, 270 lbs.
Apopka Blue Darters — Apopka, FL
(ORLANDO METRO AREA)
Florida Atlantic
5th year in NFL

Hendrickson enters Super Bowl LVI as a 1st year All-Pro… and rightfully so. Hendrickson’s 14 Sacks this season spoke for themselves, alongside 34 tackles, and 3 forced fumbles. Hendrickson is one of several former Florida gridiron players to win a state championship, leading his APK Blue-Darters to the promised land in 2012. I’m sure a win for Hendrickson in this SB LVI will make another famous Blue Darter and Super Bowl Champion, Pro Hall-of-Famer Warren Sapp an even prouder distinguished alumni of “Hoka Hey”.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, Cincinnati Bengals)

#37
S

RICARDO ALLEN 5’9″, 186 lbs.
Daytona Beach Mainland — Daytona Beach, FL
(DAYTONA & ST. JOHNS AREA)
Purdue
7th Year in NFL

Ricardo Allen continues to cement his name and legacy as one of the best from Central Florida powerhouse Daytona Beach Mainland. After spending 6 years at Atlanta, Allen signed with a Cincinnati team that is in the Super Bowl in his first season as a Bengal. Allen enters Super Bowl LVI with 12 tackles, 8 of which are solo, in limited playing time this season. This will be Allen’s second Super Bowl appearance, with his first ending in a dramatic Super Bowl LI overtime loss to Tom Brady led Patriots beating his Falcons 34-28.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, Cincinnati Bengals)

#29
CB

VERNON HARGREAVES III 5’10″, 204 lbs.
Tampa Wharton — Tampa, FL
(TAMPA BAY AREA)
University of Florida
6th Year in NFL

Hargreaves enters Super Bowl LVI with 5 tackles in his first season as a Bengal. Hargreaves III joins Bengals’ teammate Auden Tate as players coming from Tampa Wharton HS playing in Super Bowl LVI.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, Cincinnati Bengals)

#93
DE

WYATT RAY 6’3″, 250 lbs.
St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders — Fort Lauderdale, FL
(BROWARD AREA)
Boston College
2nd Year in NFL

Nat King Cole’s grandson Wyatt Ray enters Super Bowl LVI with 13 tackles, and one sack… a big sack in the Browns AFC Championship game win over the Browns.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, Cincinnati Bengals)

#74
OT
FRED JOHNSON
6’7″, 326 lbs.
Royal Palm Beach — West Palm Beach, FL
(PALM BEACH AREA)
Florida Gators
3rd Year in NFL


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, Cincinnati Bengals)

#84
TE
MITCHELL WILCOX
6’4″, 247 lbs.
Tarpon Springs East Lake HS — Tarpon Springs, FL
South Florida
1st Year in NFL

Wilcox recorded 3 receptions for 16 yards in the Bengals AFC Championship win over state rival Browns.


(PHOTO CREDIT: NFL.com, Cincinnati Bengals)

#19
WR

AUDEN TATE 6’5″, 228 lbs.
Tampa Wharton HS — Tampa, FL
(TAMPA BAY AREA)
Florida State
4th Year in NFL
Status: *Reserve/Designated to Return

Tate caught 3 passes for 39 yards and a TD going into Super Bowl LVI. Tate joins Bengals’ teammate Vernon Hargreaves III as players coming from Tampa Wharton HS playing in Super Bowl LVI.



FLORIDA HIGH SCHOOLS REPRESENTED IN SUPER BOWL LVI


Below is a breakdown of high schools that have at least one player on the Super Bowl teams roster:


Tampa Wharton (2)
2 Players: Vernon Hargreaves III (CIN), Auden Tate (CIN)
Tampa, FL
(TAMPA BAY AREA)


Tarpon Springs East Lake (2)
2 Players: Tyler Higbee (LAR), Mitchell Wilcox (CIN)
Tampa, FL
(TAMPA BAY AREA)


St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders (1)
Player: Wyatt Ray (CIN)
Fort Lauderdale, FL
(BROWARD AREA)


Miami Northwestern Bulls (1)
Player: Tutu Atwell (LAR)
Miami Liberty City, FL
(MIAMI-DADE AREA)


Plantation American Heritage Patriots (1)
Player: Sony Michel (LAR)
Plantation, FL
(BROWARD AREA)


Deerfield Beach Bucks (1)
Player: Brandon Powell (LAR)
Deerfield Beach, FL
(BROWARD AREA)


Cocoa Tigers (1)
Player: Javian Hawkins (LAR)
Cocoa, FL
(SPACE & TREASURE COAST AREA)


Apopka Blue Darters (1)
Player: Trey Hendrickson (CIN)
Apopka, FL
(ORLANDO METRO AREA)


Daytona Beach Mainland (1)
Player: Ricardo Allen (CIN)
Daytona Beach, FL
(DAYTONA & ST. JOHNS AREA)


Coral Gables HS (1)
Player:Buddy Howell (LAR)
Coral Gables, FL
(MIAMI-DADE AREA)


Royal Palm Beach HS (1)
Player: Fred Johnson (CIN)
West Palm Beach, FL
(PALM BEACHES AREA)


Palm Harbor University HS (1)
Player: TE Jacob Harris (LAR)
Palm Harbor, FL
(TAMPA BAY AREA)


Creekside HS (1)
Player: CB Darious Williams (LAR)
St. Johns, FL
(DAYTONA & ST. JOHNS AREA)

Bishop Kenny (1)
Player: QB John Wolford (LAR)
Jacksonville, FL
(FIRST COAST AREA)

Braden River (1)
Player: DB Sharrod Neasman (LAR)
Bradenton, FL
(SUNCOAST AREA)



CREDITS: Player Photos are credit to their respective NFL teams, Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals

Miami Dolphins name Mike McDaniel as new Head Coach

Miami Dolphins

MIAMI GARDENS — The Miami Dolphins have named Mike McDaniel their new Head Coach.

McDaniel recently served as San Francisco 49ers’ Offensive Coordinator, where he has been noted as a young upcoming star offensive mind in the NFL.

McDaniel was presumably the favorite, with Dallas Cowboys’ Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore as the two finalists for the position made vacant after previous Head Coach Brian Flores was relieved of his duties after going 24-25 in his three years at the helm.

2022 CFP National Championship Game with Plenty Florida Boys on Rosters

2022 National Championship

2022 National Championship
INDIANAPOLIS — When the 2022 National Championship game kicks off Monday Night in Indianapolis, 28 former Florida gridiron greats will be part of SEC powerhouses representing their team on the quest to win college football’s premier annual pinnacle and cement their legacy in the annals of history.

CFP National Championshp
Indianapolis, IN
8PM ET
TV: ESPN

#1 ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE

Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Head Coach Nick Saban
Southeastern Conference (SEC) — SEC Champions
13-1

#3 Daniel Wright Redshirt Senior
DB
Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson Cobras
Fort Lauderdale, FL

2021 Stats: 28 tackles (16 solo), 1 sack, 3 Pass Deflections

#6 Trey Sanders Redshirt Sophomore
RB
IMG Academy via Port St. Joe
Port St. Joe, FL

Bama’s second-leading rusher

2021 Stats: 70 Rushes, 309 yards, 2 TD, 5 receptions, 52 receiving yds

#7 Ja’corey Brooks Freshman
WR
IMG Academy via Miami Booker T. Washington Tornadoes (F5)
Miami, FL

2021 Stats: 9 receptions, 145 yards, 2 TD

#7 Jordan Battle Junior
DB
St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders
Fort Lauderdale, FL

The Crimson Tide’s heralded leader in the Secondary

2021 Stats: 81 tackles (46 solo), 3 INT, 2 Defensive TD, 3 Pass Deflections

#12 Terrion Arnold
Freshman
DB
John Paul II Catholic
Tallahassee, FL

#12 Christian Leary
Freshman
WR
Orlando Edgewater
Fort Lauderdale, FL

2021 Stats: 2 receptions, 4 yards, TD

#14 Thaiu Jones-Bell
Sophomore
WR
Miami Carol City Chiefs
Miami Gardens/Carol City, FL

2021 Stats: 2 receptions, 16 yards

#15 Dallas Turner Freshman
LB
Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
Fort Lauderdale, FL

2021 Stats:

#19 Keanu Koht
Freshman
LB
Vero Beach
Vero Beach, FL

#23 Jahquez Robinson
Sophomore
DB
Sandalwood
Jacksonville, FL

#28 Josh Jobe Senior
DB
Chelsire Academy via Miami Columbus
Miami, FL

#50 Tim Smith
Sophomore
DL
Sebastian River Sharks
Sebastian, FL

#52 Braylen Ingraham Redshirt Sophomore
DL
Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
Fort Lauderdale, FL

#53 Kade Wehby
Redshirt Sophomore
SN
Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
Fort Lauderdale, FL

#73 Evan Neal Junior
OL
IMG Academy
Okeechobee, FL

#84 Agiye Hall
Freshman
WR
Bloomingdale Bulls
Valrico, FL

2021 Stats: 2 receptions, 20 yards

Alabama Crimson Tide Full Official Roster



#3 GEORGIA BULLDOGS

Athens, Georgia
Head Coach Kirby Smart
Southeastern Conference (SEC)
13-1

#0 Rian Davis
Redshirt Sophomore
LB
Wekiva
Apopka, FL

#4 James Cook Senior
RB
Miami Central
Miami, FL

2021 Stats: 107 rushes, 651 yards, 6.1 yds avg., 7 TD, 25 receptions, 269 yards, 4 receiving TD

#6 Kenny McIntosh Junior
RB
University School Sharks
Fort Lauderdale, FL

2021 Stats: 56 rushes, 322 yards, 5.8 yds avg., 3 TD, 19 receptions, 219 yards, 2 receiving TD

#9 Ameer Speed Senior
DB
Sandalwood
Jacksonville, FL

2021 Stats: 13 Tackles (7 Solo)

#11 Arian Smith
Redshirt Freshman
WR
Lakeland Dreadnaughts
Lakeland, FL

2021 Stats: 3 receptions, 102 yards, 2TD

#15 Carson Beck Redshirt Freshman
QB
Mandarin Mustangs
Jacksonville, FL

2021 Stats: 10-23, 176 yards, 2TD, 2 INT

#18 Xavian Sorey, Jr.
Freshman
LB
IMG Academy
Bradenton, FL

2021 Stats: 2 Tackles (1 solo), 1 INT

#36 Latavious Brini Senior
DB
Mater Academy Lions
Hialeah Gardens, FL

2021 Stats: 38 Tackles (23 solo), 8 Pass Deflections

#43 Matthew Helow
Freshman
DB
Bishop Kenny
Jacksonville, FL

#80 Brett Seither
Redshirt Sophomore
TE
Clearwater Central Catholic
Clearwater, FL

2021 Stats: 3 receptions, 42 yards, 1TD

#81 Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint Sophomore
WR
St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders
Fort Lauderdale, FL

2021 Stats: 7 receptions, 94 yards

#88 Jalen Carter Sophomore
DL
Apopka Blue Darters
Apopka, FL

2021 Stats: 34 tackles (16 solo), 3 Sacks, 1 Pass Deflection

Georgia Bulldogs Full Official Roster

2021 CLASS 8A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: Venice Dominates Apopka 35-7 for Indians’ Third State Championship in 3 Tries

Ryan Browne Hosting Trophy 2021

Venice Team Pic

FLORIDA’ 2021 CLASS 8A STATE CHAMPIONS, VENICE INDIANS: Venice caps 14-1 season with State Title [Photo Credit: B. Jackson, Florida Gridiron]

FORT LAUDERDALE — Venice utilized their high-powered offensive weapons to thump Apopka 35-7 in Florida’s 2021 Class 8A State Championship Saturday afternoon at Fort Lauderdale’s DRV PNK Stadium. Venice QB Ryan Browne had a near-perfect outing completing 18 of 21 passes for 250 yards, 4 TD, and a pick, and connecting with 3 different receivers for scores.

Ryan Browne Hosting Trophy 2021

BIG BAD BROWNE: Venice QB Ryan Browne hoists the championship trophy after having a BIG DAY with 18-21 for 250 yards and 4TD [Photo Credit: B. Jackson, Florida Gridiron]

Venice jumped ahead early with Browne connecting with Omari Hayes on a 60yd TD pass early in the 1st quarter.

Apopka would quickly respond less than 3 minutes later after a Zeldrick Roberts 2 yard rush to put their first points on the scoreboard and even the game.

Venice would drive right back, with Browne nailing a 22 yard TD pass to Keyon Sears for his first score of the game.

Venice DE Damon Wilson‘s controversial interception return for a TD soured the mood at DRV PNK Stadium with a close game being sprouted by a controversial call. Wilson rushed the line hard, was able to block Blue Darter QB Andrew McClain’s pass with his extended left arm, only to catch it in the end zone with McClain immediately swatting it out of Wilson’s possession. Some reviewing the replay questioned if Wilson had it long enough to be called a possession and ultimately a TD. Nonetheless, with the referee signaling TD, that’s all that mattered: no instant replay exists within high school in Florida; thus, Wilson was awarded the PICK 6 in this State Championship game widening the lead going in at the half to 21-7.

Damon Wilson Checks Scoreboard

WAS IT A TOUCHDOWN? Venice Junior DE Damon Wilson checks the video scoreboard at DRV PNK Stadium to see what the oos and ahhs were about [Photo Credit: B. Jackson, Florida Gridiron]

Venice would come out blazing in the second half with a 23 yard rush by Damarion Escort. 7 players later, Browne would a wide-open Keyon Sears for a nice 47 yd TD bomb, their second scoring connection of the game, to extend the lead to 28-7.

The momentum was clearly in Venice’s favor… And the Indians didn’t let up. Venice DB Myles Weston would rob Andrew McClain’s pass with a beautiful diving stretched-out interception across the middle to give the ball back to Venice. Venice had a comfortable lead knowing that they had to start to milk the clock as well as troop down the field for points. The Indians put together a 13 play drive mid-third quarter, rushing 11 times to advance to the Blue Darters’ red zone at the 20. Browne attempted to complete his 4TD of the game, but Apopka star DB Nikai Martinez swooped over for a beautiful interception thwarting the Indian’s efforts to score.

Ryan Browne would connect with star WR Jayshon Platt on a quick hitch, shaking the corner and exhibiting galloping speed outrunning the angle of Apopka’s safety for a 58 yard TD down the left sideline. The Senior playmaker Platt would lead all receivers with 108 yards on 7 catches and a TD.


Venice defense allowed only 1 completion all game… for negative -4 yards. NO PASSING YARDS… NEGATIVE PASSING YARDS IN A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME


Apopka couldn’t get geared up with their high octane rushing attack churned up, only amassing 119 yards on the ground. Venice’s stifling defense only allowed 1 completion all game… for -4 yard loss. [We're checking the record books to see if any State Championship game amounted to no or NEGATIVE passing yards.]

Venice would force Apopka to punt on 7 of their 13 offensive possessions, forced two interceptions, and a turnover on downs. Venice DE Damon Wilson would lead the vaunted defense with 8 tackles, .5 sack, 2 Tackles for loss, 1 Pass Backup, 1 QB Hurry, and of course… a PICK SIX. Indians’ LB Logan Ballard would also have 5 tackles, 2 Tackles for a loss and a Sack.


Venice is now 3-0 in State Championship Games… They come to big dance to WIN!


Venice has now won their 2nd State Championship in a span of 5 years, with the previous State Title coming in 2017 with offensive weapons Mr. Football and Javon Heiligh. Heiligh just finished a wonderful collegiate career at Coastal Carolina.

John Peacock State Champion
Congrats to Venice and Head Coach John Peacock on having a remarkable 2021 season capped with the pinnacle of another State Championship trophy headed back to Florida’s SunCoast. The Indians were 14-1, with their only blemish, a six-point loss to eventual 2021 Class 4A Back-To-Back Champions Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons.


Notables

- Venice QB Ryan Browne completed 18 of 21 passes for 250 yards, 4 TD and a pick.
- Venice has 3 State Titles in 3 State Final Appearances.


BOX SCORE

Venice Indians
14
7
7
7
35
Apopka Blue Darters
7
0
0
0
7

Official 2021 State Championship Game Page on Florida Gridiron


VIDEO: Florida’s 2021 Class 8A State Champions, VENICE INDIANS

Celebrating Venice Indians’ 35-7 Class 8A State Championship win over Apopka at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


MORE RELATED LINKS

2021 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL
2021 Class 8A Playoff Brackets
2021 FHSAA Final RPI Rankings


Venice Indians Team Hub
Venice, Florida
Suncoast Area


Apopka Blue Darters Team Hub
Apopka, Florida
Orlando Metro Area


VIDEOS OF THE 2021 CLASS 8A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Subscribe to the Florida Gridiron Preps YouTube Channel to get the latest on our video uploads!
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CLASS 8A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Apopka vs. Venice

Apopka vs. Venice Class 8A State Championship

Apopka vs. Venice Class 8A State Championship

FORT LAUDERDALE — The last day of the FHSAA State Championships will kick off with a bang with Florida’s largest team classification State Finalists ready to clash at Fort Lauderdale’s beautiful DRV PNK Stadium. The Class 8A State Championship between the Apopka Blue Darters (12-2) and west coast powerhouse Venice Indians (13-1) will be held Saturday afternoon December 18, with kickoff at 1PM Eastern.

A LOOK AT THE CLASS 8A STATE FINAL’S TEAMS


Apopka
Apopka, Florida
Orlando Metro Area

TEAM RECORD: 12-2

Team Scoring Apopka
BIG WINS:
LOSSES: Only 2 losses come to Central Florida powerhouse Edgewater and Polk County powerhouse Lakeland

HEAD COACH: JEFF ROLSON

High School Alma Mater: Farmer (IL)
Alma Mater: Eastern Illinois (1989)

KEY PLAYERS:
#7 Keyondray Jones (JR): 184 carries, 1207 yds rushing, 12 TD

#21 DB Nikai Martinez #1 QB Andrew McClain (SR): 54-92, 716 yds, 8TD, 4INT, 196yds rushing, 3 rush TD

APOPKA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY (3)


5 STATE FINAL APPEARANCES, 3 STATE TITLES:
2019 8A State Runner-Up
2014 8A STATE CHAMPION
2013 8A State Runner-Up
2012 8A STATE CHAMPION
2001 6A STATE CHAMPION



Venice Indians Team Hub
Venice, Florida
Suncoast Area

TEAM RECORD: 13-1

Team Scoring Venice
BIG WINS: Miami Northwestern* (preseason), Edgewater, Cocoa, West Orange, Miami Columbus
LOSSES: Only loss is to Back-to-Back Defending Class 4A State Champs Cardinal Gibbons

HEAD COACH: JOHN PEACOCK

High School Alma Mater: Sarasota Cardinal Mooney (1992)
Alma Mater: Georgia Southern (1998)

KEY PLAYERS
#1 – WR Jayshon Platt: 55 rec, 962 yds, 11TD
#15 – QB Ryan Browne (SR): 157-269, 281 yds, 27TD, 6INT
#13 – RB Dam’arion Escort (SR): 209 carries, 1508 yds, 21 TD
ATH Omari Hayes
OL Michael Raney
LB Logan Ballard
DE Damon Wilson
CB Elliot Washington
DT Trenton Kintigh

VENICE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY (2)


2 STATE FINAL APPEARANCES, 2 STATE TITLES:
2017 4A STATE CHAMPION
2000 4A STATE CHAMPION


BY THE NUMBERS

Head To Head - ByTheNumbers -Apopka Venice

SCORING DIFFERENTIALS

Team Scoring - Apopka - Averages
Team Scoring - Venice - Averages

Official 2021 State Championship Game Page on Florida Gridiron


MORE RELATED LINKS

2021 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL
2021 Class 8A Playoff Brackets
2021 FHSAA Class 8A Final RPI Rankings


VIDEOS OF THE 2021 CLASS 8A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP


Subscribe to the Florida Gridiron Preps YouTube Channel to get the latest on our video uploads!
SUBSCRIBE NOW