Gulliver Prep football ready for big battles in tough district

As Earl Sims watched his young football team compete during the spring and summer, he was comforted by the fact that there are eight seniors who will also lead his Gulliver Prep squad this season.

Taking part in the final 7-on-7 event of the summer at Archbishop Carroll last weekend, Sims and the Raiders have been preparing for the 2012 season since they were knocked out of the playoffs against district rival and 4A powerhouse Booker T. Washington last season.

This is a district that will test this team — with Monsignor Pace and Edison also doing very well in the spring and throughout the summer.

“We know that this is not going to be easy,” Sims said. “We set our schedule up to play tough teams so we will be ready when the district rolls around.”

The Raiders have a number of seniors returning to the lineup this season. Leading the way is defensive end/receiver Stacey Thomas (6-2, 230), who has received more than 35 offers.

Thomas is one of those rare prospects who could line up at one of three positions at the next level. During the summer, he has gotten bigger and stronger.

In addition, the class of 2013 boasts running back Bo Ellis (5-8, 185), defensive back Markeith Cooper (5-8, 165), safety/running back Errol Jackson (5-7, 170), receiver Kody Schnebly, and linemen Jordi Dalmau (6-2, 290), Grant Siegel (6-4, 270) and center Ryan Caparello.

Ellis is starting to receiver more offers, and Dalmau an All-State selection a year ago, has made the most of his offseason, attending events such as the Davin Joseph Offensive Line Camp.

With solid senior leadership in place, the Raiders trot out one of the most impressive group of underclassmen around. The class of 2014 class features big time prospects such as receiver Cornelius Floyd (6-1, 170), who is coming off a knee injury last year. He is expected to be at the same level as the elite junior prospects who have already been offered and promoted.

In addition, the junior class has speedy running back/defensive back Mitch Davis (5-7, 150), lineman Braynon Edwards (6-3, 335) and Booker T. Washington transfer Alonzo Fanakos, a 5-10, 185-pound quarterback. Fanakos is an accurate passer who moves the offense. He saw playing time for the Tornadoes last year — following a tremendous youth career at Scott Lake.

“We have to believe that with the young men we have in our junior and senior classes, we certainly have enough talent to compete with anyone,” Sims said. “Our youth may hurt us early, but I expect that these young men have grown up plenty during the summer.”

Class of 2015 standouts such as linebacker/receiver Dominic Sheppard (6-2, 215) and safety Antonio Sotolongo (6-1, 175) are expected to be regional and national recruits. Both have been tremendous during the summer. So has receiver Chris Guggenheim (6-2, 175).

Sheppard is one of those prospects who will blow up over the next year, making him one of the most sought after players in South Florida. His size, speed and athleticism have pushed him into a early spotlight.

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current class of 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. All you have to do is send a DVD and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein, P.O. Box 3181, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009.

Read more Larry Blustein stories from the Miami Herald

  • In My Opinion

    Flanagan football team a true contender

    Devin Bush remembers when it happened. The time and place where his Flanagan High football program had finally turned that corner and became a team that was no longer a pretender in the race to get to the state championship game.

Columbus High football coach Chris Merritt.

    In My Opinion

    Columbus High football has abundance of talent, experience

    When Miami Columbus head coach Chris Merritt and his assistants looked back on the 2013 football season, the lack of experience jumped out as the reason his team failed to win the district and posted an “average” 7-5 record.

  • In My Opinion

    Despite losing coach and senior talent, Miramar poised to reload

    Although this program has been one of the best in Florida over the past five years, some felt that Miramar might fall from the elite this upcoming season after losing coach Damon Cogdell and a quality class of seniors.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category