During a recent win against McArthur, Monarch first-year coach Calvin Davis made it clear this is not a team that opponents will just roll over. It’s not the Monarch that opponents have come to know.
While every coach tries to get his team pumped up in some manner, Davis wasn’t trying to motivate his team for the game against the Mustangs. What this one time Deerfield Beach High athlete was doing was boasting about the hard work this program has put in since he took over.
The Knights were as visible as any program in South Florida during the spring and summer, matching up with some of the elite programs in the region. In a scrimmage in the second week of May at FIU, the Knights were paired against Carol City — more than holding their own.
It was that spring event, coupled with 7-on-7 tournaments throughout Miami-Dade and Broward that brought this team together. Talented, underexposed football players at a program not known for producing an abundance of big-level recruits, were finally getting exposure.
By getting around during the offseason and playing competitive ball out of the gate, seniors such as running back Darius Hoggins, safety Demerest Stevenson and athletic Pasqual Burgess have had an opportunity to step into the spotlight. So did receiver Adam M’Sahal, who had been one of the beacons for the program over the past year. M’Sahal injured his knee in the second game of the season and is expected back in a month.
“When we got here, we talked to the team and told them what we expected,” Davis said. “Once we were all on the same page, we went to work and haven’t stopped since.”
At a time when younger players are making such a huge impact across South Florida, the Knights have relied on the experience of a quality senior class. One that also includes offensive standouts such as quarterback Brandon Bailen, receivers Dennis Nicholas and Michael Halcomb, and linemen Andre Macias, Rolando Smith, Joseph Demty, Esham Abuabieh and Jake Montag
Defensively, the senior class is also loaded with linemen Timothy Hall, Sharat Suvarnpruska, Armando Flores and Dalton Vandervoort, linebackers Elias Flores, Basim Kayyali, Zach Croyle and Matthew Romero, and secondary standouts Clarence Morris, Daniel St. Cyr-Joseph, Alex Atkins, Stephan Simms.
As the senior class adds that much-needed experience and talent factor, the underclass continues to make an impression as well with a quality 2014 Class led by quarterback Kevin Pagan, running back Kaleb Kassaye, receivers Joseph Scheibl and Xguery Vixamar, and linemen Austin Romanov, Nicholas Green and Michail Allette.
On the defensive, the Knights are loaded with players who have a chance to be special. Athletes such as linemen Patricio Arias, Mario Moreno, Jared Weaver and Zachary Schwartzman, linebackers Darius Huntley and Miguelk Tirado, and safety Marvyn Rousseau.
“The future of this program really looks good,” Davis pointed out. “Not only do we have a number of juniors making a difference, but we also have some sophomores who have continued to work hard as well.”
Among the Class of 2015 players who have looked good includes defensive back/receiver Ellex Davis, safety Shawn Burgess, cornerback Ronnie Hoggins and linebacker Musa Abuzahrieh.
For as long as most can remember, athletes from South Florida have flocked to California junior colleges in record numbers. This year is no exception. Nearly 50 athletes from Miami-Dade and Broward are competing on the west coast.
Among the athletes making an impression are the Feather River Golden Eagles are linebacker Brandon Bradley (Christopher Columbus) and Coral Gables graduates Darien Thomas (defensive back) and receiver Franklin Thomas.
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.
Have a comment? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein or get updates at the high schools blog at MiamiHerald.com/hssports.