In my opinion

Young Belen Jesuit team on the rise again


Standing in the hot sun — nearly an hour from campus — Belen Jesuit came to the Florida Atlantic University team camp to get a barometer where this team stands, heading into its first year at the 8A level.

Leaving the “SEC” of high school districts behind — with Miami-Dade powers such as Central, Northwestern, Carol City and Northwestern — veteran coach Rich Stuart wants the Wolverines to return to where the status they reached four years ago in the state title game.

On a weekend that saw impressive teams such as Delray American Heritage, Belle Glade Glades Central, Palm Beach Lakes, Hallandale and Miami Ferguson go toe-to-toe in the heat and humidity, this team found out a lot about themselves.

In winning the team title at FAU, Belen Jesuit surprised everyone — even themselves, sending several youngsters against some quality opposition.

“To tell you the truth, we wanted to come back to this camp so bad so we would see where we were with this team,” Stuart said. “We saw a lot of things that we liked in the spring, but many of the players we have on this roster are young and lack the experience that some of our teams have had.”

The senior class will be solid on offense with linemen Jonathan Shultz (6-4, 295) and Jack Flood (6-5, 280) guiding the way for quarterback Jorge Pola (5-11, 175) receiver Jorge Fleites (5-11, 175), speedy running backs Daniel Neptune and Christian Barrial (5-11, 175). There is also talented kicker Jorge Powell.

“Our offense is going to be the most experienced part of our team.” Stuart said. “Having Jonathan (Schultz) come back to us this year from the Jacksonville area is huge along with Jack Flood.”

Defensively, linemen Jorge Reyes (5-11, 215) and Alex Gonzalez (6-0, 225), linebacker Jimmy Garcia (5-11, 175), and defensive backs Kevin Pascual (5-8, 165), John Medina (6-0, 180), Eugenio Cosculluela (5-9, 175) and Alex Adams (5-9, 175) are all players expected to compete.

The Class of 2015 appears to be where this program boasts the most prospects. Led by running back Brandon Silvestry (5-11 185), linebackers Christian Estrada (5-11, 190) and Mariano Macias (6-0, 185), defensive back Daniel Hernandez (5-8, 160) and very promising receiver Frank Battle, a 6-6, 190-pounder, this is group that could really add to the overall talent.

Hernandez is the young brother of former Belen standout Frankie Hernandez, who now plays at Dartmouth. Battle is one of those rare talents who has the size, speed and athletic ability.

“This junior class reminds me of the one we had four years ago,” Stuart said. “It’s a fearless group of players who are willing to rekindle that tradition we started.”

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Send a YouTube or Hudl link and information to: Larry Blustein at

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