American Heritage elevated itself to elite status among Broward County football programs last season by securing its first state championship.
In the offseason, the Patriots put together a brutal schedule in the hopes of becoming a national-championship contender.
The slate includes games against some of the state’s elite — St. Thomas Aquinas, Miramar, Apopka and Daytona Beach Mainland.
And why wouldn’t they?
The Patriots return one of the most talent-rich rosters statewide, led by quarterback Torrance Gibson and defensive back Taravarus McFadden.
As they showed against Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer in their exhibition game last weekend, the Patriots can strike quickly and often offensively with numerous weapons such as wide receiver Dedrick Snelson.
And their defense can still come after opposing quarterbacks and create turnovers that lead to quick points.
American Heritage’s chances of repeating in Class 5A look good, no matter what happens on the national stage. And outside of the large-school teams, the Patriots represent Broward’s best hope of securing a state championship this season.
His younger brother, Deon McIntosh, a junior running back, will be the focal point of the offense and could have a huge yardage season.
Expect Gibbons to battle Jackson for District 16-5A’s second playoff berth. But even staying close with Heritage will be a challenge. A more experienced Gibbons squad lost 71-24 to the Patriots last season.
Westminster would likely be a playoff team if it played in Class 3A or 2A. That kind of talent should carry it far in its conference playoffs.