American Heritage became one of the state’s top football programs — winning three state titles in four years and is hoping to add more this year.
Chaminade-Madonna began its own path to such success over the past two seasons, and could achieve something similar in the near future.
A year after the Lions got close to winning their first state title before losing to four-time state champion Jacksonville Trinity Christian, Chaminade appears to have the tools on both sides of the ball to make another run.
And with Trinity Christian now in American Heritage’s way in Class 5A, the window of opportunity appears to have grown for the Lions, who could join Broward County’s growing pantheon of state champions this season.
1. American Heritage: Before you read more on Chaminade, here’s some more about the team that entered the season with the longest active winning streak in South Florida (14 games) and have run that up to 15.
The Patriots are led by two of the best corners in the nation in Pat Surtain Jr. and Tyson Campbell, and a front seven that will be dominant with Andrew Chatfield, a former Ohio State commit, and University of Miami commit Nesta Silvera.
Heritage’s offense is led by a new starting quarterback Cameron Smith, who takes over for Jason Brown, and should rank among the county’s best.
Heritage opens with a pair of out-of-state opponents on a tough schedule that includes Miramar, Chaminade and possibly its most dangerous threat — Cardinal Gibbons.
The defense will have to set the tone and if the offense can produce enough, expect the Patriots to be back in Orlando and ready to face a stiff test from Trinity Christian.
2. Chaminade-Madonna: And now we go back to the Lions, who may have one of the most potent offenses in the country.
Running back Shaun Shivers, an Auburn commit, is back, and new starting quarterback Daelen Menard has several talented receivers at his disposal — including Alabama commit Xavier Williams, Kentucky commit Marvin Alexander and Eastern Michigan commit Logan Giordano.
Menard gained valuable experience down the stretch last season, which should help during a difficult schedule. But in Class 3A, it’s hard to see anyone derail Chaminade’s potential march to a title.
3. Cardinal Gibbons: If any team can stop Heritage, it’s the Chiefs, who came close twice last season. Gibbons’ high-powered offense led by quarterback Nick Scalzo and receiver Carlos Sandy, an Illinois commit, will be one of Broward’s best once again. If defensively, they can win the turnover battle, the Chiefs might pull the shocker of the season and clear a path to state in Class 5A.
4. NSU University School: Armed with one of the top junior classes in the county, the Sharks might surprise many in Class 4A this season. Josh Sanguinetti and Kenny McIntosh should put up huge numbers this year and guide University to the playoffs. Contending with the juggernauts like Miami Booker T. Washington remains to be seen, but University is progressing.
5. North Broward Prep: Led by receiver and Notre Dame commit Kevin Austin, the Eagles have the potential to make the postseason.
6. Coconut Creek: Former Miami Central assistant coach Gerald Cox is in his second season with the Cougars and has high expectations following a 1-9 campaign in 2016. Tiawan Mullen, a junior defensive back and younger brother of former Creek All-American Trayvon Mullen, is one of the squad’s bright young stars. The Cougars are in a tough district with American Heritage and Cardinal Gibbons, but expect more wins and possibly a shot an at-large playoff berth.
RANKING THE REST
7. Stranahan; 8. Calvary Christian; 9. Hallandale; 10. Pine Crest; 11. Coral Springs Charter; 12. Coral Glades; 13. Somerset Academy; 14. Westminster Academy; 15. Pines Charter; 16. Pompano Beach; 17. International School of Broward.