Dolphins High school Media day at Hard Rock Stadium
Miami-Dade County high school football has its very own version of “A League of their Own” this season.
With county powers Northwestern, Central, Booker T. Washington and Columbus, to name a few, having taken over the landscape in terms of domination and stacking rosters with top talent on an annual basis, the likes of Reagan, Goleman Coral Park, Varela and other programs have been left in the dust.
Rather than get discouraged, the “little guys” who weren’t so little in terms of school size, went out and did something about it.
With Reagan coach John Lopez, assistant coach Jorge Rojas along with the GMAC leading the way, months of contacting other schools to get them on board, along with informing the FHSAA that they would not be participating in the state series when it came to football, eventually led to the berth of the Miami-Dade County Football Conference.
All 12 schools will still continue to be very much a part of the GMAC, they simply will not participate in the FHSAA state football playoffs come November.
“This gives us a chance to be competitive and to be honest a sense of fairness since the entire county has now kind of become an entire group of either ‘haves’ or ‘have-nots,’ ” said Lopez who is the only coach the Reagan program has ever known, starting it from scratch 12 years ago. “Speaking just for Reagan, being capped out enrollment-wise, we’ve always taken pride in just simply figuring out how to play with whatever comes in the doors. Obviously we weren’t the only ones with this problem. Other schools were in the same boat and that’s when we started to put together the idea of doing something like this.”
A total of 12 programs joined up to form the conference that is split into two divisions of six, a south division and a north. Forming the south are Braddock, Coral Park, Sunset, Reagan, Varela and Ferguson. Goleman, Hialeah-Miami Lakes, Mourning, Krop, Hialeah Gardens and Westland Hialeah are in the north.
Both out of the gate with 3-0 starts, Goleman and Krop would appear to be the two best teams in this group of a dozen.
“Our kids are excited for it, our coaches are excited for it I’m excited for it and our school is excited for it,” said Goleman head coach Ariel Cribiero. “I’d like to think that teams and programs that do it the right way and build with their own kids that this is our way of rewarding those kids. We’re a magnet school, our kids are smart, going to Ivy League schools, not necessarily to play football. We want to give them a great experience and going to this independent league will give them that opportunity.”
The set up will be relatively simple. Each team will play the other five in its own division and then four other games against teams from the opposite division for a total of nine games. The 10th game (including a bye week) will be played the final regular season week (Oct. 31-Nov. 2).
“We will pair up the two sixth-place teams against each other, then the fifth place and so on up to third place,” Rojas said. “Whoever finishes first and second will qualify for our playoffs on that weekend as well. The two semifinals will be first place from one division playing second from the other division and vice versa.”
The two semifinal winners will then meet in the championship game, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 9 at a neutral site, possibly Milander Stadium.
“This new conference, it’s not going to be any different in that we’re going to come out with the same attitude every week play football the way we know how to play,” said Reagan senior quarterback Johnny Vega. “It’s a matter of knowing that we have to beat whoever is in front of us. But now we’ll shoot to win the championship in our conference and that’s going to be pretty cool.”
▪ Sagemont d. Franklin Academy 3-0 (25-25, 25-11, 25-17): Rocio Pato 12 assists, 7 aces; Gabrielle DuPont 4 aces, Haley Fedele 5 kills.
▪ Miami Christian d. Pinecrest Prep 3-1 (24-26, 25-18, 25-11, 25-16): Angelica Ortiz 14 kills, 5 digs, 3 aces, ; Melissa Alfonso 17 assists, 3 digs, 4 aces; Dubra Ifill 14 digs, 4 aces.
▪ Palmer Trinity d. Carrollton 3-0 (25-17; 25-20; 25-19): Samiyah Panjabi 10 kills, 5 blocks; Natalia Rey 4 aces, 9 kills, 8 digs; Abigail Cohen 13 assists, 14 digs; Sofia Santamaria 3 aces, 6 kills, 1 block, 18 assists, 18 digs; Fiona McLaughlin 2 aces, 4 kills, 3 blocks, 4 digs; Jessica Webber 5 kills, 1 block, 10 digs. PT: 4-3
▪ St. Brendan d. La Salle 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-23): Nataly Hernandez 7 kills, 6 blocks; Julie Lentz 4 kills, 9 blocks; Katerina Jimenez 4 kills. STB: 5-0
▪ Plantation American Heritage 291, North Broward Prep 328 at Lago Mar CC: AH – Luke Clanton 71, Jonathan Mourin 71, Leo Herrera 72, Jude Kim 72, Gabe Hegerstrom 77, Sebastian Scristan 78, Jackson Kustin 79, Tyler Lindh 83; NBP – Sean Richards 73, Chase Ruge 79, Marcus Kallor 85, AJ Aquino 91, Anthony Trudel 95 AH: 3-0
▪ Columbus 305, Ransom Everglades 311, Belen 335 at Deering Bay: COL – Hans Risvaer 72, Andres Atrio 77, Jose Perez 78, Christian Figuerado 78; RE – Jake Beber-Frankel 63, Marc Chaneles 78; BEL – Andres Ludert 79, Lorenzo Rodriguez 79, Sebastian Barcia 81;
▪ Gulliver Prep. 163, Miami Country Day 167, Westminister Christian 184: Alexandra Dalmau with individual low score of 37.
▪ Palmetto d. Gulluver Prep. 7-0: High Game: Connor Pipho 257; Austin Esco 203, Eric Viener 203; High Series: Connor Pipho 708, Austin Esco 588. PAL: 2-0
▪ Braddock d. Sunset 7-0: BRAD – High Game: Alec Garcia 229, High Series: Alec Garcia 617; SUN – High Game: Carlos Alvarez 110, High Series: Marcos Baez 298
▪ Columbus d. Schoolhouse Prep. 7-0: High Game: Marlon Ruiz 225, Antonio Varona III 203; High Series: Marlon Ruiz 645 COL: 3-0
▪ Palmetto d. Gulliver Prep. 5-2: High Game: Katherine Martinez 145; High Series:: Colleen Ryan, 415. PAL: 1-1