Plantation American Heritage and Miramar both went into the season with the same idea: Beef up the schedule so the games that matter in November and December don’t feel so tough.
Miramar passed its first test last week, beating Delray American Heritage 14-7.
Plantation American Heritage wasn’t so lucky, getting dismantled by St. Thomas Aquinas 38-7 in front of a national cable TV audience at Sun Life Stadium.
Round 2 won’t be a cakewalk for either group of Patriots — the ones in black and gold uniforms (Heritage) and the ones in red, white and blue uniforms (Miramar).
Heritage visits Miramar for a 6 p.m. kickoff Saturday, a game cable TV was set to broadcast if the defending 5A state champions had upset St. Thomas. That didn’t happen. But it’s still a must watch.
“Last week they looked a little off, but again St. Thomas is probably going to win the national title,” Miramar coach Matthew Strout said.
“Offensively, they really scare me. They can put up some points. They have some explosive playmakers, arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Torrance Gibson. Cornerback Tavares McFadden is one of the best in the country. But I think we match up against them well.”
Strout is looking forward to one matchup in particular — his star receiver Jovon Durante, rated the 17th best at his position by Rivals.com, going head-to-head with McFadden, a five-star recruit tabbed the fourth-best at his position by the same scouting service.
“Jovon is electric,” Strout said. “He’s proven he’s a bonafide leader on our ballclub. He adds a different element on the special teams because he can do so many things. He’s explosive, fast twitch muscles. You love that in a player.
“He’s exciting to watch. He’s special.”
Durante, a transfer from Miami Jackson, scored two touchdowns — one on a punt return — against Hallandale in the kickoff classic. Last week against Delray Heritage he scored on an 11-yard touchdown catch. He faced McFadden before when he was at Jackson, catching four passes for 158 yards and a score against McFadden in a 26-22 defeat.
“It’s no problem going up against him,” Durante said. “Everyday in practice I go up against a D-1-caliber cornerback, whether it’s Tyrek Cole (Florida State commitment), Jeffrey Hill (Northern Illinois) or Kendrell McFadden (West Virginia).”
Strout is looking for improvement from his offense this week. Senior quarterback Brevet Killet, a transfer from Stranahan, helped lift the offense last week after a scoreless first quarter under the direction of junior Demari Simpkins. Killet tossed a pair of touchdown passes as he and Simpkins split series.
“He’s finally picked up the offense for us a little bit,” Strout said. “We had to go back and tweak some things, but he finally understands which direction we’re going.
“He’s never been in a system like this before. He’s never had playmakers like this before. So it’s been an adjustment phase for him. He’s primarily played under center. Now he’s playing in the pistol, spread and gun.
“I’m fine with a two-QB system because we played with a two-QB system last year and did very well. I think it’s just getting the units to mesh with the quarterbacks. Because both quarterbacks bring a lot different things to the table. I love that it makes it harder for other teams to prepare for us because they don’t know which quarterback they’re going to see.
“Meanwhile, we know we’re going to see Torrence Gibson on Saturday.”