Larry Blustein

Westminster Christian U-turn starts with Irvin

As a football player, there might not have been a tougher individual than Sedrick Irvin. The Miami native has now taken that passion and love for the game one step further.

Enjoying tremendous success for the Class 3A state-ranked Westminster Christian Warriors, what Irvin was, and is today, is totally wrapped up in a program that sits at 6-1, losing only to Champagnat Catholic, the No. 1 team in Class 2A.

If you were a football fan in South Florida in the 1990s, you knew who Irvin was. A high school All-American who played at Miami Southridge and Miami High and then had a tremendous collegiate career at Michigan State.

Although injuries plagued what could have been a productive professional playing career, Irvin was the kind of person who was destined to be around the game, and coaching seemed like the perfect mix.

Without hesitation, Irvin turned to someone who he had admired since his playing days in college. Nick Saban was the perfect coaching blueprint. He knew the game inside and out, had a burning desire to succeed and was a big disciplinarian.

“When I thought about coaching, Nick Saban was the person who I used as a reference point of success,” Irvin recalled. “Working with him at Alabama only confirmed what I wanted to do.”

What Irvin is doing in southwest Miami-Dade County is changing the perception of a school long known for its baseball — and turning it into a district-winning program that will no longer settle for moral victories.

After clinching the district title with a win over Chaminade-Madonna, the Warriors then went to previously unbeaten Miami Gulliver Prep and upset the Raiders.

Keep in mind, there are only seven seniors on the roster this year, which includes versatile Oliver Black, kicker Eli Medder, defensive back/receiver Khairi Reaser and linemen Matthew Lynch, Chris Manteiga and Chris Barbato, and five-year varsity quarterback Hunter Boyett.

“While we are a very young team, our senior class has been so important to this program,” Irvin said. “But our underclassmen have also made a huge impact.”

Junior standout athletes Jordan Cronkite, Tim Irvin and nationally rated receiver Devonaire Clarington have received plenty of attention — with all getting collegiate offers as far back as the 10th grade.

In addition, the junior class boasts linebacker Roshad Broadway, lineman Alexander Helms, Brett Benson and Dylan Charlton to name a few.

Even the sophomores have been outstanding with speedy Elbre Gaiter (son of former UM standout Tony Gaiter) and James Sutton — another South Florida legacy — playing way beyond their years.