Blu’s Blog: Pioneers Making A Statement

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Updated: October 1, 2013
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BY LARRY BLUSTEIN | Senior Analyst
Twitter: @LarryBlustein
Email: Floridakids1@aol.com

North Miami moved to 4-0 with a 21-14 win over Miami Beach last Friday night – as the Pioneers helped open the new Memorial Stadium. But if you think head coach Ed Williams and his staff was satisfied, you don’t know the goals that this program has set.

A district doormat since 1999 — when the Pioneers last went to the playoffs — things look a lot different on North Miami’s sideline. And after years of trying to turn the corner, this program has finally started to put the pieces in place to take one game at a time and start a new tradition.

As much as this program enjoys getting off to that hot start, there is no denying that the job is not even close to being done. Not when you make numerous mistakes and turn the ball over, putting all the pressure on the defense.

The 2013 edition of North Miami football will only be defined on how this team finishes, and with rival North Miami Beach coming up this week in a key district game, followed by Coral Reef and Hialeah, there are no more games when making mistakes will be tolerated.

“We have so far to go, but are definitely on the right track,” said Williams. “We cannot make mistakes and shoot ourselves in the foot against NMB or Hialeah. If we do, our dream of winning this district will certainly fade, and I think these kids are working way too hard.”

While the success of the team this year had been the defense, where nobody scored in the first three games, last week gave the Pioneers the chance to showcase a receiving corps that features USF-bound Stanley Clerveaux, but also boasts playmakers such as senior Sidney Auguste, and juniors Tavaris Harrison and Victor Sam, and sophomore standout Henry Payoute, who came up with several key catches.

As good as this receiving group is, the Pioneers have found themselves a quarterback; a signal caller that can not only run the offense, but throw the ball 40-plus times and make plays.

Junior Hilton Joseph may not be the biggest quarterback prospects, but he does make a difference, spreading the ball around and getting out of jams with his legs.

While the Pioneers have struggles to compete over the past decade, a lot has contributed to the decline. When the new school was being built, it took away the practice field. That forced this team to travel five miles every day to practice. Dozens of top-flight players began to leave for schools such as NMB, Central, Hialeah and other private programs around the region.

“We are a very young team who has a lot to put back together,” Williams explained. “The North Miami area is certainly home to plenty of athletic football players, but keeping them home in the past was not easy. Now, as we begin to compete and win, the perception of the program is changing.”

MIAMI BEACH PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2015 – Markel Anderson, RB/DB
2014 – Dustin Arango, WR/DB
2014 – Brent Baker, WR/DB
2014 – Deion Cineus, OL/DL
2014 – Miguel DeJesus, LB
2016 – Homero Gonzalez, LB
2016 – Steve Hollingsworth, QB
2016 – Randle Jones, WR
2014 – Teddy Joseph, LB
2015 – Matkevious Lumpkin, TE/LB
2014 – Phillip Mackey, DL
2014 – Ty McCall, TE
2014 – Jeffrey Medrano, LB/FB
2014 – Mark Velez, OL
2015 – Malik Williams, WR/DB

NORTH MIAMI PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2015 – James Bell, LB
2014 – Alix Cesar, DE
2014 – Wesley Charles, DB
2014 – Jordan Cherefant, DL
2014 – Steven Decius, DE
2014 – Stanley Guz, DB
2015 – Kerson Jeanpierre, DB
2015 – Quintin Moore, LB
2015 – Alex Pierre, RB
2015 – Eric Rico, OL
2015 – Markes Scott, DE
2014 – Brandon Wright, DB

HALLANDALE STILL PUTS UP THE POINTS
While many have criticized head coach Dameon Jones and his Hallandale football team for putting up over 50 points a game against competition that didn’t have a winning record, the Chargers smile and continue their trek toward a district title.

Falling short of the 50 mark for the first time last week against Coconut Creek, the Chargers were once again out there doing what they do as the quickest-scoring program in the state of Florida, and ignoring the detractors of the program.

While those in Miami-Dade and other areas continue to want to poke holes in the unbeaten Chargers’ game – just because they are not lining up against unbeaten foes every week – the one fact remains: this team is not just beating the “lesser” opponents, but they are completely taking them apart.

Offensively, this is a team that has speed at every position. At running back – where junior Taj McGowan, and seniors Treyvon Rolle and Paul Anderson can take it the distance on any play.

Hallandale can also get you through the air – as sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley continues to establish himself as one of the best, his use of young prospects such as sophomores Nshaka Neru and Chris Cotto and junior Richie Cooper.

Defensively, this is a unit lead by LSU-bound John Battle IV, but also has future major college standouts such as junior linebacker Sh’mar Kilby-Lane and junior lineman Michael Clarke.

COCONUT CREEK PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2014 – Erin Alexander, WR
2017 – Emmanuel Green, WR
2016 – Jahkari Harrison, QB
2014 – Lucas Irons, LB
2016 – Bryant Pericles, OL/DL
2016 – Darion Striggles, DB
2016 – Woodley Sulley, OL
2014 – Taiwain Watkins, RB
2017 – Damian Williams, FB/PK
2016 – Malek Young, Athlete

HALLANDALE PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT
2016 – Jaelyn Faulk, DB
2016 – Ivan Gutierrez, PK/P
2015 – Jarves Hall, DL
2014 – Brent Hart, WR
2015 – Keyon Hodges, OL
2015 – Sammy Jeanclaude, DE
2015 – Dana Leavine, OLB
2015 – Shawn Parker, DB
2014 – Joshua Robinson, LB
2015 – Deondre Tyler, OL

Have something to add to this Blog? Drop Larry Blustein a note at Floridakids1@aol.com.