ALL-PALM BEACH TEAM
IT’S BEEN 12 YEARS SINCE ALPHONSO SMITH LED Pahokee to a state championship, but the Wake Forest alum and retired NFL player is returning to his roots as the Blue Devils’ head coach.
Smith is determined to revitalize a proud program that
played in six consecutive state finals from 2003 to 2008,
winning five of them. However, the Blue Devils have only
made the playoffs once since 2009.
“One of the reasons I wanted to come back was to regain
our legacy,” Smith, 29, said of his first head coaching job.
“Our sole purpose is not to just win football games. Our
purpose is to save lives, get these kids into college. I want
WELCOME TO THE PARTY
Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach started its football
program three years ago by taking baby steps, playing only a
junior varsity schedule its first season.
The past two seasons, the Thunder Wolves captured
back-to-back conference titles as an independent. Now, they
believe they are ready to graduate to the next level and have
joined an FHSAA district in Class 3A.
There are 17 starters returning from last year’s 10-1 Gold
Coast Conference championship team, but coach Doug
Socha acknowledges that the 2015 season will be the
program’s most challenging schedule in its brief history.
“I don’t know if I would have painted it the way it’s become
right now, but we had a plan,” Socha said of the program’s
success so far and the decision to join the FHSAA district
format. “The majority of the kids have been here for all
three years. They were the program starters. We gave them
a chance to develop. We’ve prepared for this, and now we’ll
find out where we’re at.”
3 YARDS AND A CLOUD OF DUST
Standout quarterbacks commanded many of the headlines
last season in Palm Beach County, but the spotlight could be
focused on an old-fashioned grind-it-out offensive attack this fall.
Six senior running backs enter the season among the 15 top-rated prospects. The most highly touted are Devin Singletary of
American Heritage-Delray, Travis Homer of Oxbridge Academy
and McArthur Burnett of Pahokee, all of whom have committed
to or have offers from major Division I colleges.
Three others expected to pound the rock for plenty of
yardage are Ja’kevious Vickers of Glades Central, Cornelius
Smith of Dwyer and Dontavious Monroe of Atlantic.
FAMILIAR FACES, DIFFERENT PLACES
There are 10 teams with new head coaches this year, but
five of them simply have changed addresses and mascots.
Former Lake Worth head coach and Park Vista assistant
Errick Lowe has taken over the reins at Boynton Beach.
Former Palm Beach Central head coach John Timmins now
is in charge at Cardinal Newman. Bill Powers resigned at
Jupiter Christian and accepted the vacant job across town at
Jupiter. Chris Kokell, the former head man at Forest Hill, is
calling the shots at Olympic Heights. Willie Snead left Palm
Beach Lakes to take over the program at St. John Paul II
(formerly Pope John Paul II). – Steve Dorsey
PALM BEACH REGION
Running backs will rule the
area this year, including
Travis Homer of Oxbridge
QB Todd Centeio, Dwyer
RB Travis Homer, Oxbridge Academy
RB Cornelius Smith, Dwyer
WR Devonte Burden, Glades Central
WR Isaiah Johnson, Dwyer
OL Dylan Lyons, Seminole Ridge
OL Lunder Mercy, Oxbridge
OL Gregory Begnoche, American Heritage
OL Corey Jenkins, Glades Central
OL Santiago Posada, Wellington
UT McArthur Burnett, Pahokee
UT C. J. Smith, Oxbridge
DL VanDarius Cowan, Palm Beach Gardens
DL Jordan Gonzalez, Dwyer
DL Robert Holmes, Oxbridge
DL Patrick Brooks, Seminole Ridge
LB Zach McCloud, Lake Worth
LB Raven Saunders, Oxbridge
LB Willie Hampton, Oxbridge
DB Ahmmon Richards, Wellington
DB Davon Brown, Royal Palm Beach
DB Devin Studstill, Palm Beach Gardens
DB Jarques McClellion, Am. Heritage Delray
UT Marcus Frazier, Forest Hill
1. Palm Beach Gardens
5. American Heritage