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Blu's Corner

Broward County relishes some of the top players and teams

Over the past 100 years, Broward County has continued to grow and expand in ever direction possible. With "snowbirds" flocking to the warmer climate in the winter months, it had long been recognized as a mecca of fun, sun and entertainment.

As the population began to reflect many northern visitors to the year-round destination, families were now filling neighborhoods with youngsters who would one day start to make local high schools competitive in the athletic arena.

The early years saw a handful of teams compete against Miami-Dade and Palm Beach programs. The early years of football had some quality players that left a mark and ultimately paved the way for a time when more schools were developed, making the Friday night and Saturday morning experiences memorable.

The competitive early years gave way to the 1940s and 50s - and then the stars began to emerge with 1961 graduates Tucker Frederickson (South Broward), Brian Piccolo - Central Catholic (St. Thomas Aquinas) and Russ Smith (Stranahan) - as well Cyril Pinder, a 1964 graduate of Crispus Attucks - and Dillard's 1967 standout Jim Osborne.

As we left the 1960s and headed toward the 70s, it was evident that Broward County was well on the way to becoming a recruiting destination and several top-flight athletes began to receive national attention.

Prospects such as 1970 Fort Lauderdale standout Al Alvarez and Pompano Beach tight end Dan Nugent, 1972 players Rubin Carter (Stranahan-Miami) and Eugene Kelly (Hollywood Hills), 1974 Hollywood Hills graduate Gerald Bain (Oklahoma State) and 1975 Pompano Beach standout Barry Krauss (Alabama) were joined by - Northeast 1977 prospect Mike Mularkey (Florida), and 1978 standouts Jeff Fagan (Miramar-Alabama), Keith Uecker (Hollywood Hills-Auburn), Mark Rush (Stranahan-Miami) and current BCAA Athletic Director Rocky Gillis (Pompano Beach-Iowa State). There were also 1979 standouts in Miramar kicker Dean Biasucci and Blanche Ely quality performer James Jones, a University of Florida standout.

As new schools began to open in the 1980s, football really began to heat up with stars at every turn. Thanks to cable TV, many local athletes were being discovered.

The 80s rolled out big time talent such as Miramar 1980 graduate Jesse Bendross and Stranahan's Carlton Rose, as well as St. Thomas standout Stefan Humphries. The 1981 class boasted Frank McCarthy (Deerfield Beach), Victor Morris (Blanche Ely), Pat Moons (St. Thomas Aquinas), Mike Rendina (Pompano Beach-FSU) and Fred Buckley (Cardinal Gibbons-Stanford), The 1982 season saw one of the best ever, Rod Baker (Blanche Ely) and John Congemi (St. Thomas Aquinas-Pittsburgh). The 1983 class was loaded with players such as Danny McManus (South Broward-FSU), Jamel Agemy (South Broward-Virginia Tech), Brian Blades (Piper-Miami), Steve Bryant (Hollywood Hills) and Alfredo Roberts (South Plantation-Miami).

As the 1984 season approached, it was evident that athletes like Bennie Blades (Piper-Miami), Rod Carter (Fort Lauderdale-Miami), Greg Cox (St. Thomas Aquinas-Miami), Bill Hawkins (South Broward-Miami), the great Michael Irvin (St. Thomas Aquinas-Miami), Scott Johnston (Stranahan) and Lorenzo White (Dillard-Michigan State). Northeast's Dave Thomas (1985) was a three-year starter. The 1986 season also saw Darius Frazier (Hallandale-Miami), Marty Butler (Boyd Anderson) and Slip Watkins (St. Thomas Aquinas-LSU).

The late 80s also watched players Claude Jones (Dillard-Miami), Hyland Hickson (Dillard-Michigan State) and Stranahan's Anthony Judge (Stranahan) step up - as did record-setter Steve Feagin (Deerfield Beach), Todd Lindemann (South Plantation), Wendal Lowery (Dillard), the legend Tony Sands (St. Thomas Aquinas), Brad Strohm (Western) and Blanche Ely's Harvey Thomas in 1988, and 1989 standouts Richard McKenzie (Boyd Anderson), Reggie Hudson (Miramar), Sterling Palmer (St. Thomas Aquinas) and the great McArthur running back Errict Rhett.

The 1990s opened a new arena for Broward County football players as colleges from all over the country began to flock to schools from Hallandale to Deerfield Beach and everywhere in between.

Terry Richardson (Northeast), Kevin McDougle (Blanche Ely), the great Isaac Bruce (Dillard), Lonnie Calicchio (South Plantation) and Donnell Bennett (Cardinal Gibbons). The 1991 class boasted Brian Robinson (Dillard), James Bostic (Dillard), Dou Innocent (Blanche Ely), Tyrant Marion (Blanche Ely), Olindo Mare (Cooper City) and Frank Sanders (Dillard). 

Cardinal Gibbons' standout Antwan Chiles led a 1992 class that also included Henri Crockett (Blanche Ely), Erasmus James (McArthur), Cameron Davis (St. Thomas Aquinas), Jack Hallmon (Dillard), Otis Mounds (Dillard) and Twan Russell of St. Thomas Aquinas. The 1993 group was also star-studded with Daryl Porter (St. Thomas Aquinas), Al Harris (Blanche Ely), Marc Renaud (Deerfield Beach), Billy Brown (St. Thomas Aquinas), Nigea Carter (Coconut Creek), Andre King (Stranahan) and Terry Smith (St. Thomas Aquinas).

The rest of the 90s really made this region of the country special - with 1994 prospect Keith Wilkerson (St. Thomas Aquinas), 1995 stars Martavious Houston (Boyd Anderson), Tyrone Carter (Blanche Ely), Autry Denson (Nova), Bobby Brown (St. Thomas Aquinas), Stockar McDougle (Deerfield Beach) and 
Corey Simon (Blanche Ely). 

The road to the next level was paved by 1996 standouts Al Blades and Jerry Carmichael (Plantation) as well as South Broward standout Broderick Nelson, Dan Morgan (Taravella) headed the 1997 class that also included Coral Springs star Steve Hutchinson and Tavarus Davis (Fort Lauderdale). Jerome McDougle (Blanche Ely 1998) and 1999 stars Asante Samuel (Boyd Anderson), Colin Cole (South Plantation) and Plantation difference makers Kevin Beard, O'Neal Sandiford and quarterback Ryan Schneider.

While the 80s and 90s opened the door for superior Broward County talent, 2000 kicked things off with Tony Brown (St. Thomas Aquinas), Chris Gamble (Dillard) and Bryant McFadden (McArthur).

Here is a list of some of the elite, nationally rated players who have made that impact over the past 15 years in Broward County:
Travis Daniels (South Broward)
Chris Gamble (Dillard)
Tremaine Hall (Deerfield Beach)
Abdul Hodge (Boyd Anderson)
Nate Salley (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Davin Joseph (Hallandale)
Stanley McClover (Dillard)
Teraz McCray (Blanche Ely)
H.B. Blades (Plantation)
Andrew Bain (Blanche Ely)
Tavares Gooden (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Tyrone Moss (Blanche Ely)
Clint Session (Blanche Ely)
Brent Schaefer (Deerfield Beach)
Sam Young (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Leonard Hankerson (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Major Wright (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Duron Carter (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Patrick Johnson (Blanche Ely)
Brandon McGee (Plantation)
Lamarcus Joyner (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Ivan McCartney (Miramar)
Marcus Roberson (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Ryan Shazier (Plantation)
Tracy Howard (Miramar)
Joey Bosa (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Alex Collins (South Plantation)
Corey Holmes (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Chris Lammons (Plantation)
Calvin Ridley (Monarch)


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