In our Countdown to Kickoff series, we dive into a class by class preview for each of the FHSAA’s eight classifications with a look at Class 3A.
STORYLINES TO WATCH
Can Chaminade-Madonna go for the three-peat?
It is not so much if Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood) can get to the state championship game again in Class 3A, but rather can they win it all again for the third-straight year. It would be easy to say yes if the likes of Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) weren’t lurking around.
There won’t be a lack of talent for the Lions with the likes of several all-state players returning including running back Thaddius Franklin Jr. and offensive/defensive lineman Willie Moise. Plus, there are other quality athletes like wide receiver Elijah Cannon, cornerback Benjamin Onwuzo, defensive end Claude Larkins and many other superior athletes that are lining up on the roster for the Lions.
As for the schedule? It is no cakewalk once again with no opponent from their own region or classification on the schedule. With the likes of Miami Carol City, Atlantic (Delray), Pahokee, Vero Beach, and Miami Central on the schedule, the Lions will once again be battled tested in 2019.
Tons of new faces in the classification
When reclassification time came, there were a lot of new faces in the landscape that was placed into the Class 3A landscape.
First, although not a new face, Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) returns after two years of being in Class 5A. The Conquerors automatically became one of the potential favorites to win it all this year with the move.
Other notable teams to be added to Class 3A include P.K. Yonge (Gainesville), Walton (DeFuniak Springs), Frostproof, Bishop Verot (Fort Myers) and Miami Edison, among several others.
As such, Class 3A will be a classification worth watching to see anyone rises up to the occasion of playing some spoiler rolls along the way.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
NOTE: Players to watch is guided more around abilities on the field than star-rankings. A lot of this list is derived from last season’s FloridaHSFootball.com All-State Teams and while we would love to list everyone from every program, we had to make some considerations for this list for the preview.
Jay Allen, John Carroll, Jr. – Had some incredible stats last season as a sophomore throwing for over 2,100 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 687 yards and 14 more touchdowns earning all-state honorable mention honors.
Presley Almond, King’s Academy, Sr. – Rushed for 1,150 yards and 13 touchdowns earn an honorable mention for all-state.
Michael Bright, Cardinal Mooney, Sr. – The offensive guard was a beast on the line racking up 56 pancake blocks and only giving up one sack the entire season on the way to first-team all-state honors.
Elijah Canion, Chaminade-Madonna, Sr. – Earned honorable mention all-state honors with 649 yards receiving and nine touchdowns last season.
Fred Davis, Trinity Christian (Jacksonville), Sr. – Huge cornerback that quarterbacks avoided, but managed to get 48 tackles, 12 pass breakups and returned an interception for a touchdown last season, earning third-team all-state honors in Class 5A.
Chris D’or, Cardinal Newman, Sr. – Recognized with second-team all-state honors last season after rushing for over 1,000 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns.
Grant Dycus, P.K. Yonge, Sr. – Had 138 tackles (five for loss), two sacks, one interception, six forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries while earning all-state honorable mention at linebacker last season.
Zac Elam, Clearwater Central Catholic, Sr. – The offensive center was a first-team all-state selection last season but also collected some stats on defense along the way as well.
Thaddius Franklin Jr., Chaminade-Madonna, Jr. – The running back earned first-team all-state honors last season with 1,602 yards rushing and scoring 14 touchdowns.
Jaylen Harrell, Berkeley Prep, Jr. – Racked up 106 tackles (20 for loss0, five sacks and one interception in 2018, earning second-team all-state honors.
Ahmari Harvey, Florida High, Jr. – Had 122 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles on his way to second-team all-state honors as a sophomore last season.
Richie Ilarraza, Calvary Christian (Clearwater), Jr. – Hauled in 63 receptions for 912 yards and 10 touchdowns last season as a sophomore, earning second-team all-state honors.
Ja’Kobi Jackson, Pensacola Catholic, Sr. – Rushed for over 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns earning all-state honorable mention recognition.
JaCory Jordan, Trinity Christian (Jacksonville), Jr. – Matured as a leader last season throwing for 2,385 yards and 27 touchdowns on the way to second-team all-state honors in Class 5A.
Ryan Leavy, Berkeley Prep, Sr. – A solid punter that earned second-team all-state honors last season.
Giancarlo Margarejo, Clearwater Central Catholic, Sr. – At cornerback, Margarejo had 56 tackles and four interceptions which earned him second-team all-state honors last season.
Xavier McGriff, Baldwin, Sr. – McGriff earned second-team all-state honors as a wide receiver in 2018 with 43 catches for 774 yards and nine touchdowns.
Willie Moise, Chaminade-Madonna, Sr. – The offensive lineman was a first-team all-state selection last season after leading the efforts to Thaddius Franklin Jr’s breakout season as a sophomore.
Joshua Pierre-Louis, Benjamin, Sr. – A contributor on both side of the ball, he had 23 tackles, two interceptions plus 486 yards rushing and six touchdowns last season earning second-team all-state recognition.
Cade Richards, Clearwater Central Catholic, Sr. – One of the offensive line leaders for the Marauders, Richards earned second-team all-state honors last season.
Isaac Scroggins, King’s Academy, Sr. – A leading safety, Scroggins racked up 51 tackles (four for loss), five interceptions and two fumble recoveries on the way to second-team all-state honors last season.
Aidan Shariari, Calvary Christian (Clearwater), Sr. – Was one of the leading punters in Class 3A last season with a 38.8 yard average on punts, leading to first-team all-state honors.
Deidrick Stanley II, Chaminade-Madonna, Sr. – Standout cornerback that had a team-leading seven interceptions last season with 85 tackles which earned him second-team all-state honors.
Harrison Thomas, Clearwater Central Catholic, Sr. – A first-team all-state selection from last season, Thomas had 67 tackles, 11 sacks and one fumble recovery as a junior.
Tommy Tight, Trinity Prep, Sr. – Caught 54 passes for 836 yards from the wide receiver position last season on the way to second-team all-state recognition.
Ryan Waddell, Father Lopez, Sr. – Waddell had 145 tackles with 32 for loss last season on the way to earning second-team all-state honors.
THE FAVORITE TO WIN IT ALL
Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) – This was a tough pick for this one because it could be Trinity Christian or it could be Chaminade-Madonna. Plenty of talent is on the roster and will and right now are the favorite by many to win it all after missing out the last two years in Class 5A.
NEXT IN LINE
Chaminade-Madonna – Right now Chaminade-Madonna is another favorite to win Class 3A, but some talent losses to other programs might be the difference in terms of being able to repeat for a third straight year.
Florida High – Yes, the Seminoles lost some talent due to graduation, but there is some quality players on the roster that could be the ones to get them to that coveted state championship game.
Clearwater Central Catholic – We can never count out the Marauders from being in the state championship hunt, especially with the talent available on the roster, plus their recent playoff history with deep playoff runs.
Cardinal Mooney – The reason we put Cardinal Mooney on this list is the fact that Paul Maechtle has lead state championship teams before at Southeast (Bradenton) and if he has the right pieces, he could surprise everyone with his Cougars’ squad.
King’s Academy – They got our attention last season after getting all the way to the state championship game. We would consider them a sleeper again given how competitive it could be to try to get back to the championship game for a second straight year with a change in regions.
11 GAMES TO WATCH
Here are 11 games that could have an impact on the Class 3A playoff standings. Do note that are way more games that are worth watching that could be included on the list but wanted to focus on one game each week. Additional games will be spotlighted each week during the season.
Clearwater Central Catholic at Berkeley Prep, Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.
Right out of the gate, a potential playoff preview between two of the top private school teams in the Tampa Bay region.
Bishop Verot at Lakeland Christian, Aug. 30, 7:30 p.m.
An early-season test for both teams that could make the playoffs in their respective regions this season.
John Carroll at American Heritage (Delray), Sep. 6, 7:00 p.m.
A great matchup between John Carroll, a squad that has some young talent that showed off a lot of promises, against a traditional Class 3A powerhouse program.
P.K. Yonge DRS at Florida High, Sep. 13, 7:00 p.m.
The rivalry battle between the University of Florida and Florida State University developmental research schools has been renewed and it should be a great one.
Frostproof at Father Lopez, Sep. 20, 7:00 p.m.
An intriguing matchup between two playoff teams from last season that will certainly have an impact on the Region 2 playoff standings.
Calvary Christian (Clearwater) at Cardinal Mooney, Sep. 27, 7:00 p.m.
This will be a revenge match for the host Cougars who were knocked off at home against the Warriors in the regional quarterfinals last season.
Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) at Booker T. Washington (4A), Oct. 3, 7:00 p.m.
This game at Traz Powell will be one of the biggest challenges the Conquerors will face this season. It doesn’t get any tougher than playing a Miami school on their own turf.
Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) at Colquitt County (Ga.), Oct. 11, 8:00 p.m.
This game will not only have implications on the Conquerors playoff positioning but also with the national rankings.
Chaminade-Madonna at Vero Beach (8A), Oct. 18, 7:00 p.m.
This is a game that the Lions could most certainly win with the fact that Vero Beach is not as talented as they have been the last few seasons.
King’s Academy at Benjamin, Oct. 25, 7:00 p.m.
This matchup was a tight one in the regular season last year and it will be the same way again. The other question, will both teams be undefeated when they get to this game?
Melbourne Central Catholic at John Carroll, Nov. 1, 7:00 p.m.
A rivalry game between the Space Coast and Treasure Coast Catholic high schools that could have a direct impact on the playoff race standings.
1. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville)
2. Florida High
3. P.K. Yonge
4. Pensacola Catholic
6. Trinity Catholic
7. Andrew Jackson
2. The First Academy (Orlando)
3. Father Lopez
4. Lakeland Christian
5. Holy Trinity
6. Melbourne Central Catholic
7. Taylor (Pierson)
8. Trinity Prep
9. Cornerstone Charter
1. Clearwater Central Catholic
2. Berkeley Prep
4. Cardinal Mooney
5. King’s Academy
6. John Carroll
7. Cardinal Newman
8. Calvary Christian (Clearwater)
9. Bishop Verot
11. Bonita Springs
2. Westminster Christian
3. Palmer Trinity
4. Miami Edison
5. Calvary Christian (Fort Lauderdale)
6. Everglades Prep
7. St. Andrew’s
8. Palm Glades Prep
9. Somerset Silver Palms
10. St. John Paul II (Boca Raton)