Varsity Preps

Kosnitzky’s Korner: Is Coral Gables Ready For the Next Step?

(photo: Source: Miami Herald)

 

When Coral Gables (3-0) takes the field against district contender Miami Columbus (1-2) this Friday at 4:00 p.m. at Tropical Park, their seniors may reflect on the fact that their team lost to the Explorers 42-7 and 41-0 over the past two seasons. Could this team be ready for the next step?

 

Despite attaining their first playoff victory in nearly 25 years last season, this is a team that finished the season 4-8, with some losses against teams that never saw post season. This is a school that has produced talent such as Frank Gore and John Vilma among others in its 65 years of existence.  Through the regular season, the Cavaliers have tallied a 10-0 victory over Miami Southridge and 40-0 win over Krop.  While they have not played the same caliber of opponents as Miami Columbus, these wins were impressive.

 

Running Back, Gregory Howell is averaging over 8 yards per carry, while Quarterback Dijion Smith looks to Shaquery Wilson, Antiwone Johnson and Matthew Vincent to catch his passes.  In a district such as 14-8A, there is a certain level of parity so the team knows that a loss here may quickly lead to the school not having the ability to control a playoff spot.

 

Miami Columbus, despite clobbering Belen 37-0, suffered a close loss to South Dade 12-10 and also succumbed to a 42-7 beating by American Heritage Plantation.  While the sch0ol advanced to the state semifinals two years in a row, many question what type of team Columbus is placing on the field this year.  Tucker Beirne is back at QB, a year older and a year wiser.  His 500 yards of passing to receivers Sasha Kelly, Xavier Williams and Austin Maloney fuel this pass oriented offense.  Oshton Armstrong averages over four yards a carry in the backfield which is an adjustment after the loss of their two senior backs from last year.

 

Some pundits have the Explorers as a slight favorite, but I  look for the Cavaliers to make a statement this time.  Columbus has faced adversity before and overcame as exemplified by their progression in the playoffs last year.  However, with a limited ground game and the potency of the Coral Gables offense, look for the Crimson and Gray to move to the top.  That is of course if they are ready for the next step!

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