Football season is just around the corner

caines | 5/16/2013, 5:30 a.m.

[gallery link="file" columns="2" orderby="title"] Teams battle it out in competitive scrimmages at FIU In other parts of the nation spring is a time for cleaning, revamping and rejuvenating in preparation for the summer months. But in Miami-Dade County, spring marks the beginning of workouts and practices for gridiron stars from Homestead to Hialeah and locations in between. It is the time when teams begin to field-test their artillery before the imminent fall season battles. Last Friday and Saturday, more than 30 football teams from Miami-Dade and Broward high schools gathered at Florida International University in the sweltering 86-degree heat for the South Florida Officiating Camp Scrimmages. While referees from around the nation were being trained and corrected by Conference-USA personnel, South Florida high schools capitalized on this opportunity to test-drive their teams. Several local coaches, whose teams do not have an additional spring game scheduled, said that this scrimmage was critical in figuring out their approach for the remainder of the summer.

Coaches use scrimmage for strategizing

The scrimmage gives us a chance to go against a different face, said Norland head coach, Daryle Heidelburg, whose team could not get an opponent for a spring game. Im happy with the level of play Ive seen so far and can see that we guys really competing for spots. Pat Burrows, head coach of Homestead, made similar observations. The discipline of the kids was the most positive, said Burrows, entering his second year at Homestead. We didnt have to force the kids to give a 110 percent they want it for themselves. Like Norland, Homestead does not have a spring game scheduled but Burrows said the scrimmage will show the staff what they need to work on before next seasons opening game against a competitive University School (Broward) team. We have the drive to reach the playoffs this upcoming season, he said. Not all of the local powerhouses participated, including Northwestern and state champions Booker T. Washington and Central, but others with impressive win-loss records did take advantage of the chance to return to the field. Killian, who lost in the Region 8A Finals last season, will have an almost entirely new starting lineup, according to Head Coach Cory Johnson. With only four returning starters, Johnson said he will rely heavily on rising seniors Jakari Bolton (offensive lineman) and Matthew Colominas (defensive end). Every team has its own identity, he said. These guys are naturally tough and thats hard to come by. Heidelburg, reflecting on last season when they fell short of a repeat for the state championship said, We have to finish. Carol City has struggled for several seasons, according to Head Coach Harold Barnwell, but believes theyll show great improvement this year. They will face Blanche Ely on Thursday, May 23rd at 7 p.m. He says seniors like Eugene Richardson and Raquan Williams, both offensive linemen, will make a difference. We finally got some big bodies up front on the offensive line, Barnwell said. So the kids are going to continue where last years team left off. Meanwhile, Homestead will rely heavily on rising senior receiver Ermon Lane, who was their dominant offensive and defensive threat last season. Burrows also has high expectations for rising junior Quarterback Maurice Alexander. We had a lot of young players, Burrows said. [But] we want to be competitive in the district [and] the kids are taking ownership. Killian will take on Ronald Reagan High on May 23rd on their home field. Theres no football like Miami football. By Akilah LasterMiami Times writerakilahlaster@gmail.com