- Faith & Family
Often overshadowed by northern, inner city teams like Norland, Northwestern, Carol City, Jackson and Central, are the teams in the southern sector of the County. And while they may not make local headlines as often as their northern counterparts, high schools in the south like Homestead, South Dade and Southridge produce a lot of primetime talent and have developed a real rivalry of sorts. Harris Field hosts these sell-out battles that bring out most southern Miami-Dade County communities from Richmond Heights to Florida City.
Standouts this year included: Homestead senior receiver Herb Waters and sophomore receiver Ermon Lane; South Dade senior linebacker Joey Jones and senior running back Torry Clayton; and Southridge seniors, defensive tackle Donaldson Roosevelt and quarterback/cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon.
Homestead: Homestead (4-6) was led by Herb Waters, a senior known
for his speed, catching, and route running. He has committed to the University of Miami. Alongside Waters was fellow receiver Ermon Lane who is quickly rising in ranks.
“He is very playful,” Waters said. “He loves to dance on the field at practice.”
“I’m not a leader yet, but I make big plays,” Lane added.
Though only a sophomore, Lane has gained interest from UM, Florida State University and University of Alabama.
“We’re better than both of them,” Lane said. “Southridge was just more disciplined at the time when we played them.”
In this year’s match-up against South Dade, known as the “Battle of Lucy Street,” that ended both teams’ seasons, the Broncos defeated the Buccaneers in a comeback battle 20-10.
South Dade: South Dade finished the season at (5-5), including a 7-21 loss to Southridge, and was led by Joey Jones (brother of former UM player Charlie Jones), who is verbally-committed to Cincinnati. The youngest of six, Jones said football has kept him “level.” “I’ve noticed that I’ll keep going where I normally would give up,” Jones said. “It helped me grow.”
Surprised to be called a leader, Jones said he could be more vocal.
“My strength is that I’ll see things others don’t see,” Jones said. “People say I should be a defensive coach.”
His offensive help came from senior, Torry Clayton, a participant in this year’s Nike Dade vs. Broward All-Star game, who has offers from West Virginia, Florida International University, Illinois, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
Clayton is known for his speed and durability and ran a 4.45 at a Florida State camp during the sum- mer. Due to injury he did not participate against Homestead, but on the season rushed for 1108 yards on 168 carries and 15 touchdowns.
Southridge: Southridge, the only of the three teams to play in the post season, defeated both South Dade and Homestead and were the District 16-8A champions.
The Spartans (6-6), this year’s dominating southern rival, also defeated their district rival Coral Reef three times. At the forefront was Jeremiah McKinnon. He played both sides of the field and has the eyes of FIU, Bowling Green, New Mexico and Western Michigan on him He is an athlete, listed under four positions: quarterback, cornerback, kick return and punt return.
“Football kept me out of the streets and gave me the discipline in the classroom,” he said.
Teammate and longtime friend of McKinnon, Donaldson Roosevelt, was also a huge contributor to Southridge’s success. Roosevelt, who has a 3.6 GPA and was formerly at Coral Reef, is looking at FIU, Western Michigan and Louisiana-Lafayette. He said the move to Southridge was good for him.
“This is the hardest I have ever worked in one year,” Roosevelt said. “You have to have a work hard mentality or you’re not going to survive,” added McKinnon. “You gotta
have heart to play here.”
By Akilah Laster
Miami Times writer