WEST PALM BEACH – When it comes to football in Palm Beach County, teams that are considered contenders for the state championship are schools such as Pahokee, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer and Glades Central. But when the 2005 season begins, here is another program to keep an eye on!
Palm Beach Lakes has the talent to make a serious run at a state title that is just down the road in Miami-Dade County next year. When you look at their roster, the Rams will have all the ingredients to make a run at the elusive title.
"Over the years, this is a program that has produced a number of quality football players," said Larry Blustein, who has been following high school football in this state for over 30 years. "From what I can see, they are loaded with talent – up and down the roster."
One of the main reasons Blustein and others regard Palm Beach Lakes as a contender for the State 6A crown is emerging star WR/S Brandon Heath.
At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Heath is not only one of the best players in Palm Beach County, but also the entire state of Florida as he was rated in the www.floridakids.us top 275 players to watch for in the spring. In the playoffs last year, Heath had a coming out party for the Rams' defense. He had eight tackles for loss, three pass break ups, three interceptions (two against Pompano Beach Ely) and one was returned for a touchdown.
When I had the pleasure of sitting down with Heath, he mentioned what was his number one goal this year: "Going all the way, that's the most important thing for our football team this year," Heath said.
When it comes to his favorite team, Heath did not hesitate on who he grew up cheering for.
"FSU, that was my favorite team growing up", he said with a smile." Also in his top five are Miami, Florida, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Head Football Coach Dan Sanso has always been impressed by what Heath can do to help elevate a team. In fact, he pointed out what makes this rising star the talent he is.
"Brandon is amazing, a game breaker, and one of our big time playmakers," Sanso said. "What is most impressive about Brandon is he understands the game of football. You won't see him ever make the same mistake twice."
Another playmaker on the Lakes' football team is star junior safety Jermaine Malcolm. With Heath and Malcolm in the same secondary there will not be many teams passing on the Rams in 2005.
With most teams looking to stay away from Heath side of the football you can bet that Malcolm will make most of the big plays on the Rams' defense this upcoming season. Malcolm finished last season with three interceptions, one kickoff return for a touchdown, a fumble recovery for a touchdown and six pass breakups. On top of that, he registered over 30 solo tackles.
With the loss of talented quarterback Jarrett Brown, the Rams won't look far for a quality replacement. Former linebacker Angelo Bellamy will line up under center next fall. Even his coaches are excited to see what Bellamy can do.
"He works hard, studies film and knows how to get prepared for an upcoming game," Sanso pointed out. "Bellamy has all the tools to be a very good quarterback for us."
One name to remember for the upcoming season is defensive end David Bedford. After being injured early last year, Bedford came on strong at the end of the season.
"I want to showcase my skills," Bedford said about his plans for 2005. "After last year there is no doubt I have a lot to prove. I would like to lead the state in sacks and start every game in the fall."
On offense, the Rams need their line to come through. That should not be a problem with Jeremy Baker (6-4, 300) leading the charge. Last year he also played defensive tackle for the Rams.
"I need to learn to play with better leverage," Baker said. "Sometimes when I come off the ball on defense I make it easy for opposing lineman to knock me off my feet. If I can improve that part of my game than I will be much closer to being a complete player."
Others players to keep an eye on include running back Cordaro Drummond, who takes over for Jetavious Best. Wide receiver Brandon Thompkins and fullback Glenis Thompson are other players.
Want www.floridakids.us to come by and spotlight your school, just let me know (CFishbein@aol.com) and I will be pleased to talk with your coaches and players.
Florida Kids is the only website that relies on watching athletes live. From camps and combines to games and practices – from Key West to Pensacola – we have a pulse on the entire state of Florida!
PALM BEACH LAKES: Will Be A Factor in 2005
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