Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties are famous for their high school football talent. All three counties had representatives on the field at Palm Beach Lakes on Friday night.
The Rams hosted a spring-game jamboree, bringing in visiting Boynton Beach, Deerfield Beach and Miami Central in a clash of the three South Florida counties.
“(This lets) us know where we are, where we stand vs. those down-south teams,” Lakes coach Al Shipman said. “They’ve got a different kind of swag down there, allegedly a different type of speed down there. So we want to see it. In order to beat it, you’ve got to see it.”
The three counties split the games, as five-time state champions Miami Central beat Palm Beach Lakes 28-0, and Boynton Beach beat Deerfield Beach 6-3 on an Abraham Beauplan interception return for touchdown and Deerfield Beach beat Miami Central 10-0. In the last game of the night, Boynton Beach edged Palm Beach Lakes 6-0.
“I think there’s a mutual respect, somewhat, but traditionally speaking, Dade County has been the powerhouse,” Shipman said. “They’ve got the state titles to back it up. We just want to try to step in and get on the same level as those guys and keep trying to compete.”
Palm Beach Lakes is coming off its first playoff appearance since 2009, but the Rams suffered a blowout loss to Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas in the first round. Boynton Beach lost in the first round to powerhouse Miami Northwestern. Shipman deliberately scheduled tough teams in the jamboree to try to prepare for a tough season.
“We just want to get an opportunity to play against as many teams as humanly possible,” Shipman said. “We know what we’ve got to face if we make it to the playoffs. This is the same type of caliber team, so this is in preparation for the season.”
Another one of the benefits of hosting four teams — including powerhouses like the Bucks and Rockets — is that dozens of college coaches and scouts attended the jamboree, including coaches from Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Miami, Mississippi State, Oregon and South Carolina.
Some of the top prospects in Friday’s jamboree were Boynton Beach’s Beauplan (offers from Indiana, Pittsburgh, Middle Tennessee State), Miami Central 2018 running back James Cook (a Florida State Seminoles commit) Palm Beach Lakes athlete Gurvan Hall (a Miami Hurricanes commit) and Deerfield Beach 2020 wide receiver Deajuan McDougle (offers from Florida, Georgia, LSU and more).
“First and foremost, we should attract more scouts,” Shipman said. “Last year, we had about 63 scouts. We’re trying to get 75 to 100 scouts here this year. So that’s … the main benefit.”