Benjamin offensive lineman Martin Weisz is used to quarterback Jordan Travis playing behind him. But sometimes the dual-threat quarterback sprints out ahead, like one play the Virginia-bound lineman remembered from last year.
“I think it was a high snap and he had to catch the ball. So he ran … to the right of the field, then ran to the left of the field, then ran back to the right of the field and then got a 40-yard rushing touchdown,” Weisz said. “Me and all the other linemen were looking at each other, like, ‘Who are we blocking?’
“I think that play truly defines what kind of truly special player Jordan is.”
Travis made a habit out of spectacular plays, blossoming into Palm Beach County’s top quarterback. He is the 2017 Palm Beach Post Small Schools Offensive Player of the Year after accounting for 40 touchdowns — 24 passing and 16 rushing — and 3,095 yards (2,190 passing and 905 rushing) as a senior and leading the Buccaneers back to the FHSAA playoffs for the first time since 2007. The senior was named Palm Beach County’s Player of the Year at the Groza Award banquet in December.
“My team and coaches, for sure, just pushing me every day at practice, making me the best quarterback and player I can be,” said Travis when asked how he played so well. “And I was just trying to be the best leader I can be for everyone else.”
Travis transferred to Benjamin from Palm Beach Central before his junior year. Eric Kresser, a former college and professional quarterback, was the offensive coordinator — he was recently promoted to head coach after Ron Ream retired — and he took Travis under his wing.
“He’s grown a lot,” Kresser said. “I’ve given him a lot of responsibilities in the offense, and he’s taken everything I’ve given him and excelled at it.”
Under Kresser’s tutelage, Travis accounted for 5,496 passing and rushing yards as well as 72 touchdowns in two seasons with the Buccaneers.
This past year, Travis helped lead Benjamin further into the playoffs than they had gone since 2005.
“It meant a lot to get Coach Ream out on a good note. He’s a great coach, and we wanted it to end great for him,” Travis said.
Travis capped his high-school career in December, following in the footsteps of another great Palm Beach County quarterback, Lamar Jackson, by signing with Louisville.
“It feels great,” Travis said. “It’s a blessing from the man upstairs. I want to thank everyone for pushing me to be the best player and man I can be, and I’m very thankful.”
Gio Richardson, Oxbridge Academy, Jr., QB: Richardson helped carry the ThunderWolves to the Class 3A state championship, passing for 1,593 yards and 24 touchdowns while rushing for 495 yards and another nine scores. In the title game, he accounted for all four of Oxbridge’s touchdowns.
Jatarie Washington, Pahokee, Jr., RB: Washington broke out as a junior, amassing 1,505 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, none of which were more important than his game-winner against Glades Central in the Muck Bowl.
James Meeks, Oxbridge Academy, Jr., RB: Meeks, while splitting carries with second-team running back Luis Gonzalez and Richardson, led the ThunderWolves with 689 rushing yards while scoring seven times. He also had three receiving touchdowns.
Jymetre Hester, Glades Central, Jr., WR: Playing for his father, Jessie, at Glades Central, Hester became a premier scoring threat. Hester grabbed 11 touchdowns on 45 receptions, accruing 797 yards.
Micangelo Joseph, American Heritage, Sr., WR: Joseph was the Stallions’ leading receiver, catching 65 passes for 771 yards and seven touchdowns.
Jorge Acosta, Glades Day, Sr., TE: Acosta, who holds multiple Division-I offers, had 27 catches for 394 yards and four scores while grading out above 90 percent on blocking.
Willie Canty, Glades Central, Sr., OL: Measuring in at 6-foot-6 and nearly 300 pounds, Canty was an imposing presence on the Raiders line. Canty is rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.
Matt Cedeno, American Heritage, Sr., OL: The senior anchor of the Stallions offensive line plays on both sides of the ball. He signed with Holy Cross.
Will Lanthier, Cardinal Newman, Sr., OL: Lanthier helped lead the Crusaders to school records in the run game.
Martin Weisz, Benjamin, Sr., OL: Weisz, a Virginia Cavaliers signee, stands in at 6-foot-6 and 305 pounds. He is rated a three-star prospect and the No. 106 offensive tackle in the nation by 247Sports.
Kaiir Elam, Benjamin, Jr., ATH: A star wherever he lines up, Elam had 361 receiving yards and four touchdowns on offense, two interceptions and 225 yards on kick and punt returns.
Harrison Newhouse, St. Andrew’s, Sr., K/P: Newhouse was perfect on extra points, and he was 4-for-6 on field goals, hitting from as far as 37 yards out.
QB: Wyatt Ruth, St. Andrew’s, Sr.
RB: Luis Gonzalez, Oxbridge Academy, Sr.
RB: Dallis Small, American Heritage, Jr.
WR: John Dunmore, American Heritage, Jr.
WR: De’John King, Oxbridge Academy, Sr.
TE: Zatavian Morgan, Pahokee, Sr.
OL: Josh Greene, Benjamin, Jr.
OL: Romello Tarver, Oxbridge Academy, Sr.
OL: J.J. Hernandez, Glades Day, Sr.
OL: Jordan Kennedy, Cardinal Newman, Sr.
ATH: Jeremiah Scroggins, King’s Academy, Jr.
K/P: Lowell Carr, Benjamin, Jr.
QB: Ryan Rizk, American Heritage; Alex Mineo, Glades Day; Davius Richards, Glades Central; Justin Wake, King’s Academy; RB: Addison Matevia, Benjamin; Lorenzo Powe, Glades Day; Shane Sawyer, Jupiter Christian; Dillon Larson, King’s Academy; LaVonski Williams, Pahokee; WR: Conner Hindsley, American Heritage; Kai Rosado, Benjamin; DeJuan Miller, Kamare Stephens, Glades Central; Matt Narbone, Jupiter Christian; Ryan Kingman, King’s Academy; Jordan Cash, Oxbridge Academy; Michael Carbone, Jason Otis, St. Andrew’s; TE: Will Nicklaus, Benjamin; Frankivious Rolle, Glades Central; OL: Michael Salat, American Heritage; Conor Greene, Benjamin; Kyle Cool, King’s Academy; Latiel Allen, Malcolm Patterson, Glades Central; Shawn Collins, Glades Day; Eddie Lanham, Mickey Murdock, Devyn Pence, Daquan Thomas, Oxbridge Academy; ATH: Jayson Moschella, Cardinal Newman; Deante Nelson, Pahokee; K/P: Kevin Hernandez, Pahokee.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Brendan Kent, Oxbridge Academy. In his second year at the helm at Oxbridge, Kent led the ThunderWolves to their first-ever appearance in an FHSAA state-championship game. There, Oxbridge came just a field goal away from bringing a championship trophy back to West Palm Beach.