New league boosts morale, coaches say

Friday, October 18, 2019 0 Comments

New league boosts morale, coaches say
Tired of being squashed by nationally ranked high school football teams, Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High and Barbara Goleman Senior High formed an independent league for 12 schools to give their programs a fair chance to compete.
And what a difference the Greater Miami Athletic Conference’s (GMAC) independent league has made.
The Goleman Gators are off to their best start in school history at 6-0, and the Trojans are 3-1, including 3-0 in independent league play.
“The [new] league makes it fair for all of us,” said Trojans’ head coach Tryonn Johnson, who’s in his fourth season at HML.
“I love it every week when we play,” he said. “We have a chance -- not to win a big-time state championship, but -- to compete in a fair league.”
Teams in the independent league are thrilled with their chances of winning a championship following years of a playoff drought.
Though any independent league championship may not be as glamorous as the traditional Florida High School Athletic Association state title, that’s okay for these schools.
Johnson said Goleman head coach Ariel Cribeiro approached him last season about creating the league.
“It was a no brainer for me,” said Johnson, who was a standout defensive end for Miami Northwestern Senior High School in Miami and went back to coach the Bulls, Miami Killian and Miami Edison.

“I was immediately sold on the idea,” Johnson said.
The new league has six teams from northwest Miami-Dade County and six squads from southwest Miami-Dade, according to Goleman Athletic Director Jay Flinchum.
Goleman, Hialeah-Miami Lakes, Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High; Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High; Hialeah Gardens Senior High and Westland Hialeah Senior High represent the north.
G. Holmes Braddock
Senior High; Miami Coral Park Senior High; Miami Sunset Senior High;
Ronald W. Reagan Doral
Senior High; Felix Varela Senior High and John A. Ferguson Senior High are the southern teams.
Flinchum said each team plays 10 games, and nine are against independent league opponents.
The postseason begins Nov. 2 and all 12 teams will compete in the playoffs.
The championship game is scheduled for Nov. 9, Flinchum said.
Johnson said the league is like a breath of fresh air compared to his previous experiences against tougher competition.
Trojans teams were talented but overshadowed by powerhouses such as Northwestern; Miami Central Senior High; Miami Carol City Senior High; Christopher Columbus High and Booker T. Washington Senior High, Johnson said.
Four of those schools won state championships over the past eight years; Central won four years in a row.
Johnson said before the new league was formed, his players were not motivated and lacked confidence.
Some gave up early in the games against the top-ranked teams.
“I witnessed it myself when we played Northwestern and Carol City,” Johnson said. “These kids on my teams didn’t feel like they had a chance.”
Coaches are seeing a new kind of confidence in their players, especially with the Trojans.
HML pulled off a come-from-behind victory against
Braddock, winning 38-31 in a road game on Oct. 3.
Trojans’ fans in the stands were ecstatic, Johnson said.
“I haven’t seen that much happiness in a long time,” he said.
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