High-SchoolFootball: Nico Sheppard
October, 7, 2011
By Kynon Codrington and Mark Tennis | ESPN.com
Miramar (Fla.) stunned POWERADE FAB 50 No. 2 St. Thomas, 27-20, in an overtime classic. The Patriots "Dark Side" defense stopped the Raiders on fourth down in the extra frame to preserve the win. Senior DB Tracy Howard, No. 18 in the ESPNU 150, recorded an interception and blocked what would have been the game winning field goal at the end of regulation.
St. Thomas junior DL Joey Bosa missed the game with an undisclosed injury and DE Jelani Hamilton, a Miami recruit, left the game in the first half with a leg injury. QB Max Lescano ran for a 56-yard touchdown and tossed a scoring strike to TE Nico Sheppard in the loss.
The defending national champions had not lost to a Broward County team since 2007 when Deerfield Beach led by Michigan QB and Heisman hopeful Denard Robinson downed St. Thomas, 18-15. The Raiders survived a tough September stretch with wins over previously FAB-ranked Prattville (Prattville, Ala.), Cypress Bay (Weston, Fla.), a 2010 Class 6A state semi-finalist, and No. 24 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.). However, the loss was tough to swallow for the Ft. Lauderdale program that saw it's chances of repeating as mythical national champions fade in the October night.
Winning coach Damon Cogdell said, "We know what our kids are all about. We came out here to represent Broward County and Miramar High School. This win feels great."
What it means for next week's FAB 50: Since Miramar improved its record to 5-0 and now has a win over St. Thomas Aquinas, look for the Patriots to shoot up toward the top 20. They entered Thursday's game as a bubble team in the Southeast Region and were No. 2 in the Class 8A state rankings behind Plant (Tampa, Fla.), which also won Thursday to get to 5-0 and has a win over Bergen Catholic of New Jersey. Miramar and Plant, however, were almost tied in the state poll voting so Miramar’s Thursday night win also should push the Patriots higher in the state. St. Thomas Aquinas will likely fall to a spot in the FAB 50 right behind Miramar, but still obviously in front of No. 23 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) due to a head-to-head win.
More on Miramar: The team began the 2011 season with heavy hearts due to the death of senior offensive lineman Isaiah Laurencin, who went into cardiac arrest during a late July practice. Laurencin was a member of the 2009 team that won the Class 6A state championship with a victory over Miami Northwestern (Miami). Miramar coach Damon Cogdell is a former linebacker at West Virginia, which is one reason why there are four former Patriot players playing key roles this season for the Mountaineers, including starting quarterback Geno Smith and starting receivers Stedman Bailey and Ivan McCartney.