Javi Valdes can now be considered a veteran head football coach in south Florida.
For much of the past decade, he has been a quiet, but successful coach and teacher at several schools – in southern Miami-Dade County.
What Valdes has learned on the football field can be chalked up to many people and several different coaching environments he has been around. What he has learned along the way is to make sure that he surrounded himself with top assistant coaches and student/athletes.
While he hasn’t turned this program around overnight, keep in mind that playing state champion-caliber talent like Chaminade-Madonna in the second round two years in a row, will make the job tougher.
Beyond the losses to Chaminade-Madonna, 2A state champion Champagnat Catholic, Dade Christian, Monsignor Pace and Key West, there was plenty being learned – and while the roster doesn’t overflow with a large number of players, it does include student/athletes who have bought into what the Stallions are doing year-round to get better.
CLASS OF 2022 WILL BE STACKED AGAIN
Like last year, when there were a few seniors who added to this program, the 2021 season will also see some experienced and talented football players in the Class of 2022 (rising seniors).
Athletes such as Jose Burgos (Athlete, 5-10, 175), Jaiden Castella (OL, 6-1, 298), Jayke Cooper (RB, 5-8, 180 – 3.0 GPA), Reggie Everette (Slot/CB, 5-8, 160 – 2.8 GPA), Jose Garcia (DL, 6-3, 230), Roberto Hernandez (Slot, 5-8, 160 – 3.5 GPA) and gifted linebacker/safety Maurice Smith (6-0, 170).
The focus is not the losses, but those wins – against Florida Christian (14-13), Miami Belen Jesuit (46-20), Everglades Prep (42-0) and Palm Glades Prep (47-6). That is something has given the younger players more confidence – like this group that the Stallions have in 2023.
Standouts such as Frank Abreu (DL, 6-1, 222), Brian Ramos (Athlete, 5-8, 170 – 2.8 GPA), Justin Reyes (RB, 5-8, 165) and Marcus Woodley (Athlete, 6-2, 198) are all going to be very important this coming season.
Class of 2024 kicker Claitin Manoset is rated No. 9 in the country - and he will be a true weapon for this program for years to come.
While there are many questions about the 2021 team, spring will certainly reveal some answers – as this program continues to make strides.