In 2018, the South Dade Immortals put together their best season yet with a 7-3 finish, but now they’re in a position to completely blow the top off of things if they can put together a strong showing over these next few months.
Headed in to 2019 ranked No. 19 in the state of Florida, the Immortals have the chance to completely rewrite their young history on Jan. 20 as they take on the New Britain Brawlers in the National Football Events Orange Blossom Bowl.
“It’s huge,” Immortals owner Nikkolas Bocanegra told Developmental Football USA. “A chance to play on one of the bigger recognized stages is an honor. Not only do we showcase our talent, but we showcase our program. A win would be icing on the cake. I think a win is necessary to be able to take our program serious and it’s the right way to start off our 2019 campaign.”
Following that game, the Immortals will then kick off their fourth season against their main rival in the No. 4 Miami Chiefs in what will be a rematch of the 2018 Florida Champion Football League Championship Game.
“The Chiefs have become our bitter rivals and are also the biggest challenge for us to make it to the championship,” Bocanegra said. “With the FCFL expanding, bringing in some big-time teams to the North Division like the Orlando Phantoms and West Coast Soldiers, just getting past the Chiefs in the South isn’t enough.”
The Immortals will lean on head coach WIllie Cooper to weave together all of the talent on their roster into a polished product that is able to take the up-and-coming team from South Dade to the next level of gridiron glory.
“I have great confidence in him and the staff that they will put this team in the best position to succeed and the outcome of our season will be another success,” Bocanegra said.
Offensively, look for quarterback Jarvon Anderson to light the fire for the Immortals.
“He is a freakish athlete,” Bocanegra said. “He never goes down on first contact and he extends plays. He’s exciting to watch. As long as he has the ball in his hands, our offense is destined to score.”
Fans can also expect another big year from running back Kentron Williams and utility man Tarviant “Tookie” Williams.
“Kentron led the team in rushing as a first-year back at 19 years of age and runs like a grown man,” Bocanegra said. “He fears no one in between the tackles and has deceptive breakaway speed.
“Tookie is a dual-threat with explosive speed. He plays some running back and is also a deep threat, big-play receiver.”
Highlighting the Immortals defense is 2018 sack leader, captain Keith “June” Grier, tackles leader and captain Peterson Jean-Louis and interceptions leader, cornerback Alfred “Twin” Richardson. Richardson is a lock-down corner and Jean-Louis can play just about anywhere on defense.
South Dade should be stout on both sides of the ball in 2019 and should find themselves in the thick of things in the FCFL race. Like every team, the Immortals want to win a championship, but like most teams, that isn’t the main reason they do this.
“The vision for this program has always been to use this platform as a second chance opportunity for these young men,” Bocanegra said. “Every player has a story on how they ended up with us, some bad and others unfortunate, but it’s not our job to feel sorry for them. Instead, we prove to them they have value and they have someone who believes in them. This really is all about creating a new purpose for these young men, using this game of football to make something better happen for themselves and their families.”
With the chance to make serious strides in the next six weeks and move the Immortals brand forward by leaps and bounds, Bocanegra can’t help but reminisce on how far this team has come.
“From a program standpoint, to say we started off with 19 players and barely finished our first season, to being a few plays away from being called champions shows the confidence this program is building,” Bocanegra said. “We went from playing at a recreational park with no lights, to playing in a 1,500 capacity stadium and having over 300 in attendance each game.”
The Immortals play their home games at Harris Field.
“The Immortal name is becoming familiar in our community and we are competing with some of the former greats like the South Dade Buccaneers, the Homestead Broncos and the South Ridge Spartans,” Bocanegra said. “There is a lot of pride down here in the south. We are in a unique position to create something that has never been done with is an elite minor league football program.”