There was a sense that when Daryl Heidelburg finally had the chance to return to his alma mater, the veteran football coach would find a way to take the tremendous athletes that the Norland High region has long been able to produce and bring the Vikings back to the top.
After making the playoffs a year ago, with a mix of younger and veteran players, Heidelburg made sure that Norland took no time off from the building process. As soon as the Vikings were ousted by
in the opening round of the playoffs, the work began.
With juniors RB-DB
Randy "Duke" Johnson
and Miami Southridge transfer LB
, the Vikings had one of the best junior classes around. Johnson and Brown committed early to the
, and Powell and Snell are being looked at by several schools.
With Johnson, Snell and senior quarterback
(9 of 18 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns) running the show on offense, and the defense holding North Miami to just 121 yards, the Vikings won for the fifth straight time to begin the 2010 season 28-3.
While much of the attention is being paid to south region 3A programs Belen Jesuit, Booker T. Washington, Jackson, Fort Pierce Westwood and Lake Wales, Norland has certainly jumped into the title mix with impressive football players, quality coaches and a head coach who knows the players and community better than anyone.
"This is not a surprise to me," Heidelburg said. "It isn't a secret that this area, around our school, is home to some of the elite players in South Florida. All we had to do is get the kids who belonged here to start coming back and staying."
Norland has long been in the center of the talent universe. No less than five outstanding youth programs feeding athletes into the Miami Gardens school.
The Vikings will certainly continue to showcase their top younger athletes all season. The meeting with Belen Jesuit will be toward the end of the year and will be one that the Vikings can pay the Wolverines back for.