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How is anyone going to throw the football against the visiting Patriots?
If anyone can, it would be the Crusaders with DeSue and Chatman -- or American Heritage's second opponent, Henderson Liberty (NV), with Kenyon Oblad and Marquez Powell. But it's just genuinely hard to fathom.
We've mentioned Patriots senior Patrick Surtain Jr. ad nauseam. In case you've somehow missed it, the son of a former NFL All-Pro is not only the top-ranked cornerback in the country but also on track to become the highest-rated cornerback prospect of all time. A quick look at his film explains it all. Surtain is the complete package -- a cover corner who is both fast and physical with a skill set that is both versatile and refined.
At the opposite corner, Tyson Campbell is considered by many to be the No. 2 cornerback in the nation, behind Surtain. In fact, the two are ranked No. 6 and No. 8 overall in the ESPN 300 in the class of 2018, separated by just one point. Campbell is virtually everything that Surtain is at the position and, at 6-foot-3, bears a striking resemblance to NFL star Richard Sherman on tape.
See for yourself:
Perhaps never before has one high school secondary paired cornerbacks as talented as Campbell and Surtain, but when it comes to defending the pass, this duo is just the tip of the iceberg.
An offense can beat even the very best coverage corners if it's able to consistently create some time in the pocket. But that's the even bigger problem with American Heritage: The pass rush is as good or better than the pass defense.
Patriots defensive tackle Nesta Silvera is a man among boys on most nights. The 300-pound senior wears No. 99, and he rushes the passer like Warren Sapp -- and, go figure, he's committed to Miami. In 2016, Silvera racked up 6 1/2 sacks from the interior and forced ill-advised throws on countless occasions.
Outside linebacker Calvin Hart is a superior athlete who can run and move in space. The senior is athletic enough to cover a slot receiver in man coverage, but his feel for underneath zone coverage is elite. What's more, Hart presents a unique challenge as an edge rusher who is both bigger and faster than anyone tasked with picking him up.
All of that being said, there is one player who transforms the Patriots' defense from really, really good to completely unfair -- defensive end Andrew Chatfield.
A dozen-or-so defensive ends are receiving higher prospect ratings than the senior Chatfield right now -- most of them likely getting the nod over Chatfield if only because he's just 6-foot-2, 221 pounds. Draw your own conclusions about the importance of a couple of inches. On a high school football field, there may be no more dominant pass rusher than Chatfield.
In 2016, Chatfield sacked the quarterback 21 times. Twenty-one. He is so fast and so nasty that he's all but unblockable, even for an above-average prep tackle. A week ago, in a scrimmage against Miami Booker T. Washington -- ranked No. 11 in a USA Today Top 25 that ignores American Heritage -- Chatfield intercepted two passes, the second of which he ran back for a touchdown.
The Patriots picked off Tornadoes quarterback Daniel Richardson -- a three-star prospect in his own right -- five times in the first half, running out to a 35-7 lead in the process. That's a scary result for a schedule full of eventual American Heritage opponents who are not Booker T. Washington and whose quarterbacks are not Richardson.
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