Posted: 6:49 am Friday, May 7th, 2010

Boynton Beach coach accuses American Heritage of recruiting after QB transfers 

By Jason Lieser

For the second time in less than a year, Boynton Beach coach Rick Swain has lost a starting quarterback to American Heritage and he is irate.

Marcus Davis, who started as a freshman last season, has transferred to American Heritage and Swain believes the move is a result of recruiting. Stallions coach and athletic director Doug Socha denied any wrongdoing.

“There’s no question,” Swain said. “They’ll say whatever they want to say, but I know they were recruiting him.

“I talked with Socha and they said they didn’t recruit him, and I don’t believe him.”

Swain’s top receiver from 2009, Edwin Thomas, also transferred to American Heritage recently. Socha said American Heritage did not recruit either player.

“Rick and I have spoken and I’m sure that’s what the perception is, but our kids are friends with a lot of people,” Socha said. “I think Marcus Davis is cousins with Darius Millines. Edwin Thomas is friends with Isaiah Howard. I think they look at our school as an opportunity for, No. 1, strong academics and a smaller class setting. They evaluated those type of things.

“It bothers me because it’s a perception in the community that we’re out recruiting these kids. This is a very strong academic school and we’ve got an opportunity for kids of all academic ranges to participate. Does it upset me? Sure, it upsets me because I know it’s not true. Kids leave places for a lot of different reasons.”

Socha said potential transfers also are attracted to American Heritage’s winning (two state titles in the past three seasons), facilities and the history of Stallions players signing college scholarships.

Both coaches confirmed that Boynton Beach safety Darion Richardson, a sophomore-to-be, also tried to transfer to American Heritage but was not admitted. He is at Atlantic now.

Swain said he already has contacted the Florida High School Athletic Association to share his thoughts on Davis’ transfer.

Davis threw for 1,333 yards last season and had nine touchdown passes against 12 interceptions. The Tigers went 4-7 last year and lost in the first round of the playoffs.

Swain expected Davis to be a four-year starter at quarterback.

“I think when a kid comes to a public school, makes a name for himself, and then that private school reads the newspaper and decides they want to pluck that kid — then I think it’s wrong,” Swain said. “If I’m going to train a kid and teach him how to play a position and go with him and then somebody else comes in and steals him, that’s wrong. It’s just wrong. It’s common sense.”

Last August, Boynton Beach senior Isaiah Howard skipped the Tigers’ first day of practice and left for American Heritage. He played wide receiver and cornerback for the Stallions, helped win a state title and earned a scholarship from Georgia State.

There have been rumors lately that the FHSAA is investigating American Heritage for potential recruiting violations, but Socha said they are false.

“Absolutely not. No,” he said when asked if the school is under investigation.

An FHSAA spokesperson said the organization inquired about a quarterback camp Socha runs but did not label it an investigation. Socha works with the D1 Quarterback Academy and he has spoken with the FHSAA to determine which time periods he is allowed to work the camps.

Howard attended one of those camps prior to transferring to American Heritage last year. Socha said he was not running that camp, but did participate in it.

Socha’s website now has the following statement posted no the homepage:

“We would like to thank all the athletes and parents who have been training as part of the D1 Quarterback family for so long. To assure our staff and athletes remain in compliance with FHSAA regulations we will resume operations once school is out of session in June. We will have numerous training sessions and camps that will commence in June and run throughout the summer. Please subscribe to the site and come back often to get the latest updates on the schedule. See you when school gets out.”

Socha is in his first year as athletic director and head coach after replacing Willie Bueno. Bueno resigned in January.