By Gary Curreri
Pompano Beach High School kicked off the season with a 7-6 victory over McArthur in the Girls Flag Football Jamboree at Baptist Health Training Facility in the Miami Dolphins training facility at Nova Southeastern University.
Senior wide receiver and cornerback Kayla Bryant returned a punt 55 yards for the game-winning score in the jamboree.
“Kayla is a two-way star,” said Tornadoes coach Johnathan Firth. “She ran back the game-winning punt in the Dolphins Jamboree and had three catches for over 100 yards and a touchdown in another game and had an interception.
“Outside of football,” Firth continued, “she is even more special as one of the top ranking students in the JROTC program and committed to joining the military right after graduation.”
Coming off consecutive 1-8 campaigns the past two seasons, Firth said there is room for optimism.
“I think the one thing that describes this team is tenacity,” he said. “Flag football is new to many of these girls entering high school and mistakes are going to happen as they learn, but the one thing we preach and that can’t be taught is to give 110 percent and be aggressive on every play.
He said there are two underclassmen – sophomore Ayanna Williams and freshman Brianna Caffro – that have stood out for them and should help the team this season.
“Ayanna is playing flag football for the first time at the high school level,” Firth said. “She has already established herself as solid lockdown defender in coverage and a solid receiving target for our QB.
“Brianna is our starting varsity QB after playing in city leagues around Pompano and playing middle school flag at Crystal Lake,” Firth said. “Once she catches up to the speed at this level we could become very dangerous.”
Other returning varsity players include Melanie Chacon, Stephanie Chiquiza, Ty’anna Stevenson, Taylor Curry, Jada Howden, Paris Colbert, and Renee Innocent.
“While we are still a very young team, we have a lot of experience within that youth and have improved each year,” Firth said. “You always want to measure yourself against the best and see just how much your players have grown.
Miami Dolphins Youth Programs, in partnership with the Broward County Athletic Association (BCAA) and the Greater Miami Athletic Conference (GMAC), recently hosted the event, which featured 25 high school girls flag football teams from the South Florida area. The jamboree followed an earlier clinic on that educated the high school ladies on football skills. The event also received cooperation from nearby Broward College.
“This event continues to grow throughout the years,” said Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Youth Programs Twan Russell, “and we’re proud to teach these young ladies the proper skills they need both on and off the field to advance the game and their journeys.”
The goal of the event is to promote high school football. The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs’ mission is to emphasize the importance of education, physical fitness and positive choices for kids in a safe and fun environment. The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs’ vision is to prepare the next generation of leaders in staying physically active through our Junior Training Camps (JTC), Youth Football Clinics and Youth Football Camps in the South Florida Community.
Deerfield Beach also played in the event; however the Bucks came up short falling to Miami Southridge, 9-0.