Bucks roll to 30-0 district win

Posted on 29 September 2016 by LeslieM

sports092916By Gary Curreri

It is hard to believe after a 30-0 victory over a district foe that Deerfield Beach head football coach Jevon Glenn would be unhappy, but he was.

This wasn’t a good showing at all,” said Glenn, whose Bucks evened their record at 2-2 and opened District 11-8A play with a 1-0 record. Host Coral Springs, which entered the game undefeated in three games, fell to 3-1 and 0-1 in the district. “After our showing last week in Georgia and not [having] excitement and enthusiasm and be dominant tonight, it was really disappointing for me.”

The Bucks were coming off a 39-14 defeat against nationally-ranked Grayson (Georgia) last week. Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn said his team needed the win. Starting quarterback Nick Holm suffered a concussion in that game and was cleared to play; however, Glenn held him out as a precaution.

Backup quarterback Alec Brown filled in nicely as he threw three touchdown passes – two to Jerry Jeudy covering 4 and 57 yards and a 5-yarder to Leroy Henley. Broward had 160 yards passing for the evening.

Jakari Norwood, who finished the contest with 103 yards, added a 55-yard TD run and Ledin Rivera added a 34-yard field goal in the win for the Bucks.

We won the game,” Glenn said. “Alec did manage the game. The guys didn’t play well around him and he (Brown) did have to fight through some things. He didn’t get the support that really enabled him to show his skills.”

We are a work in progress and I think we are nowhere as good as we will be at the end of the year,” Glenn continued. “People say it is better to win ugly, than lose pretty, but I am disappointed. It wasn’t a good showing.”

Highlands picks up first win

After opening the season with a 14-0 loss to Jupiter Christian, Highlands Christian Academy recorded a 26-12 win over Scheck Hillel Community School. The team dropped a 43-6 decision to St. John Paul II Academy last week.

Knights first-year head coach Josh Harris, who will lead the Knights on Friday in a game against at Palmer Trinity at 4 p.m., has drawn praise from HCA Athletic Director Jim Good. The team is 1-2 overall, but 1-0 in the IFC (Independent Football Conference).

The IFC consists of Highlands Christian, Hillel, Palmer Trinity, Pine Crest Prep and Palm Glades. The Knights finished 2-6 last year and made the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. However, the goal this year is to be competing for the championship title.

Coach Harris is the right man for the job,” Good said. “I’m so grateful and thankful for him, his testimony for the Lord, and his time and commitment. Josh is a full time teacher at Somerset Canyons up in Boynton Beach and sacrifices a lot of time to be here for practices and games. He brings energy, passion and excitement along with organization, structure and discipline. “

In the win over Scheck Hillel, eighth grader running back Christian Opalaky led the team in rushing and had three touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Justin Corn found fellow sophomore Titus Baags, a tight end, for an 18-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter that sealed the win for the Knights.

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Nilsson brings home JGA’s biggest prize

Posted on 22 September 2016 by LeslieM

sports092216By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach’s Isak Nilsson called playing on some of the top courses in Broward County every Monday “marvelous.”

He was “marvelous” himself as he finished off his junior golf career with the Junior Golf Association (JGA) of Broward County by winning the prestigious Julius Boros Trophy for having the lowest stroke average for boys for the year.

The 18-year-old freshman at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) averaged 74.6 for the summer competition and was recently presented with the trophy, a large silver bowl donated to the Junior Golf Association of Broward by the late golfing great, Julius Boros.

It was really cool because I am really close with the whole Boros family,” said Nilsson, who also won a four-year grant (McKinney Scholarship) from the JGA. He is majoring in biology.

Ever since I started playing in the JGA when I was 12 as a little kid, I always saw the big trophy being awarded to the big kids and that was something I always wanted to get.”

Being paired with friends every week and being able to play on such a great course was also something I will always remember,” Nilsson added. “It was such a close-knit group.”

Nilsson averaged in the 80s last year; however, he honed his game this year and brought home the coveted prize. He started in Boys D and moved to the Championship Flight three years ago. After the final round of the three-day tournament, Julius Boros III approached Nilsson and asked what he shot.

He had it all calculated and said, ‘Oh, you got me by two strokes,’” Nilsson said. “Winning the trophy makes me want to strive for more obviously. It’s a good feeling and it makes me want to keep practicing and keep playing. It makes me want to try and go to the next step.”

He is sitting out this season at FAU, but hopes to play for the golf team next season. Nilsson said his game really took off last year.

It all started with high school last year,” said Nilsson, a 2016 graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School. “I was medalist at regionals and then in the summer in the JGA, I put in a lot of practice and effort … I practiced day and night and I had a really good season and it carried over to this summer.”

What will he remember most?

There are a lot of good players that are good friends, and it is always fun to get paired up in the final group and go head-to-head … it is a good atmosphere,” he said. “The bad thing about it now is I am not a junior (golfer) anymore and can’t play all of these great tournaments for such a low price. Junior golf is a great deal.”

Nilsson said the quality of golf in South Florida is high.

South Florida (golf), even at the amateur level, is pretty difficult because that’s where the top golfers are,” Nilsson said. “I have a lot of friends that play in events in the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) up north because the fields are smaller. They don’t play in Florida because the tournaments are immensely challenging.”

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Bucks top Blanche Ely, 30-3; Holm, Harris named MVPs

Posted on 15 September 2016 by LeslieM

sports091516By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach High senior quarterback Nick Holm turned in a MVP performance to lead the host Bucks to a convincing 30-3 victory over Blanche Ely before an estimated standing-room only crowd of 4,800 on Friday night in the 3rd annual McDougle Bowl.

Holm, who passed for 289 yards and two scores and added another score on the ground, was named MVP for the Bucks and received a $1,000 scholarship from retired NFL players and brothers Stockar and Jerome McDougle.

The brothers, who partnered with the BCAA and other area businesses, also awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Blanche Ely senior James Harris as the Tigers’ MVP.

Stockar McDougle (1996 Deerfield Beach grad) and Jerome McDougle (1997 Blanche Ely grad) are heavily involved in the community and are happy with the growth of the game’s prominence. It is part of the McDougle Family Foundation’s “Firstability” program, which focuses on a balance between academics and athletics.

It’s tough because you really want to see a successful game,” said Jerome, 37, who played with the Philadelphia Eagles (2003-07) and the New York Giants (2008) after finishing with the University of Miami, where he won a national championship in 2001.

I bleed orange and green and I want to see them do good,” he added. “We’ll get there. It’s what we always say with Firstability and the McDougle Family Foundation. We want kids to keep fighting when they are down and getting back up and never giving up. We have to set the example. We are down now, but I believe we will fight back as a school and we will get back and win one…they can’t win them all. It is a little bittersweet.”

Jerome McDougle said it is a great cause.

I mean the stands were packed, even with people on the side. You just want them to come out and enjoy themselves. Then to be able to give two student athletes scholarships that they will be able to use when they go to college. It is an all-around good thing to do combining sports and academics.

Stockar McDougle said the game has huge implications.

What we are doing is bigger than the game and much bigger than the jerseys that these kids wear,” said Stockar, 39, who played with the Detroit Lions (2000-04), Miami Dolphins (2005) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2006-07) after a college career at the University of Oklahoma. “It is all about unifying two communities – the city of Deerfield Beach and the city of Pompano Beach.

A lot of these kids may know each other, they may even be family members and that is what it is all about, letting them know it is bigger than just sports,” he continued. “It is about education. It is about being well-rounded and being a good person and that’s why we are willing to come back and invest in our community.”

Holm said the team needed the win after it dropped its season-opener 22-21 to host Hallandale in overtime. Deerfield Beach (1-1) had a bye week after the loss.

Holm and Jerry Jeudy, an Alabama commit, teamed up for scoring tosses of 34 and 13 yards and Holm scored on a 2-yard quarterback keeper as the Bucks seized a 20-0 halftime lead. Jeudy finished with nine catches for 131 yards, while teammate Leroy Henley caught 6 passes for 101 yards.

The Bucks’ Jaylan Knighton added an 11-yard TD run and Ledin Rivera kicked a 25-yard field goal. Blanche Ely (1-2) averted the shutout on a 27-yard field goal by Charite Wensley with 9:41 remaining in the game.

It was big for us to get the early lead, build some momentum and show Ely who we were,” said Holm, who finished 14 for 23 with one interception.

We needed this win,” said Holm, who went 14 for 23 with one interception. “It’s a big rivalry. There was a little talk back and forth during the week on who was going to win. We had a pep rally today and it was good to come out with the win. This was our first win of the season.”

Deerfield Beach is 9-3 in the all-time series dating back to 2004, having won the last five contests after dropping three straight from 2009-2011. The Bucks were the 10th ranked Class 8A team in the state, according to Associated Press.

Blanche Ely coach Carl Wilburn took over at Blanche Ely after the Tigers finished 2-9 last season — including a first-round exit in the playoffs to Dwyer. The team split its first two games this season winning against Plantation last week after dropping its opener on the road to North Marion.

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Riding the waves: Tom Leeman talks about kiteboarding

Posted on 09 September 2016 by LeslieM

kiteboard090816By Rachel Galvin

If the wind is blowing, Tom Leeman is kiteboarding. He began back in 2002 when he saw a friend, who is a professional kiteboarder, braving the surf. He learned by trial and error, but he suggests learning from an expert.

Anyone who wants to learn how to kiteboard should take a lesson from a qualified instructor who is licensed and insured. That’s the safest way to get started. Kiteboarding is an extreme sport and there is a lot of inherent risk. The ocean can be very unforgiving. Sometimes, the waves are 20 ft. in the currents running 5 to 8 knots. It’s a dangerous place for the inexperienced,” said Leeman, adding, “It’s not too expensive [to get set up]. You’ll probably end up spending about $1500. You need a harness, a board and a couple kites and a bar. Most people start out with a 12 m kite.”

He added, “I was kitesurfing with my friend Jay in Hurricane Dennis and my kite went down into a huge wave that dragged me under. The winds were about 40 kn and it was a pretty hairy situation. When I got back, my friend Jay had broken both bones in his right leg. We had to rush him to the hospital so it was a pretty crazy day.”

Despite the dangers, Leeman likes nothing more than being out in the elements in the blue sea off South Florida shores. Depending on the wind, he may surf all the way up to Boynton.

Kitesurfing is an addictive sport if you’re an adrenaline junkie you’re going to love it, but if you’re afraid of the ocean and you’re afraid of sharks, and you’re afraid of big waves, you’re not going to like it. Kitesurfing immerses you in nature. You use the energy of the wind to propel you over the ocean. It’s like nothing else on earth. It is experiential. You have to experience it to understand it.”

When not kiteboarding, Leeman is teaching it at Delray Beach Kiteboarding. To get a lesson, give them a call at 561-703-5367 or find them on Facebook. They have teachers who are licensed and insured.

You’ll learn the proper way to kitesurf and all of the safety systems, including how to rescue yourself in case of emergencies,” he said.

When on land, Leeman also teaches JKA Karate, works on producing movies occasionally and works for BirthdayComp, which provides free birthday discounts and gifts from local businesses on people’s birthdays (www.birthdaycomp.com).

The local to Deerfield Island Water Sports might not have the gear needed for kiteboarding, but they have plenty of surfboards to get your feet wet out in the ocean. They are located at 1985 NE 2 St. in Deerfield Beach.

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Football season starts tonight!

Posted on 08 September 2016 by LeslieM

Find your fellow fans at these locations

Denver Broncos vs. the Carolina Panthers, baby! Tonight at 8:30 p.m. football season officially opens at Sports Authority Field in Denver, CO. This year’s Super Bowl winning Broncos – complete with Super Bowl MVP Von Miller back on board – will come up against the Panthers, who seek redemption after falling short in last season’s superbowl. Sports bars in every corner of the country have stocked up on wings and beer, and many have had shiny new HDTV screens installed for the season opener.

We all know that most residents of Florida came from somewhere else, so while we may support the Miami Dolphins, many of us also have a first football love that still rules our hometown hearts. Here’s a rundown of where in and around our neighborhoods that you can find your fellow fans, and what specials to expect at that location:

The Cabin Sports Bar — 154 N. Federal Hwy., Deerfield – Patriots fans hang-out! This Sunday there is a pre-Patriot party from 5 to 7 p.m. with “give-a-ways.” In addition, all fans of any team are welcome here. Bucket Specials every Sunday throughout football season. 954-428-6438.

Bonefish Mac’s — 2002 Sample Rd., Pompano – Steelers fans are rumored to gather at Bonefish, so it should be jam-packed with excited fans every Steeler night! 954-781-6227.

Two Georges — 1754 SE 3 Ct., Deerfield Beach – Supports all teams with a football special menu and $2.50 selected beers in the bar area. Only Two Georges offers a 10’ X 8’ projection TV screen that extends out over the water for the big game. Plus 20 regular TVs, to keep everyone happy. All fans are welcome. 954-421-9272.

City Pub — 956 S. Federal Hwy., Deerfield – The City Pub boasts approx. 200 Buffalo Bill fans. See the Baltimore Raven vs. the Buffalo Bills this Sunday at 1p.m. Enjoy their signature Buffalo Roast Beef Sandwich or the Buffalo Hot Dog for eats while watching the game. Buffalo Bills fans have found a home at City Pub, but everyone is always welcome. 954-427-8213

Bru’s Room Deerfield —120 NE 20 Ave., Deerfield – Former Dolphin Bob Brudzinski is the owner and has made Bru’s Room into a special home for all Dolphins fans. You know they’ll have plenty of specials on food and drinks throughout football season. With enough TVs to show every game at the same time, you can stop by early in the week and check the labels on each TV to find out which one will show your game this weekend. 954-420-5959. Their Coral Springs location (1000 N. University Dr.) caters to Cleveland Browns fans — 954-656-8041.

Hott Leggz — 3128 N. Federal Hwy., Lighthouse Point – Chicago Bears (and Cubs) fans make their Florida home at Hott Leggz, where they can get traditional Chicago Beef sandwich of roast beef on Italian bread smothered in giardiniera (sautéed Italian peppers). There’s also a TV on every table. 754-307-2444.

Legends Tavern & Grill — 1391 S. Military Tr., Deerfield Beach – They’re offering specials on game weekends including $13 Bud Lite buckets and $2.50 pints on selected beers, as well as All Day Happy Hour on Sundays. Fans from all teams come here. 754-212-2655.

Packy’s Sports Pub — 4480 N. Federal Hwy., Lighthouse Point – Packy’s is another great gathering spot for Buffalo Bills fans. With 26 HDTV’s scattered around the bar, Packy’s is taking reservations for the Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphin game on Oct. 23. Beer will be provided on the bus and some tailgating food too. 954-657-8423

Football Season starts this week. This is just a sampling of some local football hangouts. Send your game-day fun pictures to observereditor@comcast.net.

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Pompano junior lifeguards enjoy successful summer

Posted on 01 September 2016 by LeslieM

sports090116By Gary Curreri

When it comes to the Pompano Beach Junior Lifeguards, summer and surf equals success.

Team Pompano turned in stellar performances this year at the three Junior Lifeguard competitions – Regional meet in Hollywood, State meet in Fort Lauderdale and then the 2016 USLA National Junior Lifeguard Competition at Hermosa Beach, California.

Summer Schulte, 13, an eighth-grader at Pompano Beach Middle School, turned in a career-best performance at the recent National Junior Lifeguard competition. Schulte won four events in the B Group Division (12 and 13-year-olds) and placed second in her other event to pace Pompano.

Schulte won the Surf Swim (Distance Swim), Paddleboard, Rescue Relay and Ironguard and was just edged out at the line in placing second in the Run-Swim-Run. She said winning her first event – the surf swim – gave her a lot of confidence for the rest of the competition because she had never won that event before.

It felt really cool,” said Schulte, who was doing exhibition races with the junior lifeguards at age 8. Competitors need to be 9 to officially compete. “I didn’t think I was going to win that many (events at Nationals)…I learned a lot at this year’s camp and practiced in the California waters before the race so when I got to the actual race I knew which spots would work better. There were a lot of holes and the other girls were falling because they didn’t know where to go.”

The competition in California was difficult with approximately 4,500 Junior Lifeguards in Los Angeles County alone. Competitors from this county had to compete in a “prelims” event so that only the top competitors were able to compete at Nationals.

Notwithstanding, Team Pompano prevailed as National Champions in five events and Team Pompano won 25 medals at nationals (the top five finishers in each event earn medals). Team Pompano was the most medaled Florida team.

In the Girls B Division, Bella Taylor took first in the Rescue Relay; second in Ironguard, third in Run-Swim-Run and fifth in both the paddleboard and Surf Swim (Distance Swim). In the Boys C, Jake Schulte won the Ironguard was second in the Run-Swim-Run and was third in the Surf Swim (Distance Swim). Juliana Freire was fifth in the Distance Run and Alejandro Quinones took fifth in Surf Ski.

The “A” Division Swim Relay (Ronald Hache, Shane Schulte, Mia Marquez, Alex Marquez and Aaron Blanco) placed fourth, while the U-19 Swim Relay (Taylor Barton, Kelly Schulte, Alejandro Quinones, Ala Zielinski and Victoria Zielinski) was third.

We were up against the best of the best on their home turf and we did really well,” said Nemia Schulte, president of the Pompano Beach Junior Lifeguard Association. She has been president for the past four years of the group and has five children in the program, including Julia Schulte, 20, who represented the United States in Australia (2012) and in France (2014).

Team Pompano, with 208 total junior lifeguards in the program, won the state competition by more than 100 points over runner-up Fort Lauderdale.

At the state competition, winners included Grace Parnas (paddleboard, beach flags and surf-swim) in the C Division; Jake Schulte in the C boys division with wins in the distance swim, paddleboard, run-swim-run; Bella Taylor (distance swim, paddleboard, run-swim-run) in the Girls B Division; Victoria Scarpinito won beach flags for Girls A group and third in ironguard girls; the Under-19 ironguard swim relay also won. The team was composed of Mattheus Santos, Kelly Schulte, Tyler Zuyus and Victoria Scarpinito.

Another strong performance at state came from the C Division Ironguard: Yvonne Lane, Jake Schulte, Reese Andres, and Grace Parnas, who finished third. Two brothers also did well at the state competition as Alejandro Quinones finished third in Paddleboard in the U-19 Division, while his younger brother, Christian Quinones (B Division) also came in third in both the beach flags and paddleboard.

Fort Lauderdale’s Jackie Nava, 13, won the B Girls Beach Flag event at both the Regional and state competitions. It is only her second year competing.

There is a lot of competition, but you just have to be more competitive,” said Nava, an eighth-grader at Westminster Academy. “This (program) teaches you that you have to be a good teammate and they support you. It is also good to win.”

Other top performances at regionals included: Shane Schulte (Pompano, Boys A), Alejandro Quinones (Pompano, Boys Under-19), Summer Schulte (Pompano, Girls B), Nicolas Calice (Boys B), Grace Parnas (Girls C), Reese Andres (Girls C) and Bella Taylor (Pompano, Girls B).

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Piranhas take 13th in senior swim champs

Posted on 25 August 2016 by LeslieM

sports082516By Gary Curreri

While the overall results weren’t exactly what he wanted, Pompano Beach Piranhas swim team coach Jesse Vassallo still received some outstanding performances in the recent Florida Gold Coast Long Course Senior Championships at the Coral Springs Aquatics Complex.

Vassallo, who has been with the program for the past five years, brought just 12 swimmers to the Senior Championships. The Piranhas finished 13th as a team with 317.50 points, just a dozen points behind Westminster Academy Swim Club (329) in the combined standings.

We did have some good swims from Sloan Sizemore, Tyler Zuyus and Mateos Santos, but I expected a little more from the kids,” Vassallo said. “This group is an 18-Under group and I wanted to come here and get lower times.

We took a smaller group (10) to the (14-Under Florida Gold Coast Long Course Junior Olympics) meet in Stuart the week before and they actually impressed me,” Vassallo added. “I was very, very excited about the new ones.”

Vassallo gushed over two new swimmers in the 10 and Unders who performed well Lilia Blanco, 9, and Steven Gary, 10.

Steven got into the finals in all seven of his events,” Vassallo said. “Lilia swam 9 events and got into three finals. We also had some good swims from Raphael Santos, 13, who finaled in five of his events, which is pretty good because that is a competitive age group.”

Pompano Beach Piranhas has 143 swimmers in the program.

We have been up and down,” Vassallo said. “We are a little low. It is healthy to be about 160, and 180 would be great. I hope to go up a little bit after the Olympics when kids get excited about swimming again.”

The swimmers abilities in the program range from beginners to swimmers hoping to go on to college.

You are talking about kids who are learning to swim, to learning the different strokes and starting to compete,” Vassallo said, “to these kids who are age group elite level.”

One such swimmer is Sizemore, 16, who finished 8th in the high point standings for Girls 15-16 with 71 points. She was eight points out of fifth place.

Competitions like this are very important,” Sizemore said. “We taper for them and I mentally get ready myself for them. I imagine myself beforehand what I am going to do and how I am going to swim my races.

I like that it is new each time,” added Sizemore, a junior at Boca Raton High School, who has been swimming half her life. “You meet new people each time. You have a new experience each time and you get to do a new stroke each time.

She said the camaraderie on the pool deck is important. Pompano Beach is where she has been swimming for those eight years.

I like how we always have get-togethers and we are not afraid to ask for help,” Sizemore said. “We are all close in a way and what I like about it is it’s different from other groups. We do a minimum of 8,000 yards each day up to 10,000 yards each day for each practice and we do doubles (two practices a day), except Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays during the summer when we don’t have school.”

The best part about swimming is getting up on the blocks and having a happy feeling that you are going to do your best,” she added. “That you are going to go all out and not have any regrets.”

Zuyus, 16, was third in the Boys 15-16 high points with 87 points, just two points behind third place finisher Grant Dodge, 16, of the North Palm Beach Swim Club. Santos, 15, finished 10 with 70.50 points.

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Junior volleyball players “dig” the beach

Posted on 18 August 2016 by LeslieM

sports081816By Gary Curreri

In the past five years, there has been an explosion of collegiate opportunities for playing beach volleyball.

Two sisters from Deerfield Beach – Alanna and Audrey Hodge – recently placed third in the AVPFirst Girls 14-Under volleyball championship on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Alanna, age 14, is a freshman at Monarch High School and has played beach volleyball for five years.

I like beach volleyball more than indoor because you get more touches on the ball and it is fun to play with new partners to see how you do with other people,” she said.

Audrey, age 12, a seventh-grader at Boca Christian, also played beach volleyball for five years.

There is a lot of pressure because I am playing in a higher division than I normally would,” Audrey said. “I like it because it is mostly all on you. You are responsible for half of the court.”

Shawn Taylor, of the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) and the coach at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL, said with more juniors playing the game, more and more schools are offering scholarships.

For years it was just the pro beach tour and there was no avenue to get there, and with colleges coming in as a player, it gave juniors something to shoot for,” Taylor said. “Now with more juniors playing the game, it has provided us with an avenue to create a pipeline and a clear path for them to go from playing junior recreational to, hopefully, playing at the collegiate level and then carrying on past that to the professional level.”

Taylor said there are schools adding the sport “everyday” and estimated there were about 65 schools offering beach volleyball.

They anticipate being at 100 (schools) in a year or two,” Taylor said. “They were at zero (schools) five years ago. It was a pipe dream and a myth. It was like crazy talk going around.”

Florida Beach Volleyball Tour tournament director Gino Ferraro is in his 27th year and hosted eight events this year – including stops in Pompano Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Siesta Key, Hollywood, and plans to hold one in Delray Beach next year.

The season starts at the beginning of May and runs through the second week of August,” Ferraro said. “Because of the size of the field, it is hard to find beaches that will hold us anymore.”

Jeudy commits to Alabama

Deerfield Beach High School senior wideout Jerry Jeudy is taking his talents to the University of Alabama next season.

Ranked the fourth-best receiver in the nation by ESPN, Jeudy earned a spot on the all-offense team in July at Nike’s The Opening, one of the top camps in the country in Beaverton, OR It helped parlay him into a good spot to choose his next destination.

I’m excited,” said Jeudy, who chose the Crimson Tide over Florida, Miami, Florida State University and Tennessee. The four-star recruit had offers from more than 20 different schools. “It was the best fit for me. It’s a great program with great coaches, great players and that’s a winning team. I feel like I can go there and do what I have to do and step on the field and make plays.”

It was a very hard decision for me,” added Jeudy, who caught 41 passes for 496 yards and 10 scores last season for the Bucks. “I prayed a lot and felt that Alabama was more of a home.”

Deerfield teammate Daewood Davis, who transferred from Stranahan in the spring, previously announced he was committing to the University of South Florida.

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Tornadoes hope for successful season

Posted on 04 August 2016 by LeslieM

sports080416By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach High School’s Jalal Jean-Charles exchanged his sneakers for football cleats.

I used to play basketball and this is more physical,” said Charles, 15, who will be a junior at Pompano this fall. This is his first year playing football. “The biggest adjustment I had was getting into a big team. In basketball, there are only 15 players and in football there could be anywhere from 30 to 50 players playing with you and it is more of a brotherhood.”

The Tornadoes were among 50 teams from the tri-county area (Broward, Palm and Miami-Dade) that played in the 9th annual Dolphins Academy Youth and High School 7-on-7 tournament at Plantation Central Park.

I like playing with pads,” he said. “I like to be physical. We had a lot of good competition, but we were hoping to win. Tournaments like this helps us get better as a team. We run routes and it lets the quarterback adjust to our play style and we adjust to the quarterback’s play style.”

The high school football tournament consisted of round robin play and then moved into a single elimination format. The high school teams competed in the championship round with Carol City defending its title with a 35-31 victory over Miami Northwestern. Pompano lost both of its games in the tournament (Miami Northwestern, 35-17, and Spanish River, 24-10, but it was good competition for coach Rick Nagy, who was missing several of his top players, including John Padgett Jr. who was on vacation.

Pompano Beach capped the 2015 season with a 28-12 victory over St. Andrew’s School in the Southeastern Football Conference and will move to the Gold Coast Football Conference this upcoming season.

It’s a grind,” said Nagy, who is in his fourth year as coach. “We coach from February through November so there is not much down time. This is an important part of football because it gives those young kids an opportunity to show their skills. We are a small school and we don’t have those tremendous athletes. We are missing like three or four starters today. It’s the summer and they are out and away on vacation.”

Pompano plays in five 7-on-7s this summer. They finished fourth out of 20 teams in a BCAA event, and said the Dolphins event helps them with their skill positions and he liked what he saw.

I think we will be okay this year,” Nagy said. “The top four teams make the playoffs and I think we will make the playoffs. I am not much into predicting. I am a coach who doesn’t even go week by week. I like to go play by play. I don’t try to think too far ahead. I think we will be okay in the new conference.”

Pompano Beach senior quarterback Logan Good said his team benefitted from the competition. The 17-year-old said it helped him work on his timing with his receivers.

You learn that not every play matters,” Good said. “It’s pretty cool to have the Dolphins do something like this. We are running the same offense as last year so we came into this hoping to get better. I am kind of trying to find the open man and get it to him.”

Tornadoes’ 6-foot, 4-inch junior receiver Andre Francis also enjoyed the experience.

This was pretty fun and it is good competition,” Francis said. “We learned a lot about each other in this. This is the most organized 7-on-7 I have been a part of.”

Our mission is to be the stewards of the game of football in South Florida and we were excited to host athletes and coaches at our symposium and tournament,” Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Community Affairs Twan Russell said. “We were able to engage students not only on the field, but had the opportunity to develop their character beyond sports, which is equally important.”

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Pompano forms water polo program

Posted on 28 July 2016 by LeslieM

sports072816By Gary Curreri

In a little more than six months, Pompano Beach’s Samantha Finazzo has found a sport she loves.

Finazzo, 15, who will enter her sophomore year at Pompano Beach High School next month, joined the newly-formed Pompano Beach Piranhas water polo program and it has been an enjoyable experience.

This was a lot of fun,” said Finazzo, who plays goalie for the Girls 18-Under team. “It was a good experience to meet new people and get a variety of players and teams we were playing against.

I expected it to be a lot harder, but I improved my skills over the past couple of months and it came a lot easier than I thought it would be,” she said. “I just wanted to become a better overall athlete. It wasn’t anything that I expected. It was really fun and I loved it.”

The Pompano Beach Piranhas made their club water polo debut in the Sunshine State Games recently at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Both teams played in the 18-Under Division. The boys went 1-3, while the girls were winless in four games.

Teammate Christine Bergamini, 17, of Lighthouse Point, is normally a swimmer, but has found water polo to be more enjoyable.

I like water polo because it is a team sport,” said Bergamini, who will be a senior at Cardinal Gibbons. “The difference is you have to think more about how you are going to swim or who you are going to pass to. It’s been a lot of fun. Even though we lost, I learned a lot. I think we definitely improved each game.”

Pompano Beach coach Scott Moore used to coach in the 1990s and early 2000s, but took some time off. He returned to the pool deck when his son started playing water polo in high school and was looking for a team to play on.

They have been playing a month together and we had a great time,” Moore said. “We have a set of twins, Victoria and Alicja Zielinski, and triplets — Megan, Brooke and Kelly Gest — on the girls team, so that makes it interesting. The Zielinski’s attend Northeast High School, while the Guess girls attend Cardinal Gibbons.

This is new to me,” said Victoria Zielinski, 16, of Oakland Park. “I have never played club before. I have only played high school, so it is good to experience other high school people on a team together. Hopefully, we can do great things together. I knew some of the other water polo players, so I knew that if we all worked together that we would click. It was good getting new water polo players too.”

Zielinski, who will be a junior at Northeast next month, said water polo is a lot different than swimming. She’s played the sport for two years.

It is totally different than an individual sport like swimming,” she said. “There is a lot of adrenaline getting into you. It is a lot of fun. There are girls trying to attack you and you are trying to get away and shoot.”

Zielinski said playing in the Sunshine State Games was a lot of pressure.

I have never played two games in one day or four games in a weekend,” Zielinski said. “We only play once or twice a week in high school. I have only played with this team for two weeks, so there was a lot of pressure going in from not playing water polo in a month or so (since high school season ended).”

Her sister, Alicja, agreed: “The girls here are more intense than high school. I pretty much know most of the girls from high school. They are pretty friendly and it is a good team environment.”

Alicja is more of the swimmer and Victoria is the water polo player. Alicja competed in the 100-yard breaststroke at the state meet and finished 24th.

It is fun to play with her,” Alicja said. “We just have to find each other and yell, ‘twin.’ I would like to play water polo in high school and then maybe college.”

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