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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