Vassallo inducted into Broward Sports Hall of Fame

Posted on 27 November 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Jesse Vassallo, left, was inducted into the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame, along with (from left to right) John Cohen (Spirit of Sport recipient), Guy Harvey, Tamara James, Eddie Rodger, Roberto Luongo and OJ McDuffie. Submitted photo

Pompano Beach Piranhas Swim Team head coach Jesse Vassallo was recently inducted into the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame.

He was joined by fellow 2019 inductees, including Dr. Guy Harvey (Fishing), Tamara James (Basketball), Roberto Luongo (Ice Hockey), Otis James “OJ” McDuffie (Football) and Eddie Rodger (Soccer).

“It was a surprise for me,” Vassallo said. “I have been 10 years in Broward and I didn’t expect to be recognized that quickly. I am very honored. I know some of the other inductees and they are people that I have always admired and very proud.”

Vassallo, 58, of Pompano Beach, is a three-time World Record holder and obtained his first world record at the age of 15 when he was just a  freshman in high school. In 1976, he held the world record in the 400-meter individual medley (the toughest event in swimming), and again in 1978.

In 1979, he took over the world record in the 200-meter individual medley and was also a two-time US Olympian (1980 and 1984). Equally impressive is his National 13-14 age-group record in the 1,500-meter freestyle when he was just 13 years old. This record remains unbroken and still stands as the longest U.S. National Age Group record in history – even Michael Phelps admitted to Vassallo that Phelps was not able to break the record time of 15:31.03 at that age. 

Vassallo wanted to participate in the 1976 Summer Olympics, which were held in Montreal, Canada, representing Puerto Rico, but he could not participate due to a ruling of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee that stated that “in order to represent Puerto Rico, a person must have resided on the island for at least a year. 

Vassallo was unable to attend the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow, Russia, because of the boycott imposed by U.S. President Jimmy Carter. He competed in another competition held in the United States, which was held at the same time as the Moscow Olympics. Vassallo made better times in the 200- and 400-meter individual medley event at the competition than the two gold medalists in Moscow.

Vassallo has also been inducted to the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the University of Miami’s Hall of Fame, the Puerto Rican Hall of Fame, and the Japanese Swimmers Hall of Fame. He has been on the covers of Sports Illustrated, the Olympian and Swimming World Magazine.

“I went through a boycott and some political things that were very frustrating to my swimming career,” he said. “Being inducted into the Hall of Fames, it really fills up a good spot. It means you are recognized for history.”

Bucks advance to semifinals

Deerfield Beach running back Jaylan Knighton ran for 93 yds and two touchdowns on 15 carries to lead the Bucks to a 35-7 victory over host Vero Beach in a Class 8A regional final last Friday.

Knighton also became the third back to surpass 5,000 yds in Broward County history.

Knighton, who missed the past week of practice due a bruised left thigh, has 5,054 career yds and is 23 yds shy of becoming second in all-time rushing yards behind the late Tyrone Moss of Blanche Ely.

Deerfield Beach (10-3) advances to the state semifinals for the third time in four years. They will face Miami Columbus Friday on the road.

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Bucks rout Palm Beach Central, 44-6

Posted on 21 November 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach senior quarterback Michael Pratt returned from injury and passed for two touchdowns, and rushed for another, to lead the Bucks to a 44-6 win over host Palm Beach Central, 44-6, in the Class 8A regional semifinal last Friday night.

“We played well and are peaking at the right time,” said Bucks coach Jevon Glenn, whose team defeated Palm Beach Central in last year’s regional final. “We were prepared and have played a tough schedule to be ready.”

After Palm Beach Central seized a 6-0 lead, the Bucks scored 44 unanswered points for the victory. Pratt, a Tulane commit, returned to the field after missing the regional quarterfinal contest with a wrist injury on his throwing arm.

“We just took care of business,” Pratt said following the game. “Our offensive line blocked well so our run game was established stuck to their assignments so they had to take care of that and we were able to get outside and make some big plays.”

After the Broncos took the initial lead, Deerfield Beach wasted little time in responding and taking the lead for good on a 90-yard kickoff return for a score by Joseph Kennerly for a 7-6 lead. Pratt made it 14-6 with a TD run and then responded with two TD passes from Pratt to Xavier Restrepo and Deajaun McDougle to extend the lead to 28-6. Bucks running back Jaziun Patterson added two second half TD runs for the final margin.

Deerfield Beach will play in the Class 8A regional final at Vero Beach on Friday.

Pompano Beach Golf Results

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association recently held several events starting with a Four-Man scramble on Oct. 30 at the Pines Course.

The team of Jim Foster, Fred Joy, Lance Naiman and Willie Smith won the event when they carded a 62. They were followed by Jorge Duarte, Bob Mascatello, Pete Strychowskyj (who played with alternating shots) and finished second with a 65 after matching cards with Jerry DeSapio, Bill O’Brien and Jack Permenter (who also alternated shots).

Chuck Brown, Bill Delaney, Kevin Narus and Brian Nixon shot a 67 to finish in fourth. The closest to the pin winner on hole No. 3 was Bob Mascatello.

In the Two Best Ball of a Foursome event on Nov. 6 at the Pines, the team of Terry Denoma, Jorge Duarte, Kevin Narus and Dennis Rooy fired a 114 to win the championship by one stroke over the team of Chuck Brown, Andy Burt, Steve Serkey and Willie Smith. Finishing in third was George Disch, Jerry Goodman, Mike Katawczik and Val Rapoport, who shot 118, while the team of Oscar Aleman, Gary Gill, Mike Marruquin and Bob Mascatello shot a 119 to finish fourth. Lance Naiman won the closest to the pin on hole No. 15. He stepped up and made the 2-ft., 5-in. putt for a birdie.

Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association also held a 1-2-3 Best Ball, mixed foursome event with the team of Terri Schulte, Pat DeSanctis, Nancy Cutler and Eleanor Tague coming out on top with a 123. The team of Sandra Gore, Vonnie O’Keefe, Lori Tarmey and Carla Tinnirello (won tiebreaker) with a 128.

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Bucks move on in football playoffs

Posted on 14 November 2019 by LeslieM

The First Tee of Broward County recently kicked off its Veterans program at the Pompano Beach Golf Club. Submitted photo, courtesy of Jack Bloomfield.

By Gary Curreri

With starting quarterback Michael Pratt out with a wrist injury in his throwing arm, the Deerfield Beach football team was still hitting on all cylinders as they rolled to a 53-9 victory over visiting Palm Beach Gardens in the Class 8A regional quarterfinals on Friday.

Senior running back Jaylan Knighton had 15 carries for 105 yd. and two first half touchdowns to help stake the Bucks to a 29-9 halftime cushion.

Derohn King threw two TD passes to Dejaun McDougle to put Deerfield up big. The host Bucks also picked up a safety, a 90-yd. kickoff return for a TD by Xavier Restrepo, a scoring run by Jaziun Patterson and a scoring pass from Marquise Pierre to Aydin Henningham.

“We’re trying to make history here,” said Bucks coach Jevon Glenn following the game. “Nobody here has ever made a state championship. The only time you can get cocky is if you come out December 13th or 14th with a victory because that’s when we did something that nobody’s ever did.”

Deerfield Beach will host Palm Beach Central in a rematch of last year’s regional final in the regional semifinal.

Tigers fall to Atlantic, 47-12

For the second time in three weeks, Blanche Ely came up short against district rival Atlantic High School on the road.

Atlantic running back Montahj Joseph ran for 154 yd. and two touchdowns in a 47-12 Class 7A regional quarterfinal contest on Friday night in Delray Beach. Junior quarterback Guenson Alexis passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more in the win.

Danard Little had a 4-yd. scoring run late in the first half to pull the Tigers within 14-6, but it was the closest they would come. Atlantic tacked on a late score with four seconds left in the half and forced a running clock in the second half.

First Tee kicks of Vets program

The First Tee of Broward County recently kicked off its Veterans programs at the Pompano Beach Golf Club, Weston Hills Country Club and Eagle Trace Golf Club. In partnership with Mission United, the First Tee of Broward holds free eight-week programs for the veterans.

The coaches include T.J. Ziol, Darrell Welker, Rob Steffes, Julian Gil, Steve Voguit and Nick Cupper, while the volunteers include Garry Moses, Mike Dobzinski, Tom Kuhlman, Tom Meehan, John Pisano and Tyler Bohall. There are 55 participants in the program, which is sponsored by The Harry T. Mangurian Foundation.

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Ranse Classic draws hundreds of players

Posted on 07 November 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The 10th Annual Ranse Classic Beach Volleyball tournament was more about the camaraderie and the community rather than the competition.

An estimated 300 players took part in the beach volleyball tournament north of the Deerfield Beach pier that celebrated the life of Ranseford “Ranse” Jones. From junior players to top open competitors, there was a sense of pride among all at the 30 sand volleyball courts.

Tournament Director Diogo Sousa said the event holds a special place in his heart. He met Jones when he was younger at Deerfield Beach.

“I was 16 and he was one of the first people to stand up for me at Deerfield Beach when nobody would let me on the volleyball courts,” said Sousa, now 31, who lives nearby. “He was the first person I played with and, after we played for one day together, he went around to everybody and told them I was allowed to play anytime I wanted in Deerfield.”

“Since then,” he added, “this has been my home beach to play on. It is truly amazing to see someone’s life celebrated, year in and year out.

There are so many people that support the charity and the type of person that Ranse was. Everybody loved him and they continue to show love, not only to Ranse who passed away, but his family. His mother and father come down for this event every year.”

“This is way above cool,” said Jones’ mother, Sherry Marthinuss. “It is going to take me the whole weekend to come down from this. Ranse connected with people, obviously, and that is what he left us with. It is his legacy. That’s why we get together every year and celebrate that and keep building on it.

“We call it the biggest reunion on the east coast,” she continued. “A lot of the volleyball players he played with and knew still compete and want to win. It is great vibes and lots of love.”

In April 2010, Jones, a former Deerfield Beach firefighter, suffered a brain aneurysm while playing in the semifinals of the Panama City AVP Young Guns tournament. He died Nov. 8 that year at the young age of 34. Jones had played in 21 AVP tournaments since 2000. He also spent time on the Extreme Volleyball Professionals tour and competed in the Men’s Open Division of the 2009 U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball.

The Ranse Volleyball Classic has evolved into a nationally-recognized event to benefit Stroke Awareness, through the hard work of the local volleyball community.

The tournament generally raises between $20-$30,000 on an annual basis for the Ranse Jones Stroke Awareness Fund at the Broward Health North Stroke Center. To date, the event just exceeded $300,000.

Nikki Esposito, 22, has been coming to the tournament for years. Her father, John, is one of the organizers. She starred at Pompano Beach High School before playing with the FSU Seminoles.

“I have been playing in this tournament since I was 12,” she said. “Because I have been playing at Florida State, I haven’t been able to play in the tournament for the last four years, so I made the drive down this year.

“It has grown a lot and almost doubled in players this year,” she said. “It is so much fun getting everyone together from all over the state and the country. I made new friends. We just had a lot of fun.”

Flavia Fernandes, 36, also of Deerfield Beach, said the tournament is definitely for fun. She has also played in the tournament for about five years. She coached Esposito when she was younger.

“This tournament is not so much about winning, or the competition,” Fernandes said. “You still have the competitive drive and at the end of the day, you know it is for a good cause.

“For me, this is the most fun tournament of the year,” Fernandes said. “This is special for me because everyone comes from so far and I see the hard work that the organizers put in. We all look forward to it.”

Jonathan Rogers, 28, of Deerfield Beach, said they had nice weather on the first day and a little rain on the second.

“Usually, it is pretty windy this time of year,” Rogers said. “It was really sunny and really a nice day for volleyball. Considering the format and that you don’t know the partner you are playing with, I was pretty happy that we made it to the semifinals of the open division.

“I ended up being paired up with a guy from Brazil,” Rogers added. “He was a really cool dude. We couldn’t communicate because he didn’t speak English, but it was fun.”

3rd Annual Ryan Owens Memorial Run set for Saturday

The 3rd Annual Ryan Owens Memorial Run is set for Nov. 9 on Deerfield Beach. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. Organized by the Naked Warrior Project, the run pays tribute to Fallen Navy SEAL, Ryan Owens, who grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and was killed in action on Jan. 29, 2017. 

The four-mile beach run on Deerfield Beach is fashioned after the weekly timed beach runs in Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training that candidates must pass. Runners of all levels are welcome. Limited to 500 runners, the race will be timed and medals awarded. The entry fee is $40. 

“I began The Naked Warrior Project in 2017 to ensure that the memory of these brave warriors and their sacrifices are never forgotten,” said South Florida resident John Owens, a retired Navy SEAL and brother of Ryan Owens. The mission of the non-profit organization is to memorialize fallen Navy SEALs, help injured Navy SEALs in their recovery and provide support to their families through education, connecting families and building memorials.

“This run is our largest event of the year,” said Owens. “We run this race to honor Ryan’s life and the money raised this year will go toward building a memorial to Ryan here in South Florida.”

Following the run, the organization’s annual dinner and silent auction will be held at the Royal Palm Yacht Club in Boca Raton. Dinner tickets are $150 per person. Dinner sponsorship opportunities are available at different levels. The evening also includes a silent auction. The organization holds several other annual fundraising events including a fishing tournament and golf outings.

To register for the run, learn more about sponsorships and donations and for more information, visit NakedWarriorProject.org.

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Deerfield routs Monarch for 5th straight title

Posted on 31 October 2019 by LeslieM

Bucks running back Jaylan Knighton No. 4 accounted for 182 yd. and three touchdowns in Deerfield Beach’s 41-0 win over Monarch. File photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

Senior running back Jaylan Knighton ran for 113 yd. and two touchdowns as Deerfield Beach won its fifth straight district championship and 23rd overall with a 41-0 District 12-8A victory over host Monarch at Coconut Creek High School last Friday night.

Senior quarterback Michael Pratt also found the end zone twice for the Bucks who scored on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead and were never headed as they rolled to their 23rd consecutive district win.

Deerfield Beach (6-3) took a 7-0 lead with 7:24 remaining in the first quarter on a 1-yd. quarterback sneak by Pratt. The Bucks made it 14-0 on a 14-yd. run by Knighton as the score capped a 5-play, 38-yd. drive. Knighton scored again with 4:58 remaining in the first half to push the lead to 21-0. The drive was set up by a 33-yd. punt return by Bryce Gowdy. Knighton finished the first half with 14 carries for 111 yd.

“Today, I could have done better,” said Knighton, an FSU commit, who accounted for 182 total yards with 69 yd. receiving and another score in the game. “Today was a great day. We got the victory. Since I have been here, we won the district championship every year. It is a great experience to bring it home.”

Deerfield added one more score at the end of the first half as Pratt capped a 7-play, 77-yd. drive with an 8-yd. scoring run. Knighton hauled in a 57-yd. pass from Xavier Restrepo on a fake punt to extend the lead to 34-0 with 10:04 left in the third quarter. The final score of the night came on a 1-yd. plunge by backup quarterback Derohn King for a 41-0 lead.

“Right now, we are above average,” Knighton added. “We are working every single day and trying to get better, not taking no days off.”

Deerfield Beach is 8-1 in the series between the two schools. In the last five meetings, Deerfield is 5-0 and has outscored the Knights, 206-7 during that span. Deerfield outscored the opposition, 340-110 and was coming off a loss to St. Thomas Aquinas, which snapped a five-game winning streak.

Last season, Deerfield Beach fell in the state semifinals of the Class 8A tournament as they lost 49-21 to Miami Columbus and finished 12-2. Deerfield lost in the regional quarterfinal the season before and lost in the state semifinals in 2016 to the eventual state champion, Southridge, 26-7, in 2016.

Ely falls to Atlantic

Atlantic clinched their third consecutive district championship with a 34-16 win over visiting Blanche Ely in the District 13-7A clash last Friday.

Blanche Ely (7-2) took an early lead on a field goal, before the host Eagles built up an 18-point lead. The Tigers clawed back as senior Darnell Deas punched in an 11-yd. touchdown run to cut the Eagles’ lead to 12 with 1:26 left in the first half. Blanche Ely then closed to within 21-16 quarterback Jevon Williams found junior Dewante Deas on the near sideline for a 40-yd. scoring toss.

The Eagles tacked on two fourth quarter scores to pull away and punch their ticket to the postseason for the sixth straight year. Blanche Ely will tackle Dillard at home on Saturday in the annual Soul Bowl at 5 p.m.

Ranse Volleyball tourney this weekend

The 10th Annual Ranse Classic will be held this weekend, Nov. 2-3 on Deerfield Beach near the pier.

The Ranse Classic is a beach volleyball Pro-Am tournament in memory of Ranse Jones, an avid beach volleyball player, whose life was cut short when he suffered a stroke while playing an AVP Young Guns Tournament in 2010. Registration for the event closes today (Oct. 31) at 4 p.m.

On Friday, there will be a Blind Draw Party at Burger Craze 7:30 p.m. followed by the tournament on Saturday and Sunday.

The men’s and women’s Pro AM Blind Draw Doubles will be held on Saturday. There will also be raffles and a silent auction from 4-9 p.m. at Bru’s Room and drawings will take place at 9:30 p.m. There will be a player party with live band Uproot Hootenanny at Bru’s Room 7:30 p.m. until closing.

The men’s and women’s Open Doubles Tournaments is on Sunday. There will also be a juniors Blind Draw Doubles Tournament with divisions for 12U, 14U, 16U, and 18U and a Coed Doubles Tournament with AAA and AA divisions.

Money raised will be donated to Ranse Jones Stroke Awareness Fund at Broward Health North.

For more information, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RanseVolleyballClassic/

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Tigers roar past Coconut Creek, 28-16

Posted on 24 October 2019 by LeslieM

Blanche Ely senior Jevon Williams ran for 135 yds. and three TDs in a 28-16 win over Coconut Creek last Friday night. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely senior quarterback Jevon Williams ran 11 times for a game-high 135 yds. and three scores as the Tigers rallied for a 28-16 win over visiting Coconut Creek on Friday night.

Blanche Ely (7-1) won for the fifth straight game and will face Atlantic on Friday at 7 p.m. for the District 13-7A championship.

“Speed is everything,” said Williams, a three-time state champion hurdler in track. “Football is speed, it is not just strength, and I go by speed…if they can’t stop me, they can’t stop me.

“Last year, we won one game and, this year, we won our seventh game,” added Williams, who also threw for 100 yds. in the game. “We are on a winning streak right now. It feels great to me, and I am proud of this team and proud of myself as well. We got Atlantic next week and we are going to win that game as well.”

Coconut Creek (4-4) got on the scoreboard first on a safety when Blanche Ely punter Schneider Etienne had his knee touch down in the end zone as he was attempting to punt the ball for a 2-0 Cougars’ lead. 

Coconut Creek scored on its opening offensive series when Cedrick Bennett hit Damien Heller on a screen pass, and he went untouched from 23-yds. out for a 9-0 lead with 8:22 remaining in the first quarter.

Williams scored on a 6-yd. run to trim the lead to 9-7 before the Cougars’ John Blackmon hauled in an 8-yd. TD pass from Bennett to boost the lead to 16-7. 

The Tigers scored twice before the end of the first half to take the lead for good as Williams scored on a 6-yd. run and Shomari Lawrance scored on a 13-yd. run to cap a 9-play, 63-yd. drive with 3:22 left in the first half. Lawrance finished the game with 14 carries for 63 yds.

The Tigers capitalized on an interception by Antonio McBride, and Williams padded the lead when he scored on a 59-yd. run with 8:49 remaining in the third quarter for a 28-16 lead.

Blanche Ely’s lone defeat this season was a 42-0 loss to Deerfield Beach in the third game of the season. Since then, they have reeled off five wins in a row.

“Deerfield was a game where I felt we beat ourselves and I didn’t harp on that,” said Blanche Ely coach Clifford Wimberly after the Tigers finished 1-9 last year. “We jumped right back into action and put that game behind us. I told the kids we have a long season left to play and our goal was to ‘restore the roar,’ we would no longer be the step-child in Broward County and I think we are doing that.”

“I made the kids believe,” Wimberly said. “I gave them a vision…this is one of the heartbeats of the community. This is where my family is from and I am deeply rooted in Pompano. I knew how big the job was when I was taking it. We were 1-9 last year, but a lot of people don’t realize we probably played the toughest schedule in the state, and we have only lost one game since the spring.”

Blanche Ely is 10-5 against the Cougars dating back to 2004. Coconut Creek had won the last two meetings, and three of the last four entering the contest. The Tigers have outscored their opposition 244-126 this season.

Bucks fall 28-7 at St. Thomas Aquinas

Deerfield Beach fell on the road to St. Thomas Aquinas, 28-7 in a nationally-televised game that featured two of the top teams in the county.

The Bucks (5-3) had their five-game win streak come to a halt as the St. Thomas Aquinas team remained undefeated through seven games.

The Bucks’ Xavier Restrepo got the Bucks on the board first with a 54-yd. scoring toss from Michael Pratt with 7:19 remaining in the first half. From there, it was all Raiders who finished with eight sacks and scored 28 unanswered points.

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Local football teams on win streaks

Posted on 16 October 2019 by LeslieM

Jaylan Knighton is hopeful of helping Deerfield Beach to a win over host St. Thomas Aquinas on Friday. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

Both the Deerfield Beach and Blanche Ely football teams are on a roll.

The Bucks (5-2) have won five straight games after starting the season 0-2, while the Tigers are 6-1 after winning their fourth consecutive game. Blanche Ely’s only loss this season was a 42-0 setback to Deerfield Beach in the third game of the season. Since then, they have reeled off four wins in a row, including a 48-7 win over Olympic Heights.

“The discipline has definitely improved, and we have a great senior class,” said Blanche Ely coach Clifford Wimberly after the Tigers finished 1-9 last year. “We’re taking one game at a time and finding the little things to help us improve.”

When they defeated Stranahan 26-24 two weeks ago, it marked their first win over a team with a winning record in 13 games, dating back to a 13-7 overtime win over Dillard in the Soul Bowl on Nov. 5, 2016. 

Tigers’ senior running back Shomari Lawrence scored on a 28-yd. run midway through the fourth quarter in the Stranahan game for the difference. He wound up with 20 carries for 94 yds.

Coming off a 64-0 manhandling of Spanish River, Deerfield Beach will face a still test this weekend when they face the nation’s 12th ranked team at St. Thomas Aquinas.

The Bucks will be led by senior quarterback Michael Pratt and senior running back Jaylan Knighton, in addition to a stellar receiving corps.

Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held an individual play (Low Gross and Low Net in Classes) on the Pines Course on Oct. 9.

Gary Gill won the Low Gross for Class A with a 75. Winning the Low Net competition was Chuck Brown, who carded a 64, while Bill O’Brien shot a 75 to take second.   

The Class B Low Gross winner was Lance Naiman, who shot an 86 and won a tiebreaker. Jack Permenter and Charles Schaefer each shot 67s, but Permenter won in a tiebreaker to take Low Net in the Class B competition.                                                                                                   

In the Class C competition, Oscar Aleman won the Low Gross with an 88, while Jerry DeSapio won the Low Net with a 68 and Jim Blake was second with a 71.   

Bob Mascatello won the Class D Low Gross honors with a 92. Al DiBenedetto won the Low Net in the Class D with a 65, while Dennis Rooy was second with a 68.

The closest to the pin winner on hole (No. 7) was Charles Schaefer, whose tee shot came to rest 8ft., 10in. from the hole. He stepped up and made the putt.

Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association recently held a Cat Fight in Classes tournament on Oct. 15. The winner of the A/B Class was Janet Stuart with a +1, while Lynn Goodman won the tiebreaker over Deborah Brown. They both carded a -3 in the competition. Lori Tarmey won the C/D Class with an Even score, while Dianne Levanti at -3 was second.

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First Tee program kicks off at Pompano Golf Course

Posted on 10 October 2019 by LeslieM

The Crockett Foundation Pompano kicked off its fall 2019 First Tee program recently at the Pompano Beach Golf Course.

By Gary Curreri

The Crockett Foundation Pompano kicked off its fall 2019 First Tee program recently at the Pompano Beach Golf Course.

The nine week program, which has been in partnership with The First Tee of Broward County for three years, focuses on the nine core values that are connected with the game of golf and carries over to home life. Those values are courage, determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment, and excellence. 

The coaches for the program are TJ Ziol and Darrell Welker, and they are helped by volunteers Alan Freedman, Valerie Bertuccelli and Ashton Mahfood.

The Crockett Foundation, a Broward County-based non-profit organization, has positively impacted the lives of thousands of children since its inception in 2002. Its after-school programs focus on math, reading, health and technology for middle-school students.

“The Crockett Foundation has helped more than 1,000 students in our local community graduate from high school with better grades and a more positive outlook on life,” said Jack Bloomfield, Director of Operations for the First Tee of Broward.  

The First Tee is an international youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to kids and teens. Through after-school and in-school programs, it helps shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect, and perseverance through the game of golf.

Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held several events recently. Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a One Best Ball of Threesome and Two Best Balls on Holes No. 1 and No. 18 on Oct. 2 at the Pines Course.

The winning team was composed of Neil Lang, Dennis Sejda and Pete Strychowskyj, who shot a 60. The team of Dave Dowling, Jim Muschany and Tom Pawelczyk finished second with a 63 and won on a match of cards.

Finishing in third was the team of Chuck Brown, Lance Naiman and Willie Smith, who also shot a 63, while the team of Bill Delaney, Al Holcomb and Kevin Narus was fourth with a 64 and also won on a match of cards. Winning the closest to the pin contest was Charles Schaeffer.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a Two Best Balls of a Threesome event on Sept. 25 on the Palms Course.

Al DiBenedetto, Jim Greeley and Tom Pawelczyk shot a 122 to take top honors, while Dave Dowling, Gary Gill and Joe Patchen shot a 125 to finish second. Taking third was the team of Jorge Duarte, Lance Naiman and Willie Smith with a 128.

Dennis Sejda won the Closest to the Pin on Hole No. 11.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a One Best Ball of a Threesome and Two Best Balls in the Middle, No. 9 and 10 event on Sept. 18 on the Palms Course.

Taking top honors was Jim Blake, Tom Breur and Gary Ruderman, who carded a 63, while Dave Dowling, Jim Muschany and Dennis Sejda shot a 64 to finish second. Gary Gill, Joe Patchen and Willie Smith shot a 65 and won on a match of cards to finish third.

The winner of the closest to the pin competition on hole No. 7 was Gary Gill.

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Bucks rout Boca Raton 49-6 in District 12-8A football game

Posted on 03 October 2019 by LeslieM

Deerfield Beach quarterback Michael Pratt looks for an open receiver in the Bucks’ 49-6 win over visiting Boca Raton. Photo by Gary Curreri.

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach senior quarterback Michael Pratt threw for a season-best 331 yds. and four touchdowns as the host Bucks toppled Boca Raton 49-6 in the District 12-8A opener for both teams on Friday night. 

Pratt, a Tulane University commit who transferred from Boca Raton High School to Deerfield in August, made his fourth straight start and guided the Bucks to a fourth straight victory.

He has seen his touchdown totals in each game go up by one. He threw for one score in his first, then two, then three and four against his former school. He has 10 TDs on the season.

“We just have to get better every single week,” said Pratt, whose team has a bye this week before facing Spanish River. “My timing with the receivers, connection and chemistry is starting to build up. Our offensive line…I am starting to learn them and they are starting to learn me.”

Deerfield Beach (4-2, 1-0 in the district) took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yds. in three plays, capped by a 40-yd. scoring run by FSU commit Jaylan Knighton. He carried all three times in the drive for 80 yds. Knighton finished the game with seven rushes for 100 yds. and one score.

Boca Raton (2-3, 0-1) cut the lead to 7-6 on a 20-yd. scoring toss from Andrew Caverty to Ashton Gillotte with 4:02 left in the first half. The extra point attempt by Thomas Lofiago was blocked and later also had a 37-yd. field goal attempt blocked.

The score snapped a three-game shutout streak by the Bucks in their last three wins – as they defeated Blanche Ely, 46-0, Zachary (LA), 53-0 and Oak Ridge (Orlando), 42-0 – and outscored the opposition 141-0 during the span.

Deerfield Beach broke the game open in the second quarter when Pratt hit Maryland commit Deajaun McDougle for an 83-yd. catch and run for a 14-6 advantage and then 21-6 on a 64-yd. interception return by Phillip O’Brien. Deerfield Beach made it 28-6 on a 20-yd. scoring toss from Pratt to University of Miami commit Xavier Restrepo.

Pratt connected with Deajaun McDougle two more times in the third quarter from 51 yds. and 60 yds. for a 42-6 lead. It was his 10th scoring touchdown pass in four games. McDougle had 226 yds. receiving on five catches and three TDs.

Back-up quarterback Marquise Pierre hit Jamarion McDougle on a 45-yd. TD score in the fourth for a 49-6 Bucks lead. It marked just the fifth time in Deerfield Beach history where they have scored 40 or more points in four straight games.

Pratt missed the first two games of the season, losses to Carol City, 24-12, and St. John’s (Washington, D.C.), 52-20, with a groin injury. Pratt threw for 1,208 yds. and 12 TDs at Boca Raton last season. He also ran for 447 yds. and three scores for the Bobcats.

Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn said Pratt handled the week going against his former teammates well.

“He has a steadiness about him and is a little ahead of his time,” Glenn said. “To be quite honest, if he plays the first two games, we would be undefeated and top-10 in the country right now.”

Last season, Deerfield Beach fell in the state semifinals of the Class 8A tournament as they lost 49-21 to the eventual state champion, Miami Columbus, and finished 12-2. Deerfield lost in the regional quarterfinal the season before and lost in the state semifinals in 2016 to the eventual state champion, Southridge, 26-7 in 2016.

“it’s been a great opportunity to learn a few new things,” Pratt added. “I have to make better reads and work on timing.”

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Pompano player wins tourney

Posted on 26 September 2019 by LeslieM

Pompano Beach’s Julia Vulpio returns a shot against Boca Raton’s Nina Gulbransen in the finals of the Women’s Open Division in the Delray Cup – Prize Money Open, Age Category and NTRP Championships at ProWorld Tennis Academy in Delray Beach. Vulpio won the title with a 6-4, 7-5 win. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

In the beginning, Julia Vulpio wasn’t a big fan of tennis.

“At first, I didn’t like it,” said Vulpio, 18, of Pompano Beach. “I wanted to play with dolls and do normal kid’s stuff.”

She got her start when her father saw a poster of Argentinian tennis pro Guillermo Vilas on the floor for his academy and they went.

“It was closed for the year and my dad said since we are here, let’s play,” said Vulpio, who was age 4 at the time. She continued to play recreationally until age 9 when she had a breakthrough.

“I saw Rafa Nadal play at the French Open, and I said, ‘wow, I really want to play now,’” Vulpio recalled. “I love the competition. I like everything. I like the fighting. It is definitely mental, a lot of it.”

She cited her strengths as a backhand crosscourt, her slice serve and a topspin forehand.

Vulpio recently scored a 6-4, 7-5 win over Boca Raton’s Nina Gulbransen in the finals of the Women’s Open Division in the Delray Cup – Prize Money Open, Age Category and NTRP Championships at ProWorld Tennis Academy in Delray Beach. Not bad considering she hadn’t played in a tournament in a couple of months and had just been training.

“I just decided to go back and play a few tournaments,” said Vulpio, a Quinnipiac University commit. She is currently homeschooling to prepare. She has also been training at ProWorld for almost two years. She was a former No. 1 in France for girls 16s and was ranked No. 900 at WTA at age 17.

“It was a good match to start back,” she said. “Winning the tournament gives you confidence for sure, especially since it is my first tournament in a while.”

The tournament also featured Men’s Open singles, Men’s Open doubles, Women’s 3.5 NTRP singles and Men’s 4.0 and 4.5 singles play. There were 81 players in the event and in addition to players from Florida, there were also competitors from CA, TX, NJ , NY, MI, and PR.

“The tournament had about 80 players – 70 in the Open and 11 in the NTRP,” Tournament Director Lew Wolfe said.

Bucks win third straight game

After opening the season with two straight losses on the road, the Deerfield Beach High School football team have regained their winning ways with a third consecutive shutout following a 42-0 win over Oak Ridge (Orlando) at home on Friday night.

Senior quarterback Michael Pratt tossed three touchdown passes, while senior running back Jaylan Knighton topped the century mark rushing and added two touchdowns for the Bucks, who have defeated Blanche Ely (42-0), Zachary (La.) 52-0 and Oakridge in the team’s home opener.

Pratt, a Tulane University commit who transferred to Deerfield Beach from nearby Boca Raton in early August, will face his former team on Friday when the Bucks take on the Bobcats at home.

Pratt connected with Aydin Henningham, Xavier Restrepo and Jaziun Patterson for TD passes and Knighton, a Florida State commit, totaled 101 yards on the ground and scored twice.

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