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Locals fare well at state track meet

Posted on 19 May 2016 by LeslieM

sports051916By Gary Curreri

With 13 athletes competing at the recent Florida High School Athletic Association Class 1A state track and field championships at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Highlands Christian Academy coach Jared Ebenhack couldn’t have been more pleased with the outcome.

Junior Sara Carroll, who is also a standout soccer player for the school and has already committed to play soccer at FIT, won the Class 1A girls high jump, clearing 5.40 ft. She captured six total medals at the state meet this year as she placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles (15.74); 7th in the 300-meter hurdles; and third in the triple jump (35-7.50). She scored 32 of her team’s 40 points in the meet.

Other top 10 finishes for Highlands included 8th grader Sydney Blackburn, who took ninth in the shot put (32-04), senior Christopher Julien placed 7th in the 100-meter dash, while sophomore Ryan Szklany was 8th in the 1,600 meters (4:41.11) and fourth in the 3,200 (9:47.04).

It was also a bittersweet moment for Ebenhack, who will be relocating his family to Lancaster, CA, on June 3. [He just was honored at Rotary Club, See Pg. 12 of the printed Observer newspaper].

I loved it at Highlands, and parting is bittersweet,” Ebenhack said. “It is very difficult. I know that it is the best thing to do for my family; but I’m definitely torn.”

Considering what an awesome team our girls will have for years to come,” added Ebenhack, who coached most of the middle school runners as elementary students for the past three years, “and considering all the great times I’ve with Ryan Szklany, especially these past four years – especially our Saturday morning long runs down A1A – it is very difficult.”

Ebenhack credited coaches Marc Veynovich and Brenda Montgomery-King for their efforts in the team’s success, especially given the fact the team doesn’t have a permanent track at the school.

Marc was the head coach for the past three years, and I was his assistant, and was in charge of the designing and executing of the distance and sprint programs. This year, he had a lot on his plate and could only come to practice once a week, but he focused a lot on the pole vaulters and high jumpers during that time. Brenda was our throws coach, and two of her athletes qualified for state in the shot and discus, one girl and one boy,” said Ebenhack.

Ely High School senior Thomas Geddis, of Pompano Beach, placed fourth in the Class 3A state finals in the 200-meter dash (22.13) and was a member of the fourth place 4×100 relay with Pierre Dupuy, Arthur Forrest and Rodger Wright (41.95) and the sixth place 4×400 relay (3:21.85) with Tremaine Brown, Roderic Wilson, and Devonte Findlay.

Geddis, 19, is headed to the University of Cincinnati on a football scholarship. Geddis, along with some other standout athletes, helped the Tigers to district and regional titles this season and a fourth place in the state competition. He said he can’t wait to start his new chapter at Cincinnati.

The pressure was tough this year with my being a senior,” Geddis said. “I had a lot of freshmen and underclassmen looking up to me that I had to carry as a team. I was the leader of the 4×100 and the 4×400 and just a captain period, so I had to push them to be comfortable and go out there, have fun, give everything and leave it all on the track.

These four years have been wonderful and meant everything to me,” Geddis added. “It was one of the best track programs I could have come to. We have outstanding coaches and it is a brotherhood and a sisterhood. We come together as one big family.”

Findlay, 18, also a Pompano Beach senior, said he is still searching for a school and hopes his track performance will help earn him a scholarship to college.

I love the sport a lot and I am just keeping busy now,” said Findlay, who overcame an injury this season to reach state. “It was frustrating to sit out, but I did all of my therapy and it was great to make it to states.”

The Tigers’ Roderic Wilson was fifth in the 800 meters (1:58.25), while junior Donnell Grant was eighth in the 110-meter hurdles. Findlay was fifth in the 300-meter hurdles (39.31). Senior Robert Williams was 10th in the discus with a 140-08 throw, while fellow Tigers’ senior Jamie Kennedy took 9th in both the long jump (21-10.50) and the triple jump (44-00.50). Blanche Ely finished fourth in the state competition.

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Ely hoops looking for identity, leadership

Posted on 07 January 2016 by LeslieM

sports010716By Gary Curreri

Since the 2012 season, Blanche Ely’s boys’ basketball team has won three state titles (2012, 2013 and 2015) in addition to forging a 106-11 record during that span.

The team lost five times in 2014 when it dropped four games to Boyd Anderson and one to Cardinal Gibbons, the last time it lost more than three times in a year. In fact, not since 2008, the year after Blanche Ely won the Class 6A state title, have the Tigers lost more than six games in a single year. They finished 18-8 that season.

Blanche Ely coach Melvin Randall is in his 23rd year, including the past 15 with the Tigers, and has an overall record of 514-153 including, by his standards, a pedestrian 9-7 mark this season following the team’s 69-47 loss to Dacula (GA) in the Kingdom of the Sun Tournament in Ocala on New Year’s Eve. The team has suffered five losses in the past seven games.

It’s a whole new group,” Randall said. “It is a young, young, young, young, young team. The seniors that we have are not stepping up. They are still hiding behind the eight ball waiting for those players that graduated to pop on the court, and that is frustrating.”

We just don’t have any leadership,” added Randall, who won state titles in 1997 with Deerfield (Class 5A) and his win with the Bucks in 1999 (Class 6A) came at the expense of his current school Ely, 77-69. After moving over to Ely, Randall won state titles in 2007 (Class 6A), 2012 (Class 7A), 2013 (Class 7A) and 2015 (7A). “I just have to raise these young boys and go from there.”

Randall, whose team moved over to District 14-7A with the likes of St. Thomas Aquinas and Fort Lauderdale, said the team is still searching for its identity.

We just have to play ball,” Randall said. “We just have not really bought into Tiger basketball.

It goes back to missing the summer, of [not] playing during the summer,” Randall said. “They decided to go and do other things. We’ve got injuries, but my thing is I am very, very competitive and I don’t like to pose excuses. If we have five players to get out on the court, we need those five players to play.”

Randall is counting on senior Mark Houston (SG, PG) and injured senior Trevor Goodrum (SF, PF) in addition to junior Geremy Taylor (SF, SG).

They are the main ones because they have been there,” Randall said. “Not only on the local level, but on the state and national level as well. These are the ones who should really be catering to these young guys and raising them, and we’re not doing a good job of that. Because, if we are not doing our jobs, how can we teach it to those young kids? That’s where the problem is right there.”

Randall said it is a different feeling to be taking so many losses this early in the season. The Tigers suffered two losses by one point – Pebblebrook (GA), 64-63, and Sagemont, 58-57. The team also has a 74-73 win over Northeast and a 73-71 win over Fort Lauderdale.

Yeah, you get a little spoiled,” Randall said. “It’s not a great feeling to be on that other end after not being there for a while. We were blessed. It is something that we learn from. The one-point losses that we lost, and the buzzer beaters that we won – we will learn from all of those. These babies have to grow up quick.”

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Randall Honored as ‘National Coach of the Year’

Posted on 03 September 2015 by LeslieM

sports090315By Gary Curreri

When Melvin Randall first began coaching high school basketball some 23 years ago, he never thought he would be where he is today.

The 52-year-old Randall, the head coach at Blanche Ely High School, is just 18 wins short of 500 career victories and recently became the first boys basketball coach from Broward to win six state championships.

In defeating Kissimmee Osceola 72-60 in the state final in early March, Randall also became the second coach in Broward County history to finish the season as an undefeated state champion, as the Tigers finished the 2014-15 campaign at 28-0.

His efforts earned his selection as the National High School Coaches Association Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.

This is pretty awesome to be acknowledged by the coaches across the country for the job I have been doing at Blanche Ely over the years,” said Randall, who earlier this year also was named the All-USA Boys Basketball Coach of the Year by USA Today. “It is a great honor and I’m very humbled by this award.”

Randall is the third coach from Broward County to be honored as National Coach of the Year. George Smith of St. Thomas Aquinas won it for football in 2008 and Rich Bielski of Archbishop McCarthy for baseball in 2011.

It lets me know that what I am doing here at Blanche Ely is very noticeable,” Randall said. “It is a passion for me and I enjoy what I am doing. I am just putting in what I got out of it as far as coaching on the other side. I was once an athlete and putting all of the passion and skills in becoming that athlete I am now doing that as a coach.”

Randall said he has taken bits and pieces from his previous mentors and coaching colleagues, such as the late Butch Ingram, John Keister, Greg Samuel and Wade Edmonds.

He said other influences are former Cardinal Gibbons High School volleyball coach and Athletic Director Louise Crocco, and the late Dillard football coach Otis Gray. Randall takes being a role model very seriously.

It is a great honor to be a role model,” Randall said. “I know that some of my colleagues say they are not role models, but you are whether you want it or not. You have to be able to point these student athletes in the right direction and let them know it is not really about me, it is about them. It is a great feeling.”

Randall has coached 23 years in Broward and has compiled a 482-141 career record. A graduate of South Plantation High, he went on to play in the NCAA tournament at Mercer University. He is hopeful of winning another state title this season despite graduating seven players, including four starters.

Winning a state title is my plan every year,” Randall said. “I am always going to play with the cards that I am dealt and every year it gets harder and harder because of the expectations. We are going to be young and a little inexperienced, so we will have to grow up quick.”

Randall added, “I am just in awe what these kids have accomplished every year and I am glad to have been a part of it.”

Pop Tennis Clinic

If you are looking for an alternative to tennis, paddleball and badminton, you can check out a free clinic on Sept. 19 at Pompano Community Park, 100 W. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach.

Pop Tennis is a combination of the three sports and is played on a court 1/4 the size of a tennis court with a paddle and a deflated tennis ball. The demonstration and clinic is free to the public and will be held from 8 to 10 a.m.

The Pop tennis court is smaller than a tennis court, the racquet or paddle is shorter than a tennis racquet, and the ball is less lively,” said organizer Mitchell Ball. “Additionally, the net is lower, and the players serve underhand – not overhand, as in tennis. All of these things make Pop Tennis easy to play.”

For more information, call Ball at 754-201-9047.

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Ely remains unbeaten

Posted on 19 February 2015 by LeslieM

sports021915By Gary Curreri

So much for déjà vu. For the first half of Tuesday night’s regional semifinal game against Dwyer, it looked like history was going to repeat itself as the visiting Panthers took a 35-26 halftime advantage against the host Blanche Ely boys basketball team.

That was until Ely, ranked No. 7 in the nation in the USA Today Super 25 Expert Rankings, outscored the visitors 49-21 in the second half, including 26-11 in the fourth quarter, and roared to a 75-56 win in the Class 7A regional semifinal and advance to the regional final on Saturday against Miami Central.

The Tigers ran off 27 consecutive wins in the 2009- 2010 season before Dwyer ended the Tigers’ season with a 70-57 victory in the regional semifinal. It was something that Blanche Ely coach Melvin Randall didn’t let his team forget.

This was a personal game, very personal,” said Randall, whose team improved to 25-0 with the win. “I briefly mentioned it to them, but I didn’t have to use it as a motivational tool.”

Therrell Gosier led the way with a game-high 17 points, while LaQuincy Rideau and Diandre Wilson each had 16 points, and Javon Heastie added 12 points in the win for the Tigers, who are hoping to win its third state championship in four years.

The pressure feels like the Coach K situation of trying to win that 1,000th game,” said Randall, referring to Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski, who recently became the first D-1 college coach to win 1,000 career games. Randall has compiled a 499-141 career coaching record and is in his 14th year at the school and 21st overall. “Knowing where we are and how high we are ranked … with a target on your back, you know it is going to get harder and harder, especially during the playoffs.”

My thing is I have to keep my kids very humble and focused, and also hungry,” Randall said. “With the exception of Cardinal Gibbons, we have been winning our games by double digits and we just have to take it gameby- game.”

Randall won state titles in 1997 with Deerfield (Class 5A) and his win in 1999 (Class 6A) came at the expense of his current school Ely, 77-69. After moving over to Ely, Randall won state titles in 2007 (Class 6A), 2012 (Class 7A) and 2013 (Class 7A).

We have to have a sense of urgency and also increase the level of intensity,” Randall said. “We’ll be fine.”

The Tigers finished 21-5 last season, including four losses to Boyd Anderson and once to Cardinal Gibbons in the Big 8. Blanche Ely lost in regional semifinal to Boyd Anderson last season, 61-54. Randall said it would be special to run the table for the school’s first undefeated season and a state title.

It is all these kids,” Randall said. “They are working hard and they are training. They are hungry and, as a result, they are getting these little benefits from these games that we are playing.

We can run the table,” he added. “I don’t think they realize they have already made history in being ranked as high as they are and I believe that is the highest ranking in the history of Broward County, if I am not mistaken. We still want to get to Lakeland, and we want to go undefeated. We can’t turn back.”

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Tigers hope for undefeated season, state title

Posted on 15 January 2015 by LeslieM

sports011515By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely High School senior Therell Gosier is headed to the University of Miami next year to play football. He still has a few items to cross off his bucket list before he graduates.

Gosier, 19, of Pompano Beach, is hoping to keep the Tigers boys’ basketball team on track for an undefeated season. Blanche Ely entered this week’s action at 15-0.

I knew we would be this good, but I didn’t think we’d be this good early,” said the 6-7, 210-lb. center. “We still have a couple of kinks we still have to work out.

We are trying to do something special,” added Gosier, who averages 14.6 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. “We have a chance to be the first Blanche Ely team to go undefeated and win state this year so mainly that’s our goal to go to state and try to be undefeated. That’s our little edge going into every game.”

Gosier, a two-sport athlete at the school, welcomes the pressure of being undefeated.

It helps us a lot having a target on our back because we know we have to bring it every night,” Gosier said. “Everyone wants to be that first team to knock us off and give us that first ‘L’. So we bring it every game to make sure that no team gives us that first loss.”

Blanche Ely coach Melvin Randall is in his 21st year, including the past 14 at Ely. Randall won state titles in 1997 with Deerfield (Class 5A) and his win in 1999 (Class 6A) came at the expense of his current school Ely, 77-69. After moving over to Ely, Randall won state titles in 2007 (Class 6A), 2012 (Class 7A) and 2013 (Class 7A).

Randall, who has compiled a 489-141 record at the school during that 14-year span, believes this year’s team could be one of the best ever.

This is a special team,” Randall said. “Definitely at the guard play, I haven’t had a team with strong guard play in a while. I have had some good guards, but, with this team, you are talking about four or five that I can put out there. I have the flexibility to do that with this team.”

Randall said the team has played well since the summer when they showed promise during AAU play.

They played on the AAU teams and they did great on the AAU circuit,” Randall said. “Now we have come together and we are keeping it family based.”

Even though the team graduated Lance Tejada (East Carolina) and Josh Floyd (Florida State College at Jacksonville) and Richard Lee went back to Northeast High School, the Tigers have still found a way to win. The team benefited from senior guard senior LaQuincy Rideau, a transfer from Palm Beach Lakes, who lives with his aunt in Pompano Beach.

Senior Javon Heastie, along with juniors Mark Houston and Trevor Goodrum, have all stepped up their games, according to Randall.

The Tigers finished 21-5 last season, i n c l u d i n g four losses to Boyd Anderson and once to Cardinal Gibbons in the Big 8. The team has been undefeated during the season before as it ran off 27 consecutive wins until it lost to Dwyer 70-57 in the regional semifinal in the 2009-2010 season.

We are all coming together,” Randall said. “From the outside looking in, the fans and the spectators, we know we are not there yet. We still have a ways to go. We are better off now than we were a couple of weeks ago. We are still having problems with the rotation. I think they have been rotating well. These people have to understand to see those hard traps and to shift and rotate players. I think, once we get that down pat, it is going to prove that it will be pretty hard for a team to score easily.”

Gosier hopes the team finishes the year the way they started.

I t would be great,” Gosier said. “We would go down in history as probably the best basketball team ever to play at Blanche Ely. Going undefeated and winning states would be a great feeling.”

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Tigers fall in regional semifinal

Posted on 20 February 2014 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

And just like that, Blanche Ely’s hopes for a boys’ basketball three-peat were squashed by a team that had its number all season. The Blanche Ely boys’ basketball team dropped a 61-54 decision in the Class 7A regional semifinal to host Boyd Anderson on Tuesday night, and, with it, vanished a spot in history.

Blanche Ely (21-5), which last season became the first boys’ basketball team to win back-to-back titles as it joined Dillard (2000-03) and Pine Crest (2008-09). They came up short in their bid to become the 12th in state history to win three consecutive titles.

Cobras’ guard Pitchon Pierre sank eight free throws in the fourth quarter as host Boyd Anderson (24-5) held off a late charge by the two-time defending Class 7A state champion to pull out the win. Pierre finished with 12 points, 5 assists, 3 steals and 3 rebounds.

Blanche Ely (21-5), which had won 11 consecutive playoff games, closed to within two points at 45-43 with 6:24 left in the game, but struggled at the line and fell for the fourth consecutive time in five meetings against Boyd Anderson this season. The Cobras were 19 of 24 from the line, while Ely converted just 14 of 24 from the charity stripe.

It was a well-fought game, and what killed us was we lost it at the free throw line,” said Tigers coach Melvin Randall. “We missed double digits at the line.

You have to get to the line and knock them down and we didn’t. That was an important factor in the game. We have been shooting like that off and on the entire season. We had a couple of games this season where we shot 70-plus percent, but we made it hard in games this year by missing what we did at the line.”

Boyd Anderson’s Rodney Simeon had 17 points, while Nick Eubanks added 14 points and eight rebounds. Lance Tejada led Blanche Ely with 18 points, while Therell Gosier and Javon Heastie each had 11.

Boyd Anderson jumped out to a 12-8 lead in the first quarter as Simeon scored seven of his team-high 17 points and Dondre Duffus hit a 3-pointer with 2:05 remaining in the period.

Blanche Ely battled back to take a 15-14 lead as it scored the first four points of the second quarter on two free throws by Javon Heastie and a basket off a steal by Gosier.

The host Cobras then went on an 8-0 run to take the lead for good at 22-15 on two free throws by Diondre Wilson. Boyd Anderson led 27-21 at halftime and extended the advantage to 29-21 on a rebound and layup by Nick Eubanks. Tejada then got hot as he made a free throw and a short jumper and found Gosier cutting to the basket for a layup to trim the lead to 26-29 with six minutes left in the third quarter.

The Tigers were also dealt a blow in the third quarter when Gosier was whistled for two fouls in a 38-second span and had to sit with four fouls and Boyd Anderson leading 30- 28. Gosier had scored eight points, pulled down nine rebounds and blocked three shots until then and didn’t re-enter the game until there was 3:02 remaining and the Cobras leading 51-46.

The game seesawed back and forth; however, the Tigers, which had won 11 consecutive playoff games, could get no closer than two points at 45-43 with 6:24 left.

I am disappointed, but I am not upset or mad that we lost,” said Tigers coach Melvin Randall. “It would be selfish for me to bicker. Of course, I wanted to win; but, in looking back, I have been there six times and won five.”

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Tigers roar past Northeast, 45-12

Posted on 07 November 2013 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

After starting the season 0-4 and being outscored in those games by a combined 147-58, Blanche Ely football coach Charles Hafley tried to keep his team focused on the final goal.

The Tigers captured its first district championship in four years as it manhandled host Northeast, 45-12, to win the District 14-7A championship on Friday night.

Our senior captains –Tyquan Fields, Terrance Blands, Broderic James, Aris Knight, were phenomenal,” Hafley said. “They come to practice every day. They come ready to work and they believe in what we talk about. Holding the rope … and that’s what the kids did, during that wave we had the first four games and through the grunt of the season. We just came out in district play and did Blanche Ely football.”

Blanche Ely opened the season with a 45-15 loss to M.L. King (Georgia); a 46-6 loss to Deerfield Beach; a 31-21 setback to Glades Central and a 29- 15 loss to Miami Northwestern. The Tigers have won four of its past five games – the only loss coming at the hands of Plantation, 32-26. They’ve won three consecutive games, including the district-clinching win over Northeast.

Senior quarterback Nelson Ervin threw for 148 yards and four TDs Friday night, as the Tigers finished 3-0 in the district.

I think the biggest difference is all about believing in themselves,” Hafley said. “Nelson Ervin got himself together, mentally, physically and emotionally. He just led this team. He hasn’t had a turnover in any of our district games. He just focused and played Tiger Pride football.”

Northeast (2-7, 1-2) took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in 14 plays capped by a 9- yard scoring run by Hurricanes’ quarterback Brion Sanchious to take a 7-0 lead.

From there, Ervin took over as he threw three touchdown passes and Anson Benton returned an interception 28 yards for a score as the Tigers scored 28 unanswered points to take a 28-6 halftime lead.

Ervin threw touchdown passes to Laderrick Smith (37 yards); Edward Walker (13 yards) and Chazton McKenzie (13 yards) in the first half. He added a 12- yard TD pass to Kenneth Rawls in the second half. The Tigers also got a 17-yard field goal from Charite Carmeley and a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Steven Carter. Northeast added a late score on a 4-yard TD pass from Deangelo Fulford to Binjimen Victor.

Hafley said the team would need to play mistake-free football to go deep in the playoffs.

You have to control your turnover battle and make sure you keep your penalties to a minimum,” Hafley added. “If we can do that, we can be successful and make a run at this thing.

There are many monsters out there in 7A and we respect them, but, in the playoffs, everybody starts 0-0,” he continued. “You could be 10-0 or 5-5, but, at the end of the day, when the first round of the playoffs come, everybody is 0-0 and each week counts, and we take it one game at a time.”

The slow start “hardened” his team and prepared them for a deep run in the playoffs. Hafley said the team would go as deep as his seniors will allow and credits the team chemistry from the administration and the community to the players and coaches.

The kids believe that,” Hafley said. “The teams we played were traditional powers, all the way from Miami Northwestern, Glades Central, Deerfield Beach and MLK. Hats off to them and their coaching staffs, but it just gave us an opportunity to watch that film and get better. One thing about this team is we are the scariest team in 7A right now.”

Bucks pound South Plantation

Quarterback Danarious Graham ran for two touchdowns and passed for a third as Deerfield Beach rolled to the District 11- 8A championship and remained undefeated at 9-0.

Senior running back Aeron McNeal rushed for 172 yards and scored on a 72-yard TD as Deerfield Beach ran its record in the district to 7-0 with a 42-16 victory over host South Plantation.

Brandon Powell was limited by an injury in the first half; however, he finished with 40 yards and a TD.

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Randall let go at Ely

Posted on 20 June 2013 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

Melvin Randall admits he was “caught a little off guard” when he was told he was no longer going to be the Blanche Ely’s boys’ basketball coach after leading the team to back-to-back Class 7A state titles.

Randall said he was informed on June 7 that his 13 years at the school that yielded three state titles was over. Randall, who has been a math teacher at the Pompano Beach school for the past 26 years, has compiled a 456-136 record and five state titles between Deerfield Beach and Blanche Ely high schools.

“This has been going on for the last two years and it basically boils down to something personal,” said Randall, who was informed in a 10:30 a.m. meeting with Blanche Ely assistant principal Malcolm Spence (Blanche Ely administrator over sports) and assistant principal Antonio Womack. “There was no explanation, no nothing. I was kind of shocked. I am not bitter. There have been many placed in my position who have said ‘forget it’ and have just walked away. I am not going to walk away.”

“I am still teaching (math) there, but with the coaching it’s pending,” Randall continued. “I may go into the private sector. You have to have a better excuse than we are moving in a different direction. Which direction is that? Are you going down? I am not being cocky, but that is the only direction I can think of. We only lost five games the past two years.”

Randall finished the 2012- 13 season at Ely by winning his second consecutive Class 7A state championship and earning its second consecutive national ranking.

Randall, 50, of Ft. Lauderdale, has expressed his frustration with the school’s administration by not being allowed to keep two of his long-time assistant coaches (Morris Grooms and Reginald McNair, both former players of his,) from the 2011-12 season and also is upset at how he was treated by Ely principal Karlton Johnson after leading the team to a state championship in 2012 when he had to apply for his position twice.

“Whatever the situation was, it didn’t warrant dismissal,” said Randall, the only coach in Broward to lead two different teams to national rankings – Deerfield Beach in 1999 and Blanche Ely the past two seasons. “It could have warranted suspensions maybe, instead of the harshest thing (firing).”

I am very proud of what I have done at Ely as the boys head basketball coach,” Randall said. “And really doing it the hard way and being successful and running into a situation that I have been in a few years and being successful.”

“My job is to educate 9th grade students and above and also, when I am in the gym, I am trying to do the same thing through that crazy sport of basketball,” Randall said. “It is not just bouncing a basketball and getting Ws and Ls. It is about mentoring these kids and giving them lifelong skills.”

Randall said he didn’t want his name to be tarnished as he moved past the situation.

“I am going to be heard because they are not going to tarnish my name,” Randall said. “I don’t want people to say maybe he did something drastic because he won two state titles, and he must have done something (wrong). And to be put in a spot to coach at the next level, and that is what athletic directors would be thinking as well. It is going to be pretty interesting.”

Efforts to reach school officials were unsuccessful.

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Locals enjoy success in NFL

Posted on 16 February 2012 by LeslieM

Deerfield’s Jason Pierre-Paul celebrates winning Super Bowl. Submitted photo

By Gary Curreri

Two years ago, Deerfield Beach’s Jason Pierre-Paul was a relative unknown.

The 23-year-old Deerfield Beach High School graduate was a first round draft pick in 2010 for the New York Giants (15th overall). Now he has quite a resume starting with Super Bowl XLVI champion after the Giants held on to defeat the New England Patriots, 21-17, recently.

“It didn’t really hit me until the parade,” said Pierre-Paul, a 6’5”, 278-lb. defensive end, named to the Pro Bowl this season despite not being on the ballot. “It is a great feeling. I’m having a great time. I am soaking it all in until it is ready to go again for next season.”

Pierre-Paul had a breakout season this year as he was named to the Pro Bowl after he recorded 65 tackles, 16.5 sacks, a safety and two forced fumbles during the 2011 season. Pierre-Paul became the first player in NFL history to record a sack, forced fumble and blocked field goal in the same game in a 37-34 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 11. With injuries plaguing the Giants’ starting defensive ends, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, Pierre-Paul received a significant amount of playing time, including 12 starts.

Pierre-Paul’s father, Jean, who is blind, took in his son’s Super Bowl performance in Indianapolis in person.

“I talked to him about it,” Pierre-Paul said. “He said it is a blessing to see me play. He said this is the happiest he has been in his lifetime. Even though he couldn’t see me, he knew I was doing good. He listens to the game and my whole family tells him what is going on and he understands it.”

The Giants were 7-7 and facing elimination before winning its last two regular season games and finishing the year winning six straight. Pierre-Paul said the team never gave up and he is looking forward to defending the title and contributing again.

“I knew I could be good,” Pierre-Paul said. “Two years ago, I was going into the draft and now I am a playmaker in the NFL. I am still learning the parts of the game and I am taking it all in.”

Another local, Blanche Ely High School grad, Patrick Peterson, also had a stellar rookie season for the Arizona Cardinals as he set several NFL marks and was also named to the Pro Bowl.

Peterson had the most punt return yards by a rookie in a season with 699, tied for most punt returns in a season for touchdown with four, longest game-winning punt return touchdown in overtime with 99 yards.

Peterson was selected fifth overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2011 NFL Draft and immediately made his mark on his first NFL play when he intercepted a Philip Rivers pass and returned it for a touchdown.

Pompano’s Patrick Peterson. Submitted photo

Peterson, 21, a 6’-0”, 219-lb. cornerback, was selected to the 2012 Pro Bowl and was the only rookie to be selected to the 2011 All-Pro First Team, as a kick return specialist. He finished the season with 64 tackles, a sack, 2 INTs and four punt returns for TDs.

Peterson said his teammates, Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes, have kept him grounded.

“Those guys have definitely given me the keys to success and taught me how to be a professional,” Peter-son said. “They taught me how to grow up fast – faster than I probably needed to.”

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Randall wins 400th game

Posted on 15 December 2011 by LeslieM

Melvin Randall entered this week with a 403-131 career coaching record. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

And the wins keep coming.

Blanche Ely boys’ basketball coach Melvin Randall moved into an exclusive club when he won his 400th career game on Nov. 29 with an 84-41 victory over Monarch.

Randall, in his 11th year at Ely, credited the influence of four former Broward coaching greats for his success – the late Butch Ingram, Greg Samuels, John Keister and Wade Edmond.

Randall began his coaching career as an assistant to Edmond at Ely and then moved on to Deerfield Beach where he was a head coach starting in 1992 through 2000 and won state titles in 1997 and 1999 with the Bucks and in 2007 with the Tigers.

“To be in it for this long and still have that energy,” said Randall, who is 403-131 in his 19-year coaching career, including 203-78 at Ely. “I don’t know if it is strange or abnormal, but I know that there have been many like (Dillard girls coach) Marcia Pinder [who] has been in it for many, many years.”

“I am still having fun doing what I am doing,” Randall added. “I am blessed and I feel that I am giving back what I have gotten out of it when I was in high school and in college.”

The Tigers went on a 20-6 run in the second quarter to open a 35-19 halftime lead and coasted to its fourth victory of the season, 69-51 over visiting Boyd Anderson on Saturday night.

Clide Geffrard finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Derek Walker added 19 points and eight rebounds. Josephus Bell added 10. Krishaun Myers had five points and five assists.

Randall, a 1981 South Plantation High graduate who went on to Mercer University in Macon, GA before returning to South Florida, said he still enjoys the Xs and Os and said his assistant coaches continue to bring the energy to the gym.

“They keep me going as well with new ideas,” said the 48-year-old Randall, who lives in Ft. Lauderdale. “Whether it is offensively or defensively, I am always open to new ideas. If you were to walk in the gym, you wouldn’t know who [is] the head coach and that is how I have been for years.”

He said he is also pleased with the success he has had throughout his career, in which he has averaged more than 20 wins a year.

“I am very proud of that,” Randall said. “It is not so much the Ws and the Ls, but to have a record of my seniors going off to school. That is the most important thing to me and then seeing them come back or to see them do well as young men.”


Simply Soccer Camp

The city of Pompano will host a Simply Soccer holiday break camp from Dec. 19-22 for boys and girls, ages 5-14, and of all skill levels, who will be taught a variety of soccer skills from dribbling to shooting.

There are three sessions each day ranging from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (cost is $75); extended hours camp is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $100, and a Tiny Tot program is offered for kids ages 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to noon for $50. Campers must bring a soccer ball, swimsuit, shin guards, water bottle and lunch. You do not have to be a city resident to attend. For more information, call the city of Pompano Parks and Recreation Department at 954-786-4119.

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