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Ely falls 21-13 in regional playoff game

Posted on 20 November 2014 by LeslieM

sports112014By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely first year football coach Nakia Jenkins left the field Friday night following his team’s Class 7A regional quarterfinal loss to Atlantic convinced he had the better team.

The problem was Atlantic is moving on in the postseason following the 21-13 win and the Tigers will have to wait another year to see if it can reach the same heights it did in 2002 when it won the Class 5A state championship and finished the year 14-1.

Jenkins, the school’s sixth coach since 2006, cited the team’s inexperience as a key factor in the loss. The Tigers have only won more than seven games three times since former coach Steve Davis left the school and went to Plantation in 2003.

I’ve been telling my guys all season that you guys have to make the best of every opportunity and dropped balls killed us again,” Jenkins said. “Dropped balls and blown opportunities … Early in the game we are down in the red zone and we don’t capitalize … just miscues and it shows that we are a young team. We learn from experience and I am proud of them. We will just get ready for next year.”

Atlantic High junior quarterback Edwin Hernandez threw two touchdowns within a 2-minute and 48 second span of the third quarter to give the Eagles (9-2) the victory. Hernandez tossed touchdown passes of 19 yards to Markinson Ripert and 30 yards to Lamar Washington to stake the Eagles to a 14-0 lead.

Blanche Ely (6-5) cut the deficit in half to 14-7 on an 8-yard scamper by Teddrick Moffett with 11:49 left in the game; however, the Eagles wasted little time in answering as Davan Cleckley returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a 21-7 lead.

Blanche Ely closed the gap to 21-13 on a 23-yard scoring pass from Moffett to Laderrick Smith with 2:19 remaining in the game, but the Tigers couldn’t tie the contest after it got the ball back with just 45 seconds left on its own 9-yard line.

Blanche Ely also had a chance to take the lead at 3-0 with 8:15 remaining in the third quarter when Carmeley Charite’s 30-yard field goal attempt was wide right. Demeterice Bellamy finished the game with 11 carries for 54 yards for the Tigers, while Laderrick Smith caught 5 passes for 94 yards.

Atlantic won the contest despite committing 18 penalties for 187 yards that nearly wiped out its 260 yards of offense in the game.

Jenkins’ team featured 80 percent of its roster with players in their first year on varsity. Three of the team’s five losses came in the closing minutes to Deerfield Beach, Miami Northwestern and Plantation.

We just got to learn how to finish ball games, man,” Jenkins said. “It shows. We had opportunities. We should have beaten this team tonight, hands down. We just didn’t capitalize on the opportunities that we had and that has haunted us all year. We’ll take it. We’ll learn from it and just get ready for next year.”

Jenkins said the most important thing the team should bring away from the season is to play a complete game.

They need to learn to play four quarters,” Jenkins said. “They need to learn to fight through adversity. They need to learn from mistakes. Dropped balls killed us all year and we probably had seven to eight dropped balls tonight and that could have helped us. We got away with it early in the season, but playing a good, solid team like that which runs the ball well and chews up a lot of clock, that’s what happens.”

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Plantation’s last second win spoils Tigers’ hoopla

Posted on 16 October 2014 by LeslieM

sports101614By Gary Curreri

For the third time this season, host Blanche Ely had a bad taste of déjà vu.

It was the first home game for the Tigers after spending the first five weeks on the road. It also marked the debut of a new, state-of-the-art scoreboard that was donated by 2008 Ely grad Patrick Peterson, now with the Arizona Cardinals, former head coach William Facteau and other community leaders.

The product on the field was competitive, but, for the third time this season, Blanche Ely let a late lead slip away and lost in the closing minute of the contest.

Maurquice Flowers rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns, including a 2-yard run, with 57 seconds remaining, to propel Plantation to a 31-23 victory over Blanche Ely in a non-district game last Friday night that also marked the return of former Tigers coach Steve Davis.

Davis, who spent 10 years at Blanche Ely and won the Class 5A state title at the school in 2002, won for the second consecutive season at his former school. He is 2-2 in regular season games, not including a kickoff classic win during that span. Plantation won 32-26 last season.

Flowers’ second score capped an 8-play, 93-yard drive to hand the Tigers its third loss in the closing minute this season. It also dropped games to Deerfield Beach and Miami Northwestern in the waning seconds earlier this year. Flowers and Antwuan Haynes each broke the century mark on the ground for the Colonels (4-2). Haynes finished with 101 yards on 14 carries.

That’s really cool,” Davis said of the scoreboard. “I am a big time Ely guy. I spent a lot of years here. I really think the new scoreboard and all of the other stuff is well deserved. Hopefully, it was a little distraction for them. This was a real important game. It is not a district game, but ,when you look at the power rankings for Broward County, it lets you know where you stand.”

Blanche Ely (2-4) christened its new $100,000 scoreboard on a 38-yard field goal by Carmeley Charite with 3 minutes left in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead.

Plantation took the ensuing kickoff and marched 80 yards in nine plays to take a 7-3 lead on a 4-yard scoring toss from Archie Banton to Yvon St. Louis with 22 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Blanche Ely, which also debuted new uniforms, capitalized on an interception by Terrance Henley to grab a 10-7 lead on a 5-yard scoring run by Demeterice Bellamy with 2:54 remaining in the first half. The Colonels took the lead shortly before halftime when Banton broke three tackles and bulled in from 10-yards out on a quarterback keeper.

The Tigers capitalized on another turnover deep in Plantation territory and converted it into another score. Zackery Purdue found Therrell Gosier for a 13-yard scoring play with 2:30 left in the third quarter for a 17-14 lead.

Plantation took the ensuing kickoff and moved 80 yards in 11 plays capped by a 7-yard scoring run by Flowers for a 21-17 lead. The Tigers answered on a 33-yard scoring toss from Perdue to Thomas Geddis to seize a 23-21 lead before the visiting Colonels battled back.

I think we had to eliminate the big play because Ely is a big play team,” Davis added. “We were able to control the ground game and the corner backs played well. I think a win over a good team like Ely will really catapult our season tonight. We have to keep moving forward.”

Blanche Ely coach Nakia Jenkins admitted his team is young, but needs to play four quarters of football.

We need to learn to finish,” said Jenkins, who is in his first year at the school as head coach. “We should be easily 5-1 right now. We have to put teams away early. It is definitely motivation. I tell these guys all of the time they don’t know how good they can be. We are going to be really good once we put it all together.”

If he were doling out mid-season grades, Jenkins said he would give his team a C-plus.

We are very young,” Jenkins said. “We are about 80 percent of our JV team from last year. We are get- ting better. Hopefully, at the back end of the season, we can put a lot of things together … We have to keep building and stay healthy. We have to get them together, rally, work on technique and we are at the back end of the season … and get district champs. We just have to take it one game at a time.”

Blanche Ely Athletic Director Andrea Johnson was thrilled with the new scoreboard.

It is really cool,” Johnson said. “It really goes with the state-of-the-art field that we have here. The community fought really hard to get it. They just beat the ground getting the donations so we could have this for our school, for our kids and for our community.

Patrick Peterson and Bill Facteau were the major donors,” Johnson added. “The installation took a week. It’s amazing. The capabilities it has, the clarity of the screen … it is a wonderful addition to the stadium. We are still working out the kinks and figuring out all of the wonderful technology, but we will be able to show replays, advertisements and a lot of other cool stuff. We have cameras and all of that.”

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Bucks battle back to down Ely, 14-12

Posted on 18 September 2014 by LeslieM

sports091814By Gary Curreri

Cortez Grace started the season as a linebacker and third string quarterback for the Deerfield Beach High School football team; however, he finished Friday night’s game as a hero.

As the song title states, Grace was simply “amazing” in the closing minutes as he overcame two earlier interceptions and capped a 90-yard drive in the final three minutes with a 1-yard TD plunge to lift host Deerfield Beach to a 14-12 victory in the inaugural McDougle Bowl at Deerfield Beach High School.

I just wanted to win the game,” said Grace, who grew up across the street from Blanche Ely High School, and was 5 for 6 on the winning drive for 68 yards on the 13-play, 90-yard drive with 3:01 remaining in the game. “It felt good. I just came through for my team.”

Grace connected on a 30- yard pass to Antonio Cartagena and then hit Simeon Brown for 19 and 11 yards to march the Bucks down the field. With just 24 seconds left, Grace hit Randerick Gervin to the Tigers’ 1 before taking it in himself from a yard out.

I don’t like to lose,” added Grace, who filled in for starting quarterback Jeff Joseph, who was sidelined with an injury. “I was just ready. I wasn’t thinking about nothing. I just put the (interceptions) in my past. I got my mind right. I played against those kids in youth football. This is big for me. It was special. It tugged at my heart. It was meant to happen.”

Blanche Ely’s Robert Williams ran for two first half touchdowns as the Tigers (0-2) rallied from an early deficit to take a 12-7 lead on the 40th anniversary of the series between the two schools. Williams finished the game with 10 carries for 89 yards. Deerfield (2-1) had taken a 7-0 lead on a Kobe Farrish 6-yard scoring run early in the contest.

The kids hung in there,” said Deerfield Beach coach Allen Jackson. “We just had to believe. That’s what the kids did on the sideline. They started believing in themselves and the passes that Cortez threw were huge for us. Oh, my goodness. You couldn’t ask anything more from him. He stepped in and did an awesome job.”

The game was sponsored by brothers Jerome Mc- Dougle (1997 Ely grad) and Stockar McDougle (1996 Deerfield Beach grad), who both went on to play in the NFL.

The brothers, who served as honorary captains for their respective teams, presented the game’s trophy, in addition to awarding scholarships to the game MVPs – Blanche Ely’s Demeterice Bellamy and Deerfield Beach’s Jimmy Harper.

This is awesome,” said Jerome, who played with the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants from 2003-2008. “It is great for me and my brother to come back to one of the greatest rivalries in Broward County and we were a part of it. It is just a great atmosphere for football. Both teams have had players go and play in the National Football League so it is good for us to come back.”

This is very cool to give me and my brother a chance to come back here to this game that we actually played in when we were in high school, and to tie it around our foundation,” said Stockar, who has also helped purchase equipment for his alma mater.

The rivalry never dies. Out of the whole household, I am the only one that didn’t go to Blanche Ely. I hear it all the time, no matter how old you get.”

Stockar said the game always represents “bragging rights?”

Yes, it is winner take all,” Stockar added. “But it is all about pouring more resources into the community and getting the two booster clubs involved. We have a lot of athletes who have come out of these two programs and who have gone on and done great things. It was definitely time.”

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Ely coach hopes for playoffs next season

Posted on 29 May 2014 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely first year head football coach Nakia Jenkins hopes he has the perfect recipe for success this season.

The first ingredient was discipline. The other things added into the mix will come from the players – hard work and determination.

Jenkins, 38, who was named interim coach for the spring workouts, hopes that label will be gone by the first week of the season.

Jenkins, originally from Belle Glade where he played with former NFLers Fred Taylor and Reidel Anthony at Glades Central High School, started as the offensive coordinator in 2004 at Blanche Ely and returned to the school last year in the same capacity after the team started 0-4. He was the offensive coordinator at his alma mater in 2006-2007 when the team won the Class 3A state championship.

Blanche Ely has made it to the state championship game twice when it finished second in 1987 losing to Tallahassee Godby, 31-3, in the Class 4A game before winning in 2002 in the Class 5A game when it defeated Wharton, 22-10.

This is where I have been off and on.

This is like being home in Belle Glade,” Jenkins said. “This is like home to me. I like the community. I like what I see. I like the environment. I love it. They want what is best for the kids and I do too.

We went on a run last year and ended up being district champs,” said Jenkins, who succeeds Charles Hafley as head coach. The team defeated West Boca, 44-20, in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs last year before falling in the regional semifinals to the eventual state champion Dwyer, 49-7.

We wound up 6-6 and the job just kind of fell in my hands,” Jenkins said. “Coach (Malcolm) Spence (the school’s assistant principal) and Mr. (Karlton) Johnson (the school’s principal) are great friends of mine and I respect those guys to the fullest. They are doing an incredible job here trying to get everything going in the right direction. I got a phone call from them and they said, ‘Coach, we want you to take over the team on an interim basis,’ and, of course, I said, ‘Yes.’ I don’t have to prove myself. They know what I bring to the table. They know I bring discipline first and foremost. I treat the players like they are my own kids.”

Jenkins is relying on several key players this upcoming season, including Therrell Gosier, a 6ft., 7in., 210lb. receiver, who is being highly recruited; Kevin Williams (CB/FS), already committed to West Virginia; wide receivers Laderrick Smith, Thomas Geddis and Terrance Henley, a senior CB. The Tigers also added cornerback George Heck, a transfer from Northeast. They will all be seniors in the fall. (CB).

Junior quarterback Teddrick Moffet will be the key, however.

He is a three-year starter,” Jenkins said. “He is the anchor of our offense. He is not that tall (5-10), but plays like he is 6-5. He has a great arm.”

Jenkins said the team would have won more games last season if it were disciplined so that has been his focus since he took over. He also brought back long-time Broward County coach Carl Wilburn to be his assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

He has been coaching in Broward County for 30 years and, like me, he’s a disciplinarian,” Jenkins said. “Carl is a guy I look up to. We lost some kids from last year, but the coaches I brought in know these kids and have a good relationship with them. I think that was really big for us.”

Jenkins said he also realizes there are expectations from the community. Blanche Ely has produced 12 players – third most in Florida, who has been drafted by the National Football League, including this year’s selection of Jabari Price by the Minnesota Vikings in the seventh round.

There is no pressure,” Jenkins said. “My motto has always been getting the most out of the kids. Ely has never been a football school. They have won some ball games, but for us to get in the playoffs and win a state championship would be huge. That would be the exclamation point.”

A lot of people know me in the community and they want to see what I have done and what changes I have made,” Jenkins added. “We have great support. We have a booster club now that we haven’t had in a number of years. The support from the community has been great to this point, and I couldn’t ask for anything better, so my return to them is win some ball games. They are going to put the time in for the kids, and it is a good situation, and the best I can do is win some games.”

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Ely boys ranked 3rd in State

Posted on 30 January 2014 by LeslieM

Classified (nothing on pasteboard)By Gary Curreri

If Blanche Ely’s boys’ basketball team is to win its third consecutive Class 7A state championship, the road may lead through Lauderdale Lakes and District 14-7A rival Boyd Anderson.

Blanche Ely (18-2), the state’s third-ranked team in the latest Florida Association of Basketball Coaches (FABC)-Source Hoops state rankings, has dropped just two games all season – both to the Cobras (17-3), who are ranked second in the state. Apopka’s Wekiva High School (19-3) holds down the top state ranking in Class 7A.

Blanche Ely opened the season with 13 consecutive wins including the prestigious Chick-Fil-A Classic in Columbia, South Carolina. Junior Therrell Gosier led his team to the Chick-Fil-A Classic II Championship with 24 points, 18 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. The Tigers won 81-75 in overtime over South Pointe (Rock Hill, SC).

Less than a week later, Blanche Ely dropped its first contest of the year to Boyd Anderson in overtime at the D-Hop Classic at Palm Beach Lakes High School. The Cobras rallied from a 63-59 deficit with 49 seconds left to tie the game and force overtime. That loss ended a Blanche Ely streak of 46 wins in a row against Broward County opponents and 52 wins in a row against Florida teams.

There were some great teams in the D-Hop with Boyd Anderson, and Palm Beach Lakes in our region,” said Blanche Ely coach Melvin Randall. “I think there are some pretty good teams in Central Florida, but the best teams reside down here in South Florida.”

The state rankings bear that out with Palm Beach Lakes (16-5) fifth in the poll and Dwyer (18-5) sixth in the FABC-Source Hoops state rankings.

Just three weeks later, Boyd Anderson handed the Tigers its second loss of the season as it battled back from a ninepoint deficit in the third quarter to pull out a 65-57 victory.

Randall said he expects his team to improve for the stretch run and credited the leadership of seniors Lance Tejada II and Joshua Floyd, in addition to Gozier.

Their leadership is helping raise these young ones to William Nightingale get to where we need to be,” said Randall, whose team defeated Boyd Anderson, 78- 75, in overtime on Nov. 30. “I think they are doing a tremendous job.”

Floyd was at Westminster Academy last year, while Javon Heastie transferred in from Dillard. Boyd Anderson has two transfers of its own in Rodney Simeon from Miami Central and Dondre Duffus from Wellington High School.

Both teams were competing in the BCAA Big 8 tournament where Blanche Ely is the defending champion. Results of Wednesday night’s games were unavailable at press time. The District playoffs begin next week.

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Tigers hope to win 2nd consecutive State Title

Posted on 17 January 2013 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Melvin Randall believes his Blanche Ely High School boys basketball team could be the most talented he has ever had at the school.

“They can be better than last year’s team,” said Randall, whose team is the defending Class 7A champions after defeating Oak Ridge, 78-46, in last year’s state championship game. “They show little spurts of it. They have to be consistent. On paper, we have five Division 1 players on this team, but they have to play like it night in and night out. They can run the table and they can be better than last year’s team. I have to keep pushing them and motivating them.”

The host Tigers (15-1) got a game-high 27 points from senior guard Darrion Allen as it defeated Deerfield Beach, 72-60, at home before a standing-room only crowd.

Deerfield Beach (21-3) was led by forward Marcus Owens, who scored 18 points, including 10 in the first quarter as the Bucks stormed out to a 15-5 lead to start the game. Khalil Thomas scored 18 points for the Tigers and Richard Lee added nine points. Vanderbilt Carpenter tallied 16 points for the Bucks.

Getting off to slow starts in games this year has been a problem for Randall and his Tigers.

“We work so hard and they are taught and they know against any team, whether it is a strong team or the less fortunate teams, we are going to have a target on our backs, that teams are going to get up to play Ely because of the success we had last year,” said Randall, who graduated five from last year’s team. “Two were off and on starters, and we added a couple of guys (Lee, transfer from Northeast, and Lance Tejada, a Miramar transfer) who are pretty good.”

Randall said it has been a work in progress. He said he’s been trying to get everyone on the same page because of the pressing style that they like to play.

“It’s different,” Randall said. “It is like another country to them and they are beginning to understand and it is going to take some time. I gave them an expiration date in the middle of January where everybody should be on the same page. They come from a different style and a different philosophy on playing defense. We play an uptempo pressing defense rather than sitting back in a 2-3 zone.”

Senior Dallas Cameron, who committed to American University one week after his 18th birthday in September, said it has been a difficult transition.

“It is really tough to put everything together,” said the 6’ 3”, 175 lb. guard. “The team we had last year had been together for 2 to 3 years, so everyone was committed. That’s why we had so much success last year. This year, with new people coming in, they have to learn the system and defense. They have to learn the system quicker.

“We are getting there,” Cameron said. “We still have a long ways to go. We have come out flat in a lot of games. We have to pick it up because that is going to catch up to us.”

Cameron said it would be huge to win another state title.

“Nobody in Ely history has ever won back-to-back championships,” Cameron said. “There have only been three state championships in Ely history. To go back-to-back would be huge.”

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Tigers win third state hoops title

Posted on 15 March 2012 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Everybody loves a parade and what better way to celebrate Blanche Ely’s Class 7A boys’ basketball state championship than with a ride down victory lane on Saturday?

Blanche Ely’s boys recently punctuated a stellar season with a 78-46 victory over Orlando Oak Ridge in the FHSAA Class 7A state championship game as senior 6-ft., 6-in. star forward Clide Geffrard scored a game-high 33 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to power the Tigers to thier third state title in school history.

The victory gave Ely coach Melvin Randall his second state title at Ely (2006-07) and fourth overall, following two at Deerfield Beach (1997, 1999). The Tigers also won in 1993.

“The young men played very well,” Randall said. “Not taking anything away from Oak Ridge, but these young men did a very, very good job. For the seniors to go out in style like this is a plus … They deserve it because I know how hard we worked.”

It was a belated 49th birthday gift for Randall, who is 429-133 in his 20th year of coaching.

When asked to pick which team, the Class 7A No.1 Tigers or his 1999 Deerfield team (which went 34-1), was more dominant, Randall didn’t hesitate.

“You’re looking at it,” Randall said, “not just because this team won a state title. It’s the way they went about doing it, getting up Saturday mornings and hitting the beach … two-a-day practices and the intense workouts. Not saying the ’99 team didn’t do it, but the cohesiveness this team had consistently through-out made them better.”

The Tigers (30-2), winners of 18 consecutive games to close out the season, are ranked No.16 in the ESPN FAB 50 poll and have accepted an invitation to participate in the ESPNHS National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, MD March 29-31.

The only blemishes on the Blanche Ely ledger are a one-point loss to ESPN FAB 50 No. 13 Bishop Gorman (NV) and 67-53 to ESPN No.14 Montverde Prep (21-3) on Dec. 30.

Geffrard, who scored 12 of his team’s 22 first-quarter points, felt he had to deliver on a promise.

“I wanted to keep my word I made in ninth grade when I told everyone we would win one before we left high school,” Geffrard said. “I guess I helped keep that word.”

The Tigers are also the third school in Broward – joining Deerfield Beach in 1999 and Dillard in 2003 – to win a state championship and win at least 30 games.

The 32-point margin of victory marked the 14th time this season the Tigers won a game by at least 30 points. It was also the 14th time the Ely defense held opponents under 50 points, including the state semifinal which produced a 62-29 victory over Saint Petersburg.

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