‘Fins show start of something to look forward to
By Javier Garcia, Sports Editor
It’s about that time again, not that I intend to make this an annual thing, but reflecting on this past season with the Dolphins, I feel the need to say that some of the shameful expectations I cast last year have been far exceeded.
I’m sure you’ve all heard enough about COVID-19 but I just want to state it now for those who might not be as-informed of the state of the league this year, the Dolphins, like many other teams, faced roster deficits with players like receiver Albert Wilson choosing to opt-out of the season this year in the wake of the pandemic.
Way before the very first game of this season was played, in the first round of the 2020 draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa with their first pick of the first round, and fifth pick overall. Tagovailoa came to the team as the franchise rookie quarterback, not only to back up league veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, but also to be his protege, while recovering from the previous season’s serious hip injury sustained in college.
The return of many players who had been injured, some of them looking hotter than ever moving into this year’s off-season. Players like Mike Gesicki, Salvon Ahmed and Devante Parker, started to solidify the skill positions: (respectively) tight end, running back and wide receiver.
After a 3-3 start, Tagovailoa was named starter following his very first shot at pro field time the week prior, throwing two passes to ice a win over the Jets. Why throw in the young quarterback now and risk injury when Fitzpatrick was still somewhat serviceable? Well, with the number-one defense in the league and the offense finding its gears, the young southpaw brought the team to a final record of 10-6.
Lots of promise was shown, and though they did not make it to the playoffs, they sure did compete like a team that could manage, with a loss as small as 33-27 against Kansas City and causing FOUR turnovers against reigning Super Bowl champ Patrick Mahomes (who is favored to repeat in two weeks at Super Bowl LV).
In the end, the team could have clinched its spot with a win over the division-winner Buffalo Bills in the last game. Although they did not clinch it, I look back at this year with much contentment, and even more anticipation for what follows as bonds grow more potent.
Posted: Feb. 1
Boys basketball team falls
The boys varsity basketball team lost Thursday night at home to Flanagan 74-59.
According to junior varsity player, Kerrick Wiggins, the team could not secure enough rebounds to win the game.
Posted: Jan. 13
We’re keeping score at long last
By Javier Garcia, Sports Editor
For some of the older students who have kept their ears to the ground over the years, they might remember hearing about a new expensive scoreboard that would go to our football field, and well, it’s finally here.
The fancy new scoreboard has a full HD quality LED board that is capable of playing pre-made videos and things like transition animations.
“They’re the same programs and systems that the Miami Dolphins use, just down to a single much much smaller screen,” Athletic Director Jason Frey said.
The scoreboard raked in well over $100k and months of work to be properly applied, and even then there is still some time needed for operators to get a full grasp of the new tech at their disposal.
“We currently have not been able to unlock its full potential,” Frey said.
The board could also support live video playback but that requires some more work than a few button presses, and is looking to be added to sports events that take place on our home field. Its uses were already being up for the test as the Senior ceremony for Varsity football Senior night featured videos of the Seniors profile, instead of announcing all on the PA system.
This will be something pretty spectacular to catch at any sporting event, regardless of whatever outcome is produced there will at least be that cool scoreboard to remember.
2 flag football graduates earn scholarships
By Caleb Holness, Staff Intern
Recent graduates Tatiana Maker and Lorraine Angelakos were announced on Sept. 18 as winners of scholarships pledged by the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers specifically for flag football scholarships for girls.
Maker and Angelakos were two of only four girls chosen for this $5,000 scholarship. The Buccaneers have committed $250,000 to fund this program for the future.
“The gender stereotypes that everyone has in place are being broken down because people are expanding scholarships such as the Bucs, the first to offer a scholarship for flag football,” Maker said. “It shows that people are changing, things are changing, and female athletes are going to have more access to financial aid.”
Maker, who studies at the University of Central Florida, said she wants to make a living in the legal field as a possible civil rights attorney and to create policies that will bring about equality in work environments and close wage gaps between men and women pro athletes.
Posted: Oct. 20
Football starts conditioning, practice
By Nicholas Rapalo, Staff Intern
Wearing masks, socially distancing, and being put into pods, student athletes returned to campus on Sept. 21 for football conditioning with a completely different routine than from the past.
“I think the most difficult thing would be just being separate from the rest of the team” senior Diego Orellana said.
Schools moved into phase 3 Oct. 12, allowing for sports-specific practices.
Conditioning was held Monday to Thursday for no more than 120 minutes per day. Athletes were put into groups called “pods” with as little interaction between pods as possible.
“It’s just different because you are used to practicing with the entire team,” Orellana said. “But it also makes it fun because since you are in a pod you talk to people that you might not talk to, and it gives us a chance of competing with the other pods to see which pod comes out more conditioned.”
Although it was difficult and hard to get used to, athletes had to keep physical distance between each other.
“We are all used to being together as a team and talking to each other but it gets easier as we get used to it,” Orellana said. “It takes away the ability to perform exercises that require a partner.”
Masks were required during check in and other close contact interaction, but not during exercises, in which athletes spread out at least 5 yards from each other. For safety, weight rooms were not authorized for use.
“I really think that they did a great job with taking the necessary measures to keep us all safe” Orellana said.
Posted: Oct. 19
Fall sports dates to know
By Javier Garcia, Sports Editor
As it stands as of September 21 fall sports have begun voluntary conditioning and will continue until tryout
dates on October 12.
Voluntary conditioning will just be 45 minute, equipment free sessions ran as frequent as the coach desires to, the coach(s) will have a mask on throughout the entirety of the practice and all will remain outdoors. So far, the only sport to actually conduct conditioning starting the 21 was fall football, and girls volleyball starting the week of Sep. 28.
These dates and details are prone to change and fluctuate so be sure to keep up with thetornadotimes.org for any changes that might come.
“These dates obviously can change at any day, especially with the county moving forward with plans,” Jason Frey, the school’s athletic director, said.
Miami heats up playoffs
By Eduardo Andrade, Editor in Chief
Things are heating up in Orlando as Miami takes a 2-0 series lead following a 116-114 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. The Heat, along with the Celtics, are now one of two teams undefeated in the playoffs.
After an underwhelming 3-5 record in the bubble seeding games, the Heat have been on an absolute tear, sweeping the Pacers and finishing each game with at least a comfortable 9-point margin, and now upsetting the number 1 seeded Bucks and reigning MVP Giannis Antentokounmpo twice in a row.
Butler has been an absolute delight to watch, from his astonishing improvement behind the three point line to his lockdown defence, he has made a mockery of everyone who questioned his dedication to winning when he came to Miami. Butler held Antetokounmpo to only 18 points with 6 turnovers in game one of the series, while simultaneously dropping 40 against the top ranked defense in the league. Not to mention his clutch game winning free-throw, which took its sweet time falling in, hitting the front iron twice, before eventually dropping in and sealing the game.
Watching Bam Adebayo play has been a breath of fresh air after years of trying to find a true center that was more than just a warm body. (Sorry Chris Bosh, but we all know you were meant to be a power forward), Adebayo is the antithesis of Whiteside’s game. Whereas Whiteside struggled to understand the concept of the pass and couldn’t guard anybody more than 6 feet from the basket, Adebayo’s playmaking skills are above and beyond for a center while his ability to guard any position is a key to the Heat’s defense. Two years ago Bam was missing open dunks and layups as I worried he might never develop a soft enough touch for the NBA. Now he’s hitting over the shoulder, under the basket, and – 1s while punishing any defender who gives him space in the mid-range, his ball-handling abilities and decent range allows him to control the ball in the midrange, opening up the paint for backdoor cuts he frequently finds.
Goran Dragic’s dramatic jump in production has been exciting but hardly surprising, Dragic is the type of veteran that makes the whole team around him better.
Tyler “Baby Goat” Herro has actually taken his game up a notch, a surprising sight for a rookie, while he still struggles defensively, his offensive prowess is exactly what the Heat’s offence needs off the bench. I will never understand how it is humanly possible for somebody to shoot off-balance threes as effectively as Duncan Robinson, who’s ability to stop on a dime as he cuts across the arc for a handoff is a thing of beauty.
As much as it pains me to say this, trading for Iguodala and Crowder has vastly improved our second unit and it was worth getting rid of the struggling Winslow for some win-now assets.
Erik Spoelstra is just absolute class when it comes to coaching. Spoelstra has been ahead of the curve when it comes to increased use of zone defense for years now, his out of bounds plays led to a final second win in game two against the Bucks and his defensive matchups has caused some serious issues for Milwaukee.
If Miami can beat the first seeded Bucks, then, in the words of Kevin Garrnet, anything is possible.
Posted: Sep. 2
Miami Marlins Counter COVID-19
By Javier Garcia, Sports Editor
It’s hard to do anything these days thanks to practicing social distancing due to the state our world is now, yet some professional sports have overcome that obstacle and then some.
Most sports have found an altered schedule or playing conditions to ‘bubble’ any involved and cutting out fans at the event entirely, as well as postponing their regular season of play.
However, for some, that was just the first hurdle. Sport leagues such as Major League Baseball came out with controlled and modified environments and not too much time in between launches, if any at all for some organizations. The MLB leaned on the heavier side of precautions and this ultimately resulted in players, whole teams even, being held from play in order to meet the new heightened hygiene standards.
17 Miami Marlins players would be of those who failed to meet the standards hours before their opening pitch on July 24 against the Philadelphia Phillies. With more than half their roster now ineligible to play the Miami Marlins called up 17 new faces like Monte Harrison to make their MLB debuts. This put athletes competing at their dream level for the first time against seasoned veterans, starting with all-star pitcher from the Phillies John Means. These athletes did not relinquish this opportunity however, walking off that field with a 4-0 win, proving they were not just thrown in to fill the roster to ensure the game will still go on for the people but rather take a spot as a professional athlete.
Moving forward the organization would like to handle this situation better especially with the attention on them now, but they also realize what this circumstance has given them, perhaps using the hungry and driven team to reshape.
“We’ve been given this opportunity to hit the reset button,” Derek Jeter, Miami Marlins CEO, said.
Posted: Aug. 26
Seniors say sayonara to soccer
By William Strachan, Staff Intern
The girls soccer team sent off its six seniors on Senior Night with a narrow 1-0 loss to South Plantation on Jan. 27. All six of the seniors served as captains during the game.
“It’s a nice send off from the sport I’ve played since I was seven,” senior forward Nikita Legakis said.
Legakis is preparing to study pre-med at Florida Atlantic University.
Senior central attacking midfielder Allison Cunneen said she was touched after three years of watching previous Senior Nights.
“I’ve always looked up to the older girls on the team so it was weird that it was for me this time,” Cunneen said. “It meant a lot being able to play on the team for four years but it also means a closing of this chapter of my life, but I’m excited for the next one.”
Senior central defensive midfielder Lily Monaghan said she had an emotional game knowing it was the last time she would play at home. Next year, Monaghan plans to attend Johns Hopkins University, majoring in biomedical engineering.
“I’ve played four years at this school,” Monaghan said. “It’s hard to imagine not being able to play here after this year.”
Posted Feb. 11
‘Mamba’ legacy goes on
By Eduardo Andrade, Managing Editor
It’s been a week since Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a tragic helicopter accident.
For most students, we were too young to appreciate Kobe in his prime, but he was still omnipresent, his legacy working his way into our lives.
We don’t have the same Kobe stories, we weren’t old enough to watch him win his first titles, and few can remember watching him pick up numbers four and five. What we have is his legacy, his aura of success.
His famed “Mamba Mentality” being something kids everywhere tried to replicate, he was what it meant to be unforgiving, dominant.
In every game of pickup basketball, everytime we discussed greats, every time someone aired a crumpled up ball of paper two feet short of the trash can, we heard his name.
Some only knew Kobe in purple and gold, as the guy to score the most points in a game since Wilt Chamberlain, dropping an obscene 81 points in a game against the Toronto Raptors. They knew him for five rings, an MVP award and two Olympic gold medals. For staying fiercely loyal to the same organization for 20 years and at 37 years old, after a grueling career, scoring 60 points in his final day on the job.
Others knew him for his work off the court, for writing a best selling novel and winning an Oscar. For his charity work, helping build homes and provide school programs to children and being a loving father to four daughters.
Regardless, he always seemed larger than life, invincible. Kobe went straight from high school and started sticking it to grown men, establishing himself as a star by his second year in the NBA. He epitomized winning, his name was synonymous with success.
His early death was a tragedy. After his retirement he still managed to capture hearts and minds with his show “Details” and his Oscar winning short film “Dear Basketball,” but he also was spending time with his family and coaching youth basketball.
While his life was cut short, his legacy lives on. The game of basketball and the world as a whole is forever better because of his presence.
Posted: Feb. 3
Girls basketball aims to build a stronger team
By Jordan Greene, Staff Intern
The girls basketball team lost 49-21 against Pines Charter last Thursday, January 16. Their record falls to 0-13 after this game.
“This game was really good… we moved around a lot” McKenzie Jewell, the team’s top scorer, said, “we did well passing the ball around and shooting”.
At half time, Pompano was down 31-12.
Head Coach Alex Jenkins said,“Tonight, actually, was a good game, it was one I think we could have won”.
Regardless of the team receiving 18 team fouls throughout the whole game.
Although about 80% of the team has never played before, Jenkins is still confidant and said, “I love the challenge”.
The team is anticipating for members to return next year so they can work on building the program. “Hopefully next year more people can come back,” Jewell said.
Coach Jenkins kept a positive attitude. He said “Although we have not won one game, we are still winning because we are learning”.
Girls soccer looks to unite for remainder of the season
By Samantha Bernstein, Staff Intern
Wednesday, January 8 the Pompano Beach girls’ soccer team lost 0-1 against Coral Glades.
“It’s not easy,” the goalie, Daniella Cale said.
The goal scored by Coral Glades was a penalty shot. It was one on one and Cale did her best to block the shot.
With only a few minutes remaining in the game, the girls tried to pass the ball down the field a get around Coral Glades defenders, but didn’t have enough time to tie it up.
“We definitely could’ve had more shots on goal it’s just hard when not everyone on the team is in it to play,” senior, Allison Cunneen said.
Cunneen thinks the team needs to focus on working together more as one. If everyone can make easy, quick, and solid passes, it would be easier to get around the other team.
Part of working together is talking with one another on the field.
“Communication is key,” Coach P said.
The team is continuing to improve and working extremely hard to do their best.
Football team finishes strong, beats Pembroke Pines 21-0
By Eduardo Andrade, Managing Editor
The boys football team won its final game of the year last Friday Nov. 1, beating Pembroke Pines Charter 21-0 and finishing the season with a 2-8 record. This cements a two win improvement over the last season, when the team failed to win any games.
The team had its first shutout in over two years, catching three interceptions and recovering four fumbles forcing a total of 7 turnovers.
Matching their defensive performance, the team also put up a season-high 21 points, with senior Nathan Pratt catching two touchdowns and senior Chad Singleton scoring on a 57-yard rush. Junior Brayden Larosee scored a two point conversion to put the team up 14-0 in the first quarter.
“They liked to talk a lot on the field but we kept quiet and beat them between the whistles,” said Larosee.
This talk culminated in the final seconds of the game, after a Pompano interception, a wide receiver for Pembroke Pines grabbed a safety going to block him and tossed him to the ground. Punches were thrown and a brawl erupted.
“They 100% started the fight,” Larosee said. “I was angry, as was everybody else. We worked hard and played clean to win and they try to fight us simply because we beat them. I can’t wait for the rematch next season.”
While the team feels it has improved over the past two seasons, they recognize a large part of their increased success comes from switching to a different conference.
“We are playing teams that are much closer to our skill level,” Larosee said.
While the team feels it could have done better this season, it is happy to have seen improvement it hopes to continue into next year.
“We wish we could have done better, won more games. But the team played their hearts out and gave a 100% on every play. Though our record won’t show that, the team really came together this season,” said Junior Nicholas Mickol, who sat out all ten games due to injury.
The 2-8 finish marks the teams best record since 2016.
“It feels great to be a part of it. It just shows that Pompano football is getting better,” Larosee said.
Posted Nov. 11
Meet the coach
Firth bringing football back
By Javier Garcia, Sports Editor
Johnathan Firth, after 14 years as a Broward County teacher and six years as an assistant high school football coach, took over the struggling program before spring practice last year. It’s been a long road for the Philadelphia native who attended Florida State University and graduated with a degree in English education.
“I came here for the sun, good times and no snow,” Firth said.
He started playing tackle football for a local city league at the age of four, which was slightly ahead of the curve for boys his age.
“You’re not supposed to start until you’re six, but my dad knew some people and got me started,” Firth said. “It was just a city league so they slid me in and let me play early.”
He played linebacker for Archbishop Ryan High School, and, although he did not play any sports for FSU, he played in a tackle league for adults.
“Think city league, but for adults, and Mr. Jenkins actually owned the team,” Firth said, “and Coach Frey was our kicker.”
Frey, now athletic director, would pass his name around among coaching staff, and Firth landed a position as defensive coordinator.
For the first three years under head coach Richard Nagy, Firth taught at Coral Springs High before he could get his foot in the door as teaching staff at this school in 2016, Nagy’s final year as head coach.
Firth coached for the first year of Nagy’s replacement, Melvin Jones, but was not part of the staff during last year’s 0-10 season.
“I took a year off and now I’m back,” Firth said.
One of the greatest challenges he and the team has faced this year is the depth, or more precisely the lack thereof.
“It makes things thinner, especially when you account (for) injuries,” Firth said.
Going forward, Firth thinks it is pivotal to rebuild and re-establish the team before any major movements can be done. With the large freshman class that composes the team this year he thinks he can do just that.
“I think a large freshman class was the biggest change, going from something like three (players) last year, to ten this year,” Firth said.
The entire roster increased this year from 17 players at the end of last year to 42 thus far.
Another important change is the team’s winning its first game in two years, and it was the small shift in momentum the team needed.
“I don’t want to dwell on one win, but you have to start somewhere,” Firth said.
Football team falls to Coral Springs Charter in homecoming game
By Eduardo Andrade, Managing Editor
The football team lost 49-20 against Coral Springs Charter at the homecoming game on Friday Sept. 27. The team fell to 1-5 on the season after this loss.
The 20 points matched a season high, possibly due to the return of quarterback Blake Loicano, who had missed games due to a foot injury.
“We just had our quarterback Blake step up,” senior Chase Troyer, who plays strong safety for the team, said.
Defensively, however, the team struggled, allowing 42 points by the third quarter alone.
“We could have played better,” Troyer said. “But, you know, we played as hard as we could.”
Senior Nathan Pratt caught two touchdowns for the team, both in the first half which, with the help of a two point conversion, allowed the team to keep the game close for a while, trailing at halftime 28-14.
However, in the third quarter Coral Springs Charter scored two touchdowns, including a 17-yard play on second and 27, which put them in a good position to score on fourth down on that same drive.
The game ended on a high note, with freshman William Strachan catching a touchdown pass in the final seconds.
“We can still win some games,” Troyer said. “We got the talent to do it; we just have to compete.”
Caption: Senior Nathan Pratt scores his second touchdown of the night against Coral Springs Charter. The team lost the Sept. 27 game 49-20.
Posted: Oct. 1
Don’t push your Luck: Athletes deserve support when retiring early
By Eduardo Andrade, Managing Editor
Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts has announced that he is retiring from football, citing health concerns and the mental toll of injuries and rehabilitation. This announcement came as a shock to the NFL and its fans with Luck retiring at the age of 29 after only six seasons in the league.
The decision to retire is not one that comes easily to most athletes. Many, in fact, do not have the luxury of deciding when their careers should end. Freak injuries and the inability to compete at the highest levels usually force people out of the jobs they loved.
However, there is a growing number of NFL players deciding to retire early due to health issues and long term health concerns. This is worrying for the NFL as many of these players are in the prime of their careers and are among the elite in their positions. Coming off of what was statistically one of his best seasons, Luck is the newest member of this group.
Luck made the NFL Pro-Bowl four times in his six year career, making it each year he played a full season, and was often called the face of the Colts franchise. With the average Pro-Bowl player retiring after 11.7 years in the NFL, according to statista.com, Luck is essentially halving his time in the NFL.
Despite the obvious difficulty and heartbreak some of these athletes face when deciding to cut their careers short, many people do not support their decision. As he walked off the field during a Colts preseason game against the Bears, Luck was met with boos from the crowd. He has faced criticism from pundits and fans alike.
Critics of Luck, who retired after years of injury and gruelling rehab limited his playtime and caused intense pain, question his “grit” and call him “soft,” expressing a “play through the pain” mentality as old as sports itself.
This mentality has done untold damage over the years. The stories of people like Frank Gifford, Dave Duerson, and Mike Webster speak for themselves. These players suffered dozens of head injuries, playing through concussions and other injuries for their teams. Now, all they have to show for their “toughness” and “dedication to the sport” is atrophied brain tissue and early graves as a result of CTE directly related to injuries sustained during their playing careers.
Other, less severe cases, also are unfavourable. Yao Ming, Brandon Roy and Bobby Orr all saw nagging injuries which culminated in unceremonious retirement after multiple short, unproductive and painful seasons.
Nobody envies how these careers came to a close. The alternative to Luck willingly stepping away from the sport he loved was to see it slowly do more and more damage to his physical and mental health. At best a few more painful seasons where he repeats the “cycle” of injury and rehab. At worst, severe injuries force him out and leave him debilitated beyond recovery.
That’s why Luck has seen nearly universal support from fellow athletes, those who can relate to what he is experiencing. That’s why Luck made the right decision when he announced his retirement.
Posted: Sept. 19