What's News?

Sports

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

sportsHocoPhoto_AndrE.jpg

Senior Nathan Pratt scores his second touchdown of the night against Coral Springs Charter. The team would go on to lose the game 49-20.

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

Saved by the Bell: Counselor makes big call in big game

By Emily Powell, Web and Business Editor

Counselor Grantis Bell, who serves as a Southeastern Conference football official on weekends, was called on for one of the most important games of the season: the College Football Playoff semifinal at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., on Dec. 30.

During this game, Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins made a one-handed catch toward the back of the end zone. Bell, the back judge, immediately signaled touchdown.

“You don’t even think about it,” Bell said. “You react, you go off of what you see, and then if it goes to replay and replay changes it, they change it.”

As part of his job, Bell could discuss the specifics of that call. But because of the importance of the call, it was immediately reviewed by officials in the reply booth. To the chagrin of Notre Dame coaches, players and fans, the booth upheld Bell’s on-the-spot call.

“Ninety-six percent of the time we (officials) make a call we’re right,” Bell said. “So at that time, you don’t pat yourself on the back because you’re getting ready for the next play.”

Posted: Feb. 19

Girls lacrosse season debuts with double-header

By Javier Garcia, Asst. Section Editor

On Feb. 9 the girls lacrosse team played two consecutive games at Fort Lauderdale High School. Their 28-person roster played South Plantation and Fort Lauderdale. There the girls, both experienced and new, got a feel for what this season holds for them as they will be playing both teams again in the regular season.

“It’s like I tell everyone, the first game is an eye opener and you can’t really say you experienced lacrosse until your fist game,” head coach Oscar Cifuentes said.

They played in four different heats which consisted of half-regulation game durations and ended the day 2-2, beating Fort Lauderdale both times and losing to South Plantation twice. They finished against Fort Lauderdale 2-0 the first time, and 1-0 the second time. Then lost to South Plantation 5-0, and 3-1.

With four goals scored in total by the end of the day the girls had no shame, considering they were still missing some starters on the field.

“We were missing four starters in total, but we really missed on of our best players, Erin (Wheaton),” said Coach Cifuentes.

Regardless, the team still showed out with Senior Claire Ries scoring three of the goals and Senior Britt Magee scoring the other.

The girls will be playing their first regular season game Feb. 20 at West Broward High School.

Posted: Feb. 11

Do you call the sport soccer or futbol?

Posted: Jan. 30

Cricket should be played in schools

sportslightningjpeg

By Julia Latchana, Asst. Section Editor

One sport that Americans don’t play and is very easy is cricket.

Cricket is a mix of baseball and golf and is much easier than both of those sports combined. The bowler rolls the ball to the opposing batsman, who has to hit the ball then run to score. The fielders try to stop and catch the ball to get the batsman out.

One of the main differences between baseball and cricket is that the bat is flat on both ends and not round. This is so that the person swinging it can easily hit the ball that is rolled towards them.

This makes cricket easier than baseball because it is less likely to miss a ball that is rolled on the ground than a ball that is flying through the air.

One of the main differences between golf and cricket is (insert the difference here)

This game is much easier and simpler than some of the sports that kids have to play in school and is good practice before playing sports that it’s similar to like baseball.

Posted: Dec. 10

Quidditch should be played in school

sportslightningjpeg

By Julia Latchana, Asst. Section Editor

Quidditch is a sport that seems relatively impossible with the aspect of flying but is actually played by muggles. Some of the top universities in the country, like Harvard, have their own Quidditch teams. So why don’t we play it?

It would be an easy and fun game to play that would let students get in some sort of physical activity while simultaneously doing something that is worthwhile.

Harry Potter’s version of Quidditch involves flying broomsticks, three goalposts, a snitch, two bludgers, and one quaffle. The snitch is a small golden ball that flies and has to be caught in order to end the game. Bludgers are two flying balls that are thrown at the players in order to distract them. The quaffle is a ball that is thrown through the hoops in order to score.

There are seven players per team: a seeker whose job is to catch the snitch, a keeper that stops the other team from scoring with the quaffle, two beaters that have bats to hit the boulders at players, and three chasers who have to score with the quaffle.

While the flying and magic components to the game can’t be used in real life, there are substitutes.

The Muggle version of Quidditch is usually played with all of the players running around with broomsticks between their legs. As a substitute for the snitch, a tennis ball is placed in a pouch and attached it to someone whose job it is to protect the “snitch” from the seekers. A volleyball is used as the quaffle and a slightly deflated dodgeball is used as the bludger and is thrown at the players.

If a player is hit by the “bludger”, then they have been knocked out and have to dismount from their broom, drop anything in their hands, and go touch the goalposts before resuming the game.

In the real game, the snitch is worth 150 points and the quaffle is worth ten points. In the Muggle version, the snitch is worth 30 points and the quaffle is worth 10.

If you really wanted to include more players, you could get people to play as the bludgers and the snitch and have them tackle other players or be tackled.

Playing Muggle Quidditch would probably be a lot safer than sports like football because there would be less risk of head injuries. The bludger is deflated so that when thrown at players it causes less harm and pain. While the players are able to tackle other players, it is less likely to get a concussion because no one is intent at charging at people. The broomstick between the players’ legs is used as a restriction to what the players can and cannot do. You can’t properly charge at the person with a stick between your legs.

And since the game is really simple, the less athletically inclined students might actually be able to win.

Posted: Nov. 26

Boys booted by Taravella

IMG_7943

Junior Christian Torres dribbles around Taravella defenders during its Nov. 19 game. The team lost to 2-1, falling to an 0-4 record. Photo by Eduardo Andrade

By Eduardo Andrade, Asst. Section Editor

The boys soccer team lost 2-1 against Taravella High in its Nov. 19 matchup at home, dropping to 0-4 on the season.

After the team conceded two goals early, freshman Avondre Walters scored from inside the box for the team’s only goal in the second half of the game.

“I was just thinking, ‘Yes, I finally did something good on the team,’” Walters said.

The team’s improvement in the second half was due to better communication between the players and continued effort on the pitch.

“We started talking more, communicating with each other and just staying positive,” junior Christian Torres said.

Team captain Nicholas Esposito, junior, was happy with the team’s efforts on the field despite the early deficit.

“You just gotta fight and try to make it back,” Esposito said. “We tried.”

Moving on with the season, the team looks to build chemistry and confidence in each other to play more cohesively as a unit.

“Our chemistry right now isn’t so great, so we’re probably just gonna hang out a little bit more,” Torres said.

The team hopes to pick up its first win of the season next game against Deerfield at home on Nov. 26.

Posted: Nov. 19

Swim team members advance to states

By Charlotte Hood, Section Editor

Sixteen students from the varsity swim teams competed in the FHSAA Regional Swimming and Diving Meet on Nov. 10, with the boys team placing 2nd overall and the girls placing 8th. 15 will advance and compete in the state competition on Nov. 17.

“I’m just proud of myself that I was able to get this far,” freshman diver Christina Hilton said.

Head Coach Michael Judd hopes to improve upon the school’s placings from previous years at the state meet.

“On the guys side of things, we finished fifth at states last year and we would love to bump that up to the top three this year,” Judd said.

Judd’s goal for the team throughout the season is to continuously improve upon the skills of the members.

“Are goal is always, when we advance from one meet to the next, is just improve,” Judd said. “We want to swim faster as the season goes on.”

Posted on Nov. 14

Swim team hosts senior night graduating members

By Charlotte Hood, Section Editor

Senior Night is an age-old tradition for all senior athletes and the boys and girls swim team showed no sign of breaking it, hosting a ceremony after their Oct. 10 meet against Cardinal Gibbons that included music, food and various gifts and remembrances for the senior members.

“They gave us baskets for college readiness and… blankets with our names on them,” senior swimmer Tiffany De Faria said. “It was really fun to see because all the underclassmen organized it for us.”

Along with such gifts, underclassman also showed their love for their seniors by presenting them with gold crowns.

“When I was coming home I felt all powerful. I was wearing my crown with my name on it and I just felt super happy,” senior swimmer Alexandra Mikhailau said.

As a final farewell to the seniors both underclassman and head coach Michael Judd left them with words of endearment and encouragement.

“Coach Judd gave us a speech and called out everyone and gave a special little ‘blerb’ about each one of us,” Mikhailau said.

Posted Oct. 15

Christensen clubs competition

By Madison Tappa, Asst. Web and Business Editor

Senior Thomas Christensen is looking to build off of last season’s 11th-place finish at the state golf tournament last year.

“States was a cool experience,” Christensen said. “I enjoyed playing the course and doing stuff with my dad and Mr. Hammond.”

Christensen, who has enjoyed playing golf for over 10 years, qualified for states by winning regionals. “My favorite part was just getting to play especially since I had just missed out the year before, so I appreciated that I was there to begin with,” Christensen said.

Mr. Hammond, the boys golf team coach is particularly fond of Christensen.

“If he wanted to go on a tour, he most definitely could,” Mr. Hammond said. “He’s the best golfer I’ve ever coached in my life.”

Christensen also has some golf-teammates who are very fond of him as well.

“Thomas is a very skilled golfer. He really has helped me improve on my chipping.” senior Kaitlyn Bergeron said.

“Thomas a plus two handicap and his lowest round is 65.” sophomore and sister Heidi Christensen said about his golfing skills.

Although Christensen enjoys golf as his favorite extracurricular activity, he also enjoys some other activities as well such as debate, Interact club and other sports.

“I have played lots of sports other than golf in my lifetime including baseball, basketball, football and soccer,” Christensen said. “I enjoyed all of them, but was never as serious about them as I am with golf.”

Mr. Hammond is not only fond of Christensen’s golfing skills but his behavior as well.

“He’s extremely intelligent, one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.” Mr. Hammond said.

Christensen even plans to make golfing his career after college.

“My goal in life is to become a professional because I know I can get good enough and I enjoy spending my time playing this sport,” Christensen said.

Posted: Oct. 15

Spikers place 3rd in Key West

VarsityVolleyballKeyWest_LatcJ

The girls varsity volleyball team poses for a group photo in Key West before starting a tournament Sept. 7-9. The team earned third place out of 12 schools. Photo courtesy of Georgia Brown

The girls varsity volleyball team poses for a group photo in Key West before starting a tournament Sept. 7-9. The team earned third place out of 12 schools. Photo by Georgia Brown

By Julia Latchana, Asst. Section Editor

The varsity girls volleyball team placed third overall out of the 12 schools at the Key West tournament over the weekend.

“I feel like as a team we really had a learning experience, traveling and playing against different schools that are not normally in our district.” senior outside hitter and middle back defender Madison Bobes said.

The team won three games, but lost its semi-final to Park Vista with a score of 25-21.

“Even though we placed third, we played as hard as we could and competed with some of the top schools, even private schools, which have an advantage, and as the underdogs, we pushed through,” Bobes said.

The next home game is at 6 p.m. on Tuesday against American Heritage.

Posted Sept. 10

Mega Bowl leaves boys mega-bummed

sportslightningjpeg

By Emily Powell, Web and Business Editor

The first game of the 2019 football season occurred Aug. 24 against Monarch and, just like last year, Monarch won by a landslide: 44-0. During the game, players snapped at each other on the bench, but they and the coaches have come up with strategies to improve their teamwork as well as how they played.

“We as a team could’ve done better,” senior offensive/defensive lineman Corey Little said. “We should use this game as a way to see our mistakes and to show in what areas we have to improve.”

Players brainstormed ways to improve the way they play as a team.

“Going into our next game, we must communicate our assignments better and truly know our playbook in order to play to the best of our ability,” Little said.

Junior outside linebacker/running back Brandon Trueba also agrees that the results of this game were not the greatest, but says that no matter who they play and what the results are, their overall strategy remains the same, along with a few simple changes.

“The timidness of last game is the biggest thing we need to leave in the past in order to excel,” Trueba said. “We need to be aggressive and not be scared or timid as some people were that game.”

Head coach Melvin Jones said that he and the new coaching staff didn’t anticipate these results at all.

“The season is still very young, and we have a lot of work to do,” Jones said.

With the next game in mind, 4 p.m., Sept. 7 at Hollywood Hills, Jones and the staff have thought of different strategies to prepare the boys for a win.

“I would like us to settle down and sound Golden Tornadoes football,” Jones said. “We must eliminate the mental errors and execute our assignments in the situations that we are put in.”

As the season progresses, the coaches and team would like to move on from the errors that occurred in the Mega Bowl and are determined that the next game against Hollywood Hills will prove that they used their strategies well, as well as provide hope for a winning season.

“As coaches, we always stress the four pillars of our organization,” Jones said. “If we ‘Stay in the Moment,’ ‘Dare to be Uncommon,’ ‘Live as a FAMILY’ and ‘Hold the Rope,’ our season will be a complete success.”

Posted: Sep. 3

Girls volleyball team narrowly loses to St. Thomas

IMG_0276

The girls volleyball team celebrates a point during its game against St. Thomas Aquinas in the gym on Aug. 28. The team lost 3-1 to the Raiders, one of last year’s Class 8A state semifinalists. Picture by Amanda Marsenison

By Eduardo Andrade, Asst. Section Editor

The girls volleyball team started its season 0-1 against St. Thomas, losing 3-1 at home on Aug. 28.

“We definitely could have kept our energy higher,” senior Madison Bobes said.

The team was able to keep the score close throughout the match, except for the third set which St. Thomas won 25-15.

“We just let go of our serves, which is usually what we were dominating with,” Bobes said.

The visiting team faced many taunts, with some of the Pompano crowd chanting “free education” and trying to distract the opposing team captain. Last year, Aquinas made it to the semifinals of the Class 8A state championship.

The JV team lost 2-0 earlier that evening.

“It was horrible,” Coach William Strachan said about the JV game.

The team will play Archbishop McCarthy at home on Sept. 6.

Posted: Aug. 29

%d bloggers like this: