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Dave Hyde: Jalen Ramsey’s big plays signal a changed Dolphins defense — and changed team identity?

Sun, 11/19/2023 - 17:43

MIAMI GARDENS -— Tired?

“Fatigued,” Jalen Ramsey said.

Happy?

“I’m that, too.”

The face of victory held a tired smile sitting at his locker, ice packs on both knees, nearly an hour after his second interception ended the Miami Dolphins’ 20-13 win against the Las Vegas Raiders.

“That’s just what I do,” he said.

Is this who they are, too? Has their identity changed when no one was looking? Coach Mike McDaniel was talking about a changed strategy — punting on fourth-and-short late in the game — with the way this defense played.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was making the larger point in saying the defense, “willed us through this game.” Another game, actually.

In what’s either the latest phase in a long season or a snapshot of who this team has become, the Dolphins defense carried the lumber again in November while the offense’s mystique is washing away. Or maybe November is a more accurate reflection of who this offense is?

The question now is who this offense becomes. The Dolphins aren’t the only one asking this. The only AFC offense looking special right now is in Baltimore. Come January, who else will emerge?

“We’ll look a lot better when I quit making turnovers,” said Tagovailoa after his fumble and interception were part of a three-turnover day for Miami.

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If that’s true, the full truth involves much more to the point November is revealing who the Dolphins are — and what they need to work on.

Their defense has stacked strong performances on each other. Fourteen points against New England (another three from an offensive turnover). Fourteen points against Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City (seven more from a Chiefs’ defensive touchdown).

On Sunday, this defense did to the 31st-ranked Raiders attack exactly what a good defense should. It gave up seven points. Six more points came off turnovers by the Dolphins offense at their 31- and 32-yard line.

The defense contained the damage to field goals. Exactly like they should if they’re a top defense, but precisely like they weren’t in September while learning Vic Fangio’s defense and having some secondary injuries.

“There was some soul-searching to be done,” edge rusher Bradley Chubb said. “Nothing bad, but we didn’t feel like we were playing to our standard. It’s coming together a lot better.”

On Sunday, there was defensive end Jaelan Phillips with six tackles, one-and-a-half sacks and an interception. There was defensive tackle Christian Wilkins tackling a receiver 40 yards downfield.

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There, too, was Ramsey making the kind of big plays he’s brought to this defense since returning from injury. These plays turn a good defense into something dominant.

“I don’t know which interception was more impressive,” left tackle Terron Armstead said.

Was it the diving one in front of Raiders receiver Tre Tucker that set up a third-quarter field goal? Or the game-ending one in the end zone where he jumped over a few players and went down hard to the point trainers came out to look at him?

That didn’t even cover a fourth-down play in the fourth quarter where Ramsey cut of the Raiders receiver and actually had the better chance at the ball.

“Mr. Gold Jacket,” Armstead called him in reference to a Hall of Fame wardrobe.

“I think the whole team has gotten a little bit better since he’s (returned from injury),” McDaniel said. “That’s the type of effect that players of that caliber can have on people.”

So, while the Dolphins offense had three turnovers to keep Sunday’s game close the defense closed with three turnovers to seal it. Ramsey was a plus-2 by himself.

“I’m personally not like an analytics guy, but I think the analytics are like if you’re plus-2, you’ve got an 80-percent change of winning,” Ramsey said. “But in the same token if you hold a team to under 17 points then you’ve got an 80-percent chance of winning.

“I guess it’s kind of pick your poison. Would you rather have a lot of turnovers or a locked-down defense? Obviously, you want both.”

The Dolphins had both on Sunday. Sure, it was against a bad Raiders offense. But it was in keeping with a changed November identity for the Dolphins. The offense now has to catch up to the defense.

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  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa looks to throw against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle catches a pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle runs for yards after a catch against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa looks to throw against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Fans cheer as the Miami Dolphins take on the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa fakes a hand off to running back Raheem Mostert against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa runs with the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa runs with the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is brought down by Miami Dolphins safety Jevon Holland and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Connor Williams and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa before a play against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins running back Salvon Ahmed runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins running back Salvon Ahmed celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Fans cheer as the Miami Dolphins take on the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hands the ball off to running back Raheem Mostert against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert runs with the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert runs with the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins sacks Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa before a play against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa scrambles against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa throws against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill bobbles a catch while under pressure against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell is hit by Miami Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips and linebacker Bradley Chubb during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey intercepts a pass intended for Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Tre Tucker during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey lays on the ground after intercepting a pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey gestures after intercepting a pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

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Chris Perkins: Tip your hat to Dolphins’ run game, which finally showed its gritty, physical side

Sun, 11/19/2023 - 17:20

MIAMI GARDENS — At first glance it’d be tough to say the Miami Dolphins had a good rushing performance in Sunday’s 20-13 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. They were almost 48 yards shy of their season-long per game rushing average, and didn’t come anywhere near their 5.9 yards per carry average.

The Las Vegas Raiders defense, Dolphins players tell me, was pretty good on Sunday.

“It was tough sledding,” left tackle Terron Armstead said. 

But let’s go one layer deeper into Miami’s 28-carry, 99-yard rushing total that averaged 3.5 yards per carry and see why it could be considered a landmark rushing performance.

The Dolphins offense, a finesse offense that has rarely displayed any physicality, used a grind-it-out running game to lead a winning, ball-control offensive effort. That’s impressive, and something that will likely be needed again to make the playoffs and in the postseason.

Speedy running back Raheem Mostert led the way with 86 yards on 22 carries. His longest run, and Miami’s longest run, was 10 yards. You don’t typically see such a short longest run from the 2023 Dolphins.

“It was fairly physical,” Mostert said. “I’ve got back spasms right now. That’s the first time that’s happened.” 

Here’s the big takeaway: Miami’s run game showed a side we’ve rarely seen.

Somewhat surprisingly, Miami’s run game, which began play Sunday tied for second in the NFL at 147.9 yards rushing per game and led the league at 5.9 yards per carry, met the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust challenge.

“Sometimes it’s going to be a street fight, you’ve got to grind it out,” reserve tackle Kendall Lamm, a nine-year veteran, said.

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The Dolphins (7-3), whose offense is fueled by the big play, lost rookie running back De’Von Achane, one their big-play kings, in the first quarter to a knee injury.

It was a disappointing loss because Achane, who totaled 12.1 yards per carry and 460 yards rushing in four games, was expected to put a spark in the Dolphins offense upon Sunday’s return from a four-game stay on the injured reserve list.

Not only that, it marks another time that Achane, who checks in at “just” 5-foot-9, 188 pounds, has been hurt. He was slammed to the ground hard twice against Houston in preseason, and then he sustained his first knee injury against the New York Giants, seemingly after being tackled and landed upon by defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

Now comes another Achane injury.

This was one was especially worrisome because veteran running back Jeff Wilson Jr., recently activated from the injured reserve list, was a healthy scratch.

Then, in the third quarter, running back Salvon Ahmed went down with an undisclosed injury. He didn’t return although he said after the game he was OK.

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Still, with the injuries to Achane and Ahmed, and with Wilson being inactive, Mostert was the only healthy back in a game Miami never led by more than four points until cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s interception with 25 seconds left.

The fact that Miami’s run game was effective shows grit, determination and skill. And they did it against a unit that gave a strong effort. Listen to Armstead, who isn’t one who tends to embellish.

“The Raiders did a great job,” he said. “That defense plays fundamentally sound, gap sound. The back end is tied into the pass rush. Those linebackers run and pursue. It was a tough challenge, that defense was playing really well. They did a good job.”

So did the Dolphins.

The running backs, the offensive line, the wide receivers, the tight ends, everyone had to find a way to get the job done, and they showed they’re capable.

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So even though the defense will probably get a massive amount of credit for producing three turnovers, two on amazing interceptions by Ramsey, don’t forget to acknowledge the edge and physicality the run game showed.

It’ll likely be needed again later this season and in the playoffs.

“They schemed us up pretty well,” fullback Alec Ingold said. “We obviously had some physical plays on the edge with our running backs. There weren’t the big chunk plays, but it’s encouraging to see an offense get three or four yards a carry against a tough-sledding defense.

“You’ve got to be able to execute a number of different ways in this league and I think we showed there’s a lot of confidence that if there aren’t the big plays we’re still able to put up 300, 400 yards of offense. We just do it in different ways.”

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa looks to throw against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle catches a pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle runs for yards after a catch against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa looks to throw against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Fans cheer as the Miami Dolphins take on the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa fakes a hand off to running back Raheem Mostert against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa runs with the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa runs with the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is brought down by Miami Dolphins safety Jevon Holland and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Connor Williams and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa before a play against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins running back Salvon Ahmed runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins running back Salvon Ahmed celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Fans cheer as the Miami Dolphins take on the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hands the ball off to running back Raheem Mostert against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert runs with the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert rushed for a physical 86 yards on 22 tough carries in Miami's 20-13 victory over Las Vegas on Sunday. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins sacks Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa before a play against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa scrambles against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa throws against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill bobbles a catch while under pressure against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell is hit by Miami Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips and linebacker Bradley Chubb during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey intercepts a pass intended for Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Tre Tucker during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey lays on the ground after intercepting a pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey gestures after intercepting a pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

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American Heritage sophomore QB Bell scorches King’s Academy for five TDs | Results, regional final schedule

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 21:40

DELRAY BEACH — American Heritage sophomore quarterback Dia Bell accounted for five touchdowns and the Patriots cruised past King’s Academy 49-7 in a Class 2M regional semifinal on Saturday night.

American Heritage (9-1) will host Cardinal Gibbons in a Class 2M regional final.

The regional semifinal contest was rescheduled and played at American Heritage’s Delray Beach campus due to field conditions in Plantation.

Bell, a first-year starter with the Patriots, had three passing touchdowns and rushed for another two scores.

“Dia is very talented with a big arm,” American Heritage coach Mike Smith said. “The game has been starting to slow down for him and he is staying calm and  making really good decisions. He has control of the offense and is processing the game really well.”

American Heritage, which had to replace several impact starters and seniors from last year’s run as the state runner-up, have scored 112 combined points in two playoff victories. American Heritage crushed North Broward Prep 63-13 in the regional quarterfinal.

“It’s been a work in progress this season with a lot of young guys needing experience and game reps,” Smith said. “I knew it was going to take time. At our skill positions, we have a lot of weapons and our guys have stepped up. We are getting into a good rhythm. We are peaking at the right time.”

Junior running back Deandre Desinor also rushed for two touchdowns in the victory.

American Heritage led 9-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Patriots pulled away in the second quarter and had a 36-7 advantage at halftime.

Bell opened the scoring with a touchdown run and junior kicker Gavin Harvey added a field goal in the first quarter for the Patriots.

King’s Academy junior quarterback Joe Dailey rushed for a 55-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 9-7 with 11:02 left in the second quarter.

American Heritage responded as Bell fired a 9-yard scoring pass to sophomore wide receiver Malachi Toney in the left corner of the end zone to increase the lead to 16-7 with 8:17 left in the second.

Desinor rushed for a 20-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 22-7 with 6:19 left in the first half.

The Patriots scored again on their next possession as Bell connected with sophomore wide receiver Jeffar Jean-Noel for a 12-yard score to push the lead to 29-7.

Bell stepped up again with a 9-yard touchdown run to make it 36-7 late in the first half.

American Heritage scored on the first play to open the second half. Bell delivered a deep pass to sophomore wide receiver Brandon Bennett for a 49-yard score. Desinor added a touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the Patriots.

King’s Academy (9-3) had  cruised past Somerset Academy Canyons 49-7 in the regional quarterfinal. The Lions, which captured a district championship earlier in the season, were led by junior quarterback Joe Dailey, senior running back Marion Victor, senior wide receiver Reggie Workman and junior wide receiver Javian Jones.

“We have played fearless all year and it’s been a good season,” King’s Academy coach Dan Burack said. “We made too many mistakes and we knew we had to play a perfect game. We did not quit and we kept fighting.  I am proud of our team.”

Regional semifinal results

Friday

Class 4M

Palm Beach Central 34, Boca Raton 28

Monarch 50, Santaluces 27

Western 19, Palmetto 9

Class 3M

St. Thomas Aquinas 40, Blanche Ely 0

Coconut Creek 24, West Boca 17

Miramar 31, Belen Jesuit 7

Class 1M

Cardinal Newman 28, Benjamin 6

Chaminade-Madonna 67, Avant Garde 0

Class 1R

Williston 52, Pahokee 17

Saturday

Class 2M

Cardinal Gibbons 34, Calvary Christian 9

American Heritage 49, King’s Academy 7

Regional final matchups

Friday, Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. unless noted

Class 4M

2. Palm Beach Central vs. 1. Monarch at Coconut Creek High School

3. Western vs. 1. Columbus at Tropical Park, 4 p.m.

Class 3M

3. Coconut Creek at 1. St. Thomas Aquinas

3. Miramar at 1. Homestead

Class 2M

2. Cardinal Gibbons at 1. American Heritage

Class 1M

2. Cardinal Newman at 1. Chaminade-Madonna

Florida loses QB Graham Mertz, falls on closing FG at Missouri

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 21:28

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The losses continue to pile up for the Florida football team, but a 33-31 defeat at No. 9 Missouri was the ultimate gut punch during the Gators’ four-game skid including close calls against Arkansas and LSU the past two weeks.

A 30-yard field goal by Harrison Mevis with five seconds remaining ended UF’s upset bid behind backup quarterback Max Brown, who replaced the injured Graham Mertz after the starter sustained a non-displaced fracture of the collarbone during the third quarter, according to coach Billy Napier.

The underdogs Gators (5-6, 3-5 SEC) had a chance to put away the Tigers (9-2, 5-2). But a 27-yard pass on 4th-and-17 from Brady Cook to star receiver Luther Burden III to the UF 40 kept alive the Tigers’ game-winning drive and ultimately undercut a gutsy performance down the stretch by Napier’s squad.

Completions of 11 and 16 yards then moved Mizzou to the UF 13 to set up Mevis.

“It’s a challenge to be prepared to play physically, mentally and emotionally when you come up short a couple weeks in a row,” Napier said. “We’re going to see that there’s opportunities, things we could have done better as a staff, and certainly opportunities for players to make plays. But they battled.”

With nothing to lose, the Gators had a chance to salvage their season against the surging Tigers with the day’s biggest upset in college football.

Florida coach Billy Napier watches his team against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday in Columbia. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Even with Mertz sidelined in street clothes, the Gators rallied behind Brown and sophomore star running back Trevor Etienne Saturday night at Faurot Field.

“You can’t compliment the kids enough,” Napier said. “Didn’t tuck their tails and run away. Nobody ran and hid. Let’s put the backup in and let’s go.”

A 35-yard field goal by Trey Smack gave UF a 31-30 lead with 1:36 remaining and was the seventh of eight lead changes, including four during a wild third quarter after a lackluster first half with Missouri leading 13-6.

But with UF trailing 23-21 Mertz headed to the locker room and with him seemingly the Gators’ hopes for victory. Brown entered the game for the first significant action of his college career.

“You’re always one play away,” Brown said. “You’ve got to stay ready.”

Florida backup quarterback Max Brown looks to pass during the Gators’ 33-31 loss at No. 9 Missouri Nov. 18 at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium in Columbia. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

In a continuing theme during a disappointing 2023 season, Napier’s team put up a fight even while Brown suffered some growing pains. A botched handoff with Montrell Johnson Jr. on the 15-yard line ended a Gators’ scoring bid. Two plays later, Tigers receiver Theo Wease Jr. scored on a 77-yard touchdown catch.

“That’s the one that gets me,” Napier said of the fumble. “There’s a lot going through a young man’s mind. It’s simple, simple fundamentals.

“It’s a play that he’s run multiple times in his career.”

Brown made no excuses.

“It’s 100 percent on me,” he said. “I got to be better mechanically.”

But the Gators answered behind Brown and Etienne.

A 5-yard completion to Kahleil Jackson on 4th-and-4 from the UF 31 kept alive a drive featuring runs of 11 and 12 yards by Brown followed by runs of 13 and 9 yards by Etienne, the second run for a touchdown to cut the lead to 30-28.

Florida tailback Trevor Etienne runs in for a touchdown during the Gators’ 33-31 loss at No. 9 Missouri Nov. 18 in Columbia. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)Etienne, who finished with 119 yards from scrimmage, gave the Gators’ a 14-13 lead to open the second half on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Mertz. It was his 20th touchdown throw of the season and surely his last.

Mertz’s durability and toughness have been his calling card as much as his SEC-leading accuracy and veteran leadership. Mertz once again did the No. 15 jersey proud, channeling his inner Tim Tebow on an 11-yard keeper with UF facing 3rd-and-5 from its UF 30.

Mertz, though, paid the price for running over over two Missouri defenders before two more took him to the ground. The redshirt junior left the game one play later, pointing to his left clavicle, and soon headed to the locker room for X-rays.

“What a play! What a competitor!” Napier said.

Mertz’s injury came on a night when Florida State’s Jordan Travis suffered a gruesome leg injury a week before the Gators and the Seminoles will meet in the Swamp.

The odds were stacked against the Gators against the SEC’s most surprising team.

UF entered an 11-point underdog facing long odds at every turn. Missouri arrived with momentum, a balanced attack, a defense stocked with playmakers and a sell-out crowd of 62,621.

But the Gators pushed the Tigers to the finish, given Napier hope for the future.

“Gotta believe there’s some good comes from it,” he said. “But right now we got a bunch of kids that are hurting — hurting in here. There’s a lot of guys who played their butts off out there tonight.”

Edgar Thompson can be reached at egthompson@orlandosentinel.com

After QB Jordan Travis carted off with leg injury, No. 4 Seminoles rout North Alabama

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 20:54

By BOB FERRANTE

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State lost star quarterback Jordan Travis to a significant leg injury and trailed by two touchdowns late in the first quarter. The Seminoles were clearly emotional, yet quickly responded and rallied around backup Tate Rodemaker, who guided the Seminoles to a 58-13 win over North Alabama on Saturday night.

Travis, who graduated high school from Benjamin in North Palm Beach, suffered the injury on a run up the middle late in the first quarter. After an air cast was placed on the leg, Travis was carted off.

“Jordan went down. That was something that nobody ever wants to see — a player go down,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “I don’t have any updates on it tonight. But I was proud of the way our guys responded throughout the course of the game.”

Rodemaker completed 13 of 23 passes for 217 yards with touchdown passes to Keon Coleman and Caziah Holmes as the Seminoles (11-0) won their 17th straight game while trying to maintain the No. 4 spot in the College Football Playoff standings.

The redshirt junior came into the game with 70 career passes, and it was the most notable playing time he has seen since relieving an injured Travis to help Florida State win at Louisville in September 2022.

“What he did, where he located the ball, he made a couple of great decisions just in progressions and read,” Norvell said. “He showed all the work he has been putting in. He was ready for his moment when his number was called.”

Despite a few drops that stalled some drives, Rodemaker showed composure when forced into a pressure-packed moment — and he could be facing more of those with a matchup at Florida and an ACC title game to come if Travis indeed is out for the coming weeks.

“He has been prepping for this,” tailback Lawrance Toafili said. “I know he is ready. He is ready to step up to the plate.”

CJ Campbell had a 70-yard touchdown run while Trey Benson, Holmes and Toafili added TD runs.

Senior defensive back Jarrian Jones forced a fumble to set up a first-half touchdown, and his second-half interception set up another score in what was his final home game.

“Florida State really made me a man,” Jones said. “I feel like I went through my hardest trials and tribulations here. I’m forever indebted to Florida State and forever will be a Nole.”

UNA quarterback Noah Walters completed 13 of 26 passes with touchdown throws to Takairee Kennebrew, his 10th of the season, and J.J. Evans.

But UNA (3-8) punted nine times.

POLL IMPLICATIONSFlorida State should hold its No. 4 spot in the CFP standings, although undefeated Washington has an argument to move up following a win over Oregon State.

CHAMPIONS HONOREDA large group of Florida State’s 2013 seniors returned to Tallahassee for a reunion weekend. The group welcomed the current team at Legacy Walk before the game. Jameis Winston was honored after the first quarter, and the team was introduced to the crowd at halftime.

HOME, SWEET HOMEFlorida State finished the 2023 home schedule 6-0. It was the first time since the 2013-15 seasons that the Seminoles were unbeaten at Doak Campbell Stadium. During the 1990s, Florida State didn’t lose at home in 1990, as well as 1992-99 (including the 1994 tie with Florida).Norvell has also improved to 7-0 in the last two Novembers.

TAKEAWAYSNorth Alabama: The Lions had 172 offensive yards on their first three drives, including a pair of touchdowns. UNA finished with 226 offensive yards.Florida State: The Seminoles racked up 521 offensive yards, their fifth game surpassing the 500-yard mark.

UP NEXTNorth Alabama: Season complete.Florida State: The Seminoles play at Florida on Saturday.

 

Winderman’s view: Support system fails Heat’s Butler, Adebayo in Chicago

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 20:36

CHICAGO — Observations and other notes of interest from Saturday night’s 102-97 loss to the Chicago Bulls:

– For all the support Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler have received in recent games, this was not one of those nights.

– Haywood Highsmith was quiet.

– Kevin Love was short on his shot.

– Jaime Jaquez was in foul trouble.

– Until a driving dunk in the third period, Caleb Martin continued to look like a player looking for his legs.

– And Duncan Robinson returned to earth.

– It was the type of night that made you realize what was missing.

– And why Tyler Herro matters.

– Because Adebayo and Butler need reliable help.

– No, it doesn’t have to be through the rumor mill.

– But rather a way to work Herro successfully back into the mix when he’s back from his ankle sprain.

– Because the highwire act of close victories has its limitations.

– It shouldn’t always have to be the wait of when Butler returns in the fourth quarter.

– And Adebayo shouldn’t have to make every shot.

– Not should Butler have to come to the rescue with 3-pointers.

– The Heat again opened with Adebayo, Highsmith, Butler, Robinson and Kyle Lowry.

– There was a mix of cheers and boos when Butler was introduced.

– Highsmith’s first steal was the 50th of his career.

– Inactive for the Heat were Herro, Nikola Jovic, Jamal Cain, Cole Swider and R.J. Hampton, with the latter four in the G League.

– Dennis Rodman delivered the game ball before the opening tip.

– Love and Jaquez again entered together as the Heat’s first two reserves.

– Josh Richardson followed.

– And then Martin for nine deep.

– Martin was short on his first four attempts.

– But then came the dunk that calmed concerns about the knees.

– Followed later by a 3-point conversion.

– Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Martin came out of Thursday’s return in good shape from a 10-game layoff due to knee pain.

– “Very good,” he said. “He’s ready to go again, same type of deal. There’s no minutes restriction, but we want to keep him going in the right direction.”

– Spoelstra said the seven-game winning streak the Heat brought into the game was not a pregame talking point.

– “We didn’t even talk about the win streak,” he said. “It’s more about being on the road again and setting a tone for the road trip. You have to expect it to be tough when you’re on the road, and challenging. And if you embrace all of that, these can be gratifying wins.”

– Asked at the morning shootaround about Bulls coach Billy Donovan, Spoelstra reflected back to the days when Donovan was nearby as University of Florida coach.

– “He’s a great leader, terrific thinker,” Spoelstra said. “I think that’s what I’ve always been drawn to when I met up with him. It’s been a few years. That’s the unfortunate thing, now that we’re in the same league. There was always nights when he was in college, when you’d get together and just talk shop. He’s always striving to look at things differently and innovate.”

– Spoelstra added, “He’s very creative, very innovative, and I always enjoyed my time with him.”

– Spoelstra would not engage regarding the struggles the Bulls brought into the game.

– “It’s early,” Spoelstra said. “Everybody overreacts to everything. You go through periods of time in the season where things aren’t going your way and it changes very quickly, just like it did with us.”

– Adebayo said the Heat focus was internal.

– “Keep going on these road trips, keep collecting these Ws,” he said.

– Of the Heat entering on a seven-game winning streak, Donovan said, “Obviously, you know, Butler and Adebayo are who they are. They’re great. Duncan Robinson’s playing incredibly well. And you got Lowry, a seasoned, veteran guy who looks a lot healthier now. They’ve got Martin back, he missed a good portion of (the season). So, they’re a little bit more whole, but they kind of play how they play.”

Heat blow out to 22-1 lead then blow it all in 102-97 loss in Chicago that snaps seven-game win streak

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 20:32

CHICAGO — Even with a breezy start Saturday night, there still was no easy button for the Miami Heat.

So from a 22-1 lead at the outset against the Chicago Bulls there eventually was a scramble to the finish.

And now there no longer is a winning streak for Erik Spoelstra’s team.

For a team that entered on a seven-game winning streak without a single double-digit victory this season, even the best of times had been some of the most grueling times.

The start of this five-game trip was no different, even with a double-digit lead midway through the fourth quarter and eventually a 102-97 loss, the Bulls never leading until the final minute.

“I felt like we got in a daze, a fog, and we lost the game,” Heat center Bam Adebayo said.

Next up, a rerun, when the teams meet Monday night back at the United Center.

Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 25 points, Adebayo adding 24 points and 10 rebounds.

“We let it get easy for them,” Butler said. “We let one get away.”

DeMar DeRozan led Chicago with 23 points, his 18-foot jumper over Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. with 21.9 seconds to play putting the Bulls ahead for good.

“Talk about a welcome-to-the-NBA moment,” Jaquez said. “Tonight was one of those.”

Five Degrees of Heat from Saturday night’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat led 22-1 at the outset and 26-14 at the close of the first quarter. Chicago then closed within two in the second period, before the Heat pushed back to a 50-40 halftime lead. The Bulls had scored 33 first-half points in each of their previous two games, home losses to the Orlando Magic.

The Heat then went up 14 in the third, with a 76-68 lead going into the fourth.

From there, the Heat extended to a 85-75 lead with 7:45 to play.

But that also is when it effectively stalled, save for late 3-pointers by Butler and Duncan Robindon, who added 17 points for the Heat.

“They outplayed us down the stretch,” Spoelstra said. “When you get up double digits, we had a few of those opportunities in the second half to extend that lead.”

2. Adebayo again: While the matchup against Bulls center Nikola Vucevic has historically been a tough proposition for the Heat, Adebayo this time seized control in the middle.

Adebayo was up to 18 points at halftime, on 5 of 6 from the field and 8 of 8 from the line. At one point, Adebayo had six rebounds to one for Vucevic.

Adebayo closed  8 of 12 from the field, 8 of 8 from the line.

But those numbers stood secondary.

“They made shots down the stretch and we did,” Adebayo said, scoreless in his 12 fourth-quarter minutes.

Vucevic closed with 15 points, eight rebounds.

3. Butler, too: While the two-man game isn’t necessarily the Heat’s game of choice, with the bench particularly uneven, Butler also stepped up his game.

He was up to 18 points entering the fourth quarter, coming off 32- and 36-point games in victories, respectively, over the Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets.

Butler opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, extending his streak to a career-best seven consecutive games with a conversion.

He closed 8 of 16 from the field and 7 of 7 from the line, scoring seven in the fourth.

“We didn’t get any stops at the end,” Butler said, with the Heat outscored 34-21 in the fourth.

4. Early Blitz: It was yet another shaky start for the Bulls, the Heat bursting to that 22-1 lead.

Entering the game, Bulls coach Billy Donovan said, “Either you’re going to come out to the ring like Mike Tyson or you’re going to come just kind of bobbing and weaving. And we’ve got to come out that way (like Tyson). We have to come out that way. And we have to be able to sustain it.”

Didn’t happen.

The Heat opened 9 of 11 from the field, the Bulls 0 for 11 with four turnovers.

Worse, the Bulls used their coach’s challenge with 5:48 to play in the opening period to try to overturn a charge drawn by Kyle Lowry. The challenge was unsuccessful.

The Bulls’ first basket finally came on a driving layup by Zach LaVine 7:12 into the game.

Even with the comeback, LaVine was cautious postgame.

“I’m happy we got a win,” he said. “We play these guys in a couple days. You don’t want to sit around and celebrate.

5. Do it again: The game was the first of six times the Heat this season will face the same team in consecutive games and the first of two times it will happen on the road (also March 15 and March 17 against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena).

The Heat also have three such pairings at home, including Dec. 14 and Dec. 16 against the Bulls at Kaseya Center, as well as the Charlotte Hornets on the road and then at home next month.

Tenth-ranked FAU held to 26% shooting as Owls stunned at home by Bryant

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 20:17

BOCA RATON — Consider the last week in the life of Bryant coach Phil Martelli Jr.

His team lost to Rutgers on Sunday, his former boss resigned Monday, he got promoted to head coach Wednesday, his team lost to a previously winless Boston University team Thursday and he boarded a flight to Boca Raton on Friday wondering if he was the problem.

Saturday was better. Much better — after he and the Bulldogs pulled off a stunner.

Sherif Gross-Bullock scored 19 points, Earl Timberlake added 13 and Bryant stunned No. 10 Florida Atlantic 61-52 on Saturday night to end the Owls’ 19-game home winning streak.

“This is a great moment and certainly it ranks up there,” Martelli Jr. said. “But we’re building towards highlights in February, March and hopefully beyond.”

Daniel Rivera scored 12 and Rafael Pinzon added 10 for the Bulldogs (2-3), who were 0-10 against ranked opponents since becoming full members of Division I — losing those games by an average of 28.8 points, the most recent of those contests by 67 points against Houston in 2021.

Didn’t matter. They held the Owls to 26% shooting, 20% in the second half.

“Hats off to Bryant,” FAU coach Dusty May said. “They played determined, they played well, they made plays when they needed to make them. It’s a good basketball team that’s faced a lot of adversity and they came together as a group today.”

Johnell Davis scored 17 and Giancarlo Rosado finished with 11 for the Owls (2-1). The Final Four program from last season entered the game as 22.5-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, against a Bryant team whose only win this season came against NAIA member Fisher.

The Bulldogs had been 0-3, all blowouts, against Top 10 competition since fully joining Division I. They lost to then-No. 1 Indiana by 43 in 2012, lost to then-No. 3 Ohio State by 38 in 2013 and lost to then-No. 5 Duke by 38 in 2015.

And briefly, this looked like it would be the same. FAU ran out to a 10-2 lead, starting 4 for 6 from the field. They went 4 for their next 25. And that cold shooting never stopped — not on 3-pointers, not on layups, not even on free throws.

“I can’t imagine us having another shooting performance like that ever again,” May said.

Martelli Jr.’s former boss, now-former Bryant coach Jared Grasso, resigned Monday. That led to the interim tag being taken off Martelli Jr., who had been the associate head coach and running the team in Grasso’s absence. Martelli Jr. didn’t sleep after the loss to Boston University; part of that was the before-dawn departure to the airport, part of that was just frustration.

And now, he’s got a Top-10 win.

“We still feel like we can do more,” Gross-Bullock said. “This is just motivation for the next one.”

The Bulldogs went on runs of 11-0 and 8-0 in the first half and went into the break down only 29-26 despite shooting 32%, which was 1% better than the Owls managed in the first 20 minutes.

Bryant didn’t shoot much better in the second half. But the Bulldogs made FAU shoot even worse.

BIG PICTURE

Bryant: The Bulldogs had been close to pulling off upsets over ranked teams twice before, losing to No. 15 Providence 74-67 in 2015 and No. 24 Iowa 72-67 in 2018.

Florida Atlantic: The Owls’ 19-game winning streak at home was tied for the second-longest in the country entering Saturday. It took FAU until the final minute to break the 50-point mark; the last time the Owls scored under 50 was when they managed 46 in a loss at VCU on Dec. 15, 2021.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

FAU will fall. How far is anyone’s guess. Poll shakeups are common in November, but it’s rare for a team to go from Top 10 one week in November to unranked the next. It happened to Villanova in November 2018 – the Wildcats were No. 8, then lost to No. 17 Michigan and unranked Furman to fall completely out of the AP Top 25.

UP NEXT

Florida Atlantic: Faces Butler at Kissimmee on Thursday.

General Daily Insight for November 19, 2023

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 18:57
General Daily Insight for November 19, 2023

Connection and collaboration are currently key concepts. The inquisitive Aquarius Moon vibes pleasantly with heart-centered Venus, intellectual Mercury, and profound Chiron, encouraging us to open up to each other. Some genuinely creative brainstorms could emerge from this meeting of the minds. When Luna squares sensual Uranus at 5:53 pm EST, however, we may discover the holes in any plans that are overly idealistic. The problems might still be fixable at this point, so we should embrace the opportunity to address them now.

Aries

March 21 – April 19

Having an awesome time with friends is possible today. As the intuitive Moon in your social sector harmonizes with clever Mercury in your adventurous 9th house, you’ll probably identify an opportunity to transcend your usual routine and do something exciting. It won’t just be shallow pleasure — you can connect in a way that makes you feel seen and understood. Still, you might also spend more money than you wanted to. Try to accept that this is worth it once in a while!

Taurus

April 20 – May 20

You’re equipped to make a valiant effort toward your current goals. While the motivated Moon in your ambitious 10th house supports thoughtful Mercury in your sharing sector, you can get further with the help of competent collaborators. To find them, however, you may need to be more open than usual about things you usually keep to yourself. Although this could be uncomfortable, it’s key to identifying a good match. The right person should not be scared off by whatever you disclose.

Gemini

May 21 – June 20

Bringing intellectual stimulation into your social life could be rewarding at this time. That said, it’s not likely to be a one-way flow where you simply impart your wisdom to others — someone else will probably reach out in return! While the impulsive Moon in your 9th House of Beliefs clashes against unpredictable Uranus in your secretive 12th house, you may need to acknowledge, at least to yourself, some doubts you usually keep hidden. Your questions might have answers if you’re willing to listen.

Cancer

June 21 – July 22

Working toward a common goal in a home or family situation is now possible. As the attentive Moon in your 8th House of Shared Resources complements harmonious Venus in your domestic zone, you want peace, and you’re willing to hear others out to learn what’s necessary to get it. Studying how your peers have handled similar situations could give you direction, but don’t follow any advice that doesn’t seem to be the right fit for you — your judgment is better than you think!

Leo

July 23 – August 22

Building a close relationship could presently be fun and stimulating for you. You’re likely to enjoy conversation that’s both pleasant and deep. On the other hand, as the relational Moon in your partnership zone conflicts with individualistic Uranus in your 10th House of Purpose, you might feel like letting yourself get tied down would somehow threaten your ability to pursue your personal goals. The other person may not be asking for the level of commitment you imagine, though — clarify before you catastrophize.

Virgo

August 23 – September 22

Productivity is probably a high priority for you right now. While the devoted Moon in your responsible 6th house aligns with abundant Venus in your finance zone, you’re likely focused on your duties and using the resources available to you in a thoughtful way. If you’re already in a comfortable groove, why would you want to try a promising new technique as soon as you hear about it? You don’t have to pursue this idea immediately — just set it aside to explore further later.

Libra

September 23 – October 22

Connecting with others and having a good time may be very rewarding today. When the social Moon in your expressive 5th house supports sensitive Chiron in your relationship zone, you might feel more understood by the people around you than you usually do. Even so, disclosing something too deep too soon could spoil the party. Pay attention to everyone’s comfort level before you launch into a significant story. You’ll probably have other opportunities to share if this isn’t quite the right moment.

Scorpio

October 23 – November 21

Cocooning could be especially enticing at the moment. While the nourishing Moon in your cozy 4th house encourages sweet Venus in your contemplation zone, you’re probably drawn to highlight whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. Someone you’re close with might want you to join them in a more stimulating activity, and you’re not required to remain in your nest if whatever your companion proposes is truly appealing. Still, being honest with yourself about your desires is a key opportunity to test your self-worth.

Sagittarius

November 22 – December 21

Conversation could have its limits as a useful strategy today. While the emotional Moon in your communication sector eggs on articulate Mercury in your sign, you’re equipped to identify your feelings and explore them in an exhausting level of detail. With a willing audience, you might even enjoy this process. That being said, it’s not necessarily the quickest route to whatever goal you’re trying to achieve. If you need results in a hurry, you may just have to leap into action somewhere!

Capricorn

December 22 – January 19

You could currently yearn to make the best financial decisions possible. As the careful Moon in your money zone collaborates with competent Mercury in your 12th House of Secrets, you’re likely taking all the factors you can think of into consideration. However, your own desire for pleasure might be the one thing you fail to make room for in your budget. Although you may wish you didn’t have such longings, you’re only human. Burying the truth can cause more problems than acknowledging it.

Aquarius

January 20 – February 18

Making a big announcement about a personal matter may be necessary at any moment. When the expressive Moon in your sign reaches out to loudspeaker Mercury in your community sector, you probably won’t have to say much to get the news traveling far. The hard part is that you won’t have control over what happens next, and exchanging the discomfort you know for uncertainty is understandably a tough call. Even so, the response is likely to be more positive than you expect!

Pisces

February 19 – March 20

You’ve possibly got a promising project going on behind the scenes at present. When you’re close to achieving your goals and finding the right collaborators to help you do so, it may be hard to stay quiet about your growing excitement! Unfortunately, as the spontaneous Moon in your 12th House of Self-Undoing aggravates chaotic Uranus in your communication zone, saying anything to the people around you could introduce unnecessary complications into the process. Try to be patient just a little bit longer!

UCF’s road woes strike again in loss at Texas Tech

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 18:23

LUBBOCK, Texas — If UCF is going to be successful in the Big 12, the Knights will have to find a way to win on the road.

UCF (5-6, 2-6 Big 12) lost its fourth conference road game as Texas Tech (6-5, 5-3 Big 12) rallied from an early 14-0 deficit to win 24-23 at Jones AT&T Stadium Saturday night.

“You’ve got to play good on the road in this league,” said coach Gus Malzahn. “This is our sixth road trip of the year and give Texas Tech credit; they found a way to win. Our guys battled hard and statistically we were better but didn’t find a way to win the game.”

It was another example of missed opportunities for the Knights, who had an extra point blocked late in the game, costing them a chance at tying with 5:30 left. The team also missed an opportunity before the half to retake the lead but couldn’t convert.

UCF keeps eyes toward transfer market as season winds down

UCF had the ball on the Texas Tech 5-yard line with 12 seconds left and no timeouts heading into halftime, but the Knights elected for a John Rhys Plumlee shovel pass to running back RJ Harvey, who was stopped short of the end zone as time expired.

“It wasn’t a very good play; there’s no doubt about that,” said Malzahn. “We’ve got to just get outside and throw it. It’s what we get to do. Letting the clock run out is not good and was a big play in the game.”

A week after holding Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon II to just 25 rushing yards, UCF’s defense had no answers for containing Red Raiders running back Tahj Brooks, who finished with a season-high 182 yards on 24 carries for a 7.6 yards-per-carry average. It was the fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game for the senior.

“He just runs hard,” said linebacker Walter Yates III. “He was a bigger back and his running style was way different from the dude from last week.”

Brooks’ 13-yard touchdown run in the third quarter pushed Texas Tech into its first lead of the game at 21-14.

How much has UCF QB John Rhys Plumlee improved since returning from injury? | Analysis

The Red Raiders pushed their lead to 24-17 with 6:13 left in the fourth quarter before Plumlee found receiver Javon Baker, who raced 71 yards for the score. On the ensuing extra point, TTU defensive tackle E’Maurion Banks blocked Colton Boomer’s kick. It was the first blocked extra point against the Knights since Oct. 2, 2021, against Navy.

“You could feel a little bit of the momentum there,” said Malzahn. “And then we have a blocked extra point and you just can’t do that. Not on the road.”

Boomer was involved in a fake field goal in the first quarter that sparked the offense.

UCF lined up for what appeared to be a 43-yard field goal attempt, but holder Mitch McCarthy took the snap and tossed the ball to the sophomore kicker, who raced 24 yards to the Texas Tech 4. Harvey eventually plunged into the end zone for the score.

The Knights finished with 487 yards of offense but also had eight penalties for 64 yards and failed to register a sack for the first time all season.

Plumlee finished 16 of 32 for 249 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Harvey was coming off a career-high 206 yards against Oklahoma State last week but had just 78 yards on 20 carries Saturday night. It was the first time he failed to crack 100 rushing yards in a game since the Baylor loss on Sept. 30.

UCF returns home to host its regular-season finale against Houston on Saturday. The Knights need a win against the Cougars to be bowl-eligible for the eighth straight season.

Email Matt Murschel at mmurschel@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.

FSU starting quarterback Jordan Travis sustains serious leg injury against North Alabama

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 17:54

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis was carted off the field after suffering what appeared to be a serious injury to his left leg late in the first quarter of the fourth-ranked Seminoles’ game against North Alabama on Saturday night.

Travis, a Heisman Trophy contender, was tackled after a scramble to about midfield and his leg was caught underneath a defender. Travis immediately pointed to his left leg and medical staff rushed onto the field.

Teammates and coaches looked distraught on the field.

“Obviously, our thoughts are with Jordan right now, but I was proud with how our guys fought back,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said in an interview with the CW at halftime. “I don’t have any update but obviously it didn’t look good.”

Travis, a high school graduate of Benjamin in North Palm Beach, was helped up and both teams came out on to the field as he was placed on the cart with what looked like an air cast on his left leg.

“Obviously, our thoughts are with Jordan right now, but I was proud with how our guys fought back,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell told the CW Network at halftime. “I don’t have any update, but obviously it didn’t look good.”

Travis is a fifth-year senior who has led a turnaround at Florida State from five victories in 2021 to College Football Playoff contender this year. He is Florida State’s career leader in offensive yards (10,553).

The Lions led 13-0 at the time of Travis’ injury. Tate Rodemaker came in to replace Travis and Florida State scored 24 unanswered second-quarter points to take the lead at the half.

Rodemaker was 7 of 11 for 117 yards at the half.

Hurricanes can’t secure win on Senior Day, lose first Howard Schnellenberger Trophy

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 15:54

CORAL GABLES — The Hurricanes’ home crowd said farewell to a group of players who are out of eligibility or may have played their last home game with Miami on Saturday.

UM honored those players with a Senior Day ceremony before their heartbreaking 38-31 loss to Louisville.

The players participating in Senior Day were: Souleymane Bangoura, K.J. Cloyd, Corey Flagg Jr., Javion Cohen, Jaden Davis, Branson Deen, Luis Gutierrez Jr., Tyler Harrell, Will Hutchinson, Keontra Smith, Matt Lee, Jake Lichtenstein, Josh Neely, Chris Pastora, Lucas Peterson, Fred Potter, Ryan Ragone, Rocky Shelton, Jefferson Walls, Chris Washington and Chantz Williams.

“It means a lot, man. Just got to try to get this W for them,” sophomore linebacker Wesley Bissainthe said earlier in the week. “It might be their last game at Hard Rock. So just got to give it your all and try to get the W for those guys. It means a lot that we can, the young guys, contribute to a win for the older guys. Just wish them the best of luck.”

Louisville wins first Howard Schnellenberger Trophy

The Cardinals did not just win on Saturday. They earned the first awarding of the Howard Schnellenberger Trophy, a new honor given to the winner of the Miami-Louisville game. The trophy honors former Hurricanes and Cardinals coach Howard Schnellenberger.

The trophy was created for the matchup, which was going to be an annual rivalry series in the ACC’s scheduling model. However, when Cal, SMU and Stanford joined the conference, the ACC needed to make additional changes, and UM-Louisville will no longer be an annual series. The Hurricanes will play the Cardinals on the road in 2024, at home in 2025 and again in Miami Gardens again in 2027.

Keontra Smith, Leonard Taylor miss loss

Starting defensie tackle Leonard Taylor III and veteran Miami linebacker Keontra Smith missed Saturday’s game due to injuries, Mario Cristobal said.

Taylor, a junior, has 19 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack this season.

“Leonard Taylor tried to play, but he wasn’t able to,” Cristobal said. “He sustained something last week and wasn’t able to play.”

Smith, a fifth-year senior, has played in nine games with eight tackles and a tackle for loss in a reserve linebacker role.

Miami struggles vs. Louisville tight ends

When the Cardinals needed to gain a few yards in crucial situations, they frequently turned to their tight ends.

Louisville tight ends combined for 113 receiving yards on 10 catches. They scored a pair of touchdowns for the Cardinals. Starter Nate Kurisky had five catches for 50 yards and a score, Joey Gatewood had three catches for 51 yards, Josh Lifson had one catch for 11 yards, and defensive lineman Trevonte Sylvester, who lined up as a tight end, caught a 1-yard pass for a touchdown.

“This team is going to press us on the outside quite a bit and take away our outside receivers and make us throw it over their heads, so when that’s happening, you have to work in the middle of the field a little bit and those guys have got to get open and be physical,” Louisville coach Jeff Brohm said. “I think Coach (Ryan) Wallace and our tight end room has worked hard. We wanted to utilize them more. To be a successful team, you have to be able to own the middle of the field more than we have and they have to be a great compliment for us.”

ASK IRA: Could NBA further juice its In-Season Tournament with ‘wins added’? (We explain)

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 04:05

Q: Ira, one thought on compensating teams in the future for winning the In-Season Tournament: Rather than guaranteeing a playoff spot (which has been thrown out there, but could lead teams to take their foot off the gas if they secured a spot midseason), what if the team reward was something like a “plus 3 games in the standings at the end of the season and automatically owning all tiebreakers”? So, a team that finishes 46-35 would adjust to 49-32 for the purposes of playoff seeding and have the tiebreakers against another team with the same record. This would provide a significant incentive for everyone to want to win the tournament, without leading a team to say, “Well, we have something automatically secured.” – Dan, Baltimore

A: This I like, a lot. (Although I’m sure the metrics folks would come up with a specific “added-win” total to make the math best work.) But this might be the best I’ve seen. Another idea floated has been another first-round pick, perhaps immediately after the lottery. But that would have players fighting to win the In-Season Tournament to then add another competitor for one of their roster spots. But wins-added works on many levels, including a lottery-bound team having the option of turning down the added wins as to not impact their lottery seeding (perhaps “added losses” in that case). As the league has said, the entire In-Season Tournament process has been a work in progress. But your idea sounds like progress in the right direction.

Related Articles

Q: Ira, can it be possible that one can be both a great player and just not a good fit from a team chemistry perspective? That’s what it seems with Tyler Herro. In a salary-cap league that really matters.  – Jim, Columbia, S.C.

A: But who is to say the Heat wouldn’t have been even better with Tyler Herro in last season’s playoffs? And who is to say that this season’s Heat would not have been more emphatic during this seven-game streak with Tyler? Yes, there was the uneven record during the 2022-23 season with Tyler as a starter, but the playoff Heat featured a different rotation and this season’s Heat are still evolving. Let’s not baby/bathwater so quickly. There remains ample time to see what still could work.

Q: Kevin Love continues to grow on me. – Wes.

A: Former All-Stars often find themselves at a crossroads when less is asked. Some bristle and become problematic. Others age gracefully. Kevin Love appears to be doing the latter, much to the Heat’s benefit. The fit at backup center appears to be benefiting both Kevin and the Heat.

Monarch jumps to 30-0 lead over Santaluces, breezes into 4M regional final | Photos

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 01:49

DEERFIELD BEACH — Monarch football coach Calvin Davis knew that visiting Santaluces wouldn’t quit, even after the top-seeded Knights built a 30-0 lead with 7:05 remaining in the first half over the visiting Chiefs.

  • Monarch’s Demarcus Piere looks for running room against Santaluces in the regional final on Friday night against Santaluces at Deerfield Beach on Friday night. (Gary Curreri/Contributor)

  • Monarch’s Malik Kesley looks for running room against Sataluces in the regional final on Friday night against Santaluces at Deerfiekl Beach on Friday night. (Gary Curreri/Contributor)

  • Santaluces quarterback Shyela Deveaux looks for an open receiver in the regional semifinal game against Monarch at Deerfield Beach on Friday night. (Gary Curreri/Contributor)

  • Monarch’s Malik Kesley looks for running room against Santaluces in the regional final on Friday night against Santaluces at Deerfield Beach on Friday night. (Gary Curreri/Contributor)

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When the final whistle blew, Monarch had escaped with a 50-27 victory over the fourth-seeded Chiefs in the Class 4M regional semifinal at Deerfield Beach High School on Friday night. The victory was the first for the Knights in the second round and they move on to host second-seeded Palm Beach Central next week.

“This is the farthest we’ve ever gone,” Davis said. “It’s huge for the program. We talked about it in the preseason, and it was always one of our goals. We want to win a regional championship. We want to finish what we started.”

“It’s playoff football and we knew those guys (Santaluces) weren’t going to quit,” Davis said. “In the playoffs, anything can happen, and those guys were here for a reason. Our guys responded. Our offensive line stepped up and made play, after play, after play. We had a couple of big plays in the passing game, but our offensive line carried us. They were huge.”

The game got a little chippy in the second half as tempers flared and a Santaluces player was ejected after a personal foul. A total of 265 yards in penalties were whistled against both teams. There were also a lot of players from the Knights going down with cramps, which Davis attributed to not being able to practice outdoors this week due to the rain.

Monarch (10-2) scored on its first two possessions to seize a 16-0 lead and coasted to the regional semifinal victory over visiting Santaluces on Friday night.

The Knights drove 65 yards in five plays, and Malik Kesley ran it in from 2 yards out with 10:12 remaining. Jack Speader flipped the ball to Jabari Bardy for the two-point conversion and 8-0 lead. Monarch drove 65 yards again in four plays as Demarcus Pierre scored from 31 yards out with 7:33 remaining in the first quarter.

Santaluces (8-4) had back-to-back drives end in interceptions as Monarch upped the margin to 30-0.

The first interception resulted in a pick-six by Santana Harrison that covered 33 yards while the second one, two plays later, resulted in a 53-yard drive capped by a 33-yard scoring toss from AJ Hairston to Samari Reed.

The Chiefs got on the scoreboard following a fumble recovery and needed just two plays to score from a yard out. Shyela Deveaux hit Jamar Browder for a 29-yard play to the Monarch one and Tyreek Dawes scored from a yard out to cut the lead to 30-7 at the half.

Santaluces made things interesting in the second half on a two-yard reception by Browder from Deveaux to trim the lead to 30-14. Monarch answered with s 5 5-yard TD run by Kesley with 1:16 in the third quarter. The Chiefs pulled to within 36-20 on a 21-yard scamper by Akilis Martinez and then a 75-yard scoring toss from Deveaux to AnaTay Smith. After stretching the lead to 42-27, Antonio Ward scored on a 25-yard run for the final margin with 2:30 to go in the game.

Monarch, seeded one, will host second-seeded Palm Beach Central next week in the regional final.

Regional semifinal results

Friday

Class 4M

Palm Beach Central 34, Boca Raton 28

Monarch 50, Santaluces 27

Western 19, Palmetto 9

Class 3M

St. Thomas Aquinas 40, Blanche Ely 0

Coconut Creek 24, West Boca 17

Miramar 31, Belen Jesuit 7

Class 1M

Cardinal Newman 28, Benjamin 6

Chaminade-Madonna 67, Avant Garde 0

Class 1R

Williston 52, Pahokee 17

Saturday

Class 2M

Calvary Christian at Cardinal Gibbons, noon

King’s Academy vs. American Heritage (Plantation) at American Heritage-Delray, 6 p.m.

Regional final matchups

Friday, Nov. 24

Class 4M

2. Palm Beach Central at 1. Monarch

3. Western at. 1. Columbus

Class 3M

3. Coconut Creek at 1. St. Thomas Aquinas

3. Miramar vs. 4. Southridge-1. Homestead winner

Class 2M

4. King’s Academy-1. American Heritage winner vs. 6. Calvary Christian-2. Cardinal Gibbons winner

Class 1M

2. Cardinal Newman at 1. Chaminade-Madonna

Ta’Niya Latson scores career-high 35 points to rally No. 12 Florida State women at Florida

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 00:30

GAINESVILLE — Ta’Niya Latson scored a career-high 35 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, to rally No. 12 Florida State (3-0) over Florida 79-75 on Friday.

The sophomore was 11-of-20 shooting and made all 12 of her free throws in posting her eighth career 30-point game.

She made all five of her field-goal attempts and seven free throws in final quarter when the Seminoles outscored the Gators 30-19.

Makayla Timpson added 13 points and 12 rebounds. O’Mariah Gordon and Sara Bejedi scored 10 points each.

Ra Shaya Kyle and Leilani Correa scored 16 points each, Aliyah Matharu added 15 and Alberte Rimdal 13 for the Gators (3-1), who had a 25-game home nonconference win streak snapped. Their previous home nonleague loss also came against the Seminoles in 2019.

“We’re not here for the consolation prize,” UF coach Kelly Rae Finley said. “We don’t believe in that. But I know our team and I know that we are resilient. We’re tough. And this sounds funny, but this loss is only going to make us that much better. It’s going to make us hungrier. And I think we’ve got a tremendous season ahead of us.”

The Gators had led the entire second half until Gordon tied the game with a 3-pointer with 2:14 left and Latson added a bucket seconds later to go in front. Florida State clung to the lead with the outcome not settled until Latson made her final two free throws for a 5-point lead with 6.4 seconds remaining.

Correa’s two free throws to open the fourth quarter extended a Gators lead to nine points before the Seminoles went on an 11-3 run with seven points from Latson to get within a point with seven minutes left.

Matharu ended the first half with a 3-pointer to cap a 9-0 run and give the Gators their first lead at 36-35.

Up next, Florida State will host South Alabama on Sunday. Florida plays Purdue on Monday in the Pink Flamingo Championships in the Bahamas.

 

Stolarz, Panthers hang on to salvage Southern California split, but Barkov exits with leg injury

Fri, 11/17/2023 - 23:50

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his second goal in the last four games, Anton Lundell had two assists and the Florida Panthers continued their hot November with a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.

Eetu Luostarinen also scored for the Panthers, who have won seven of their nine games in November.

The win, however, was marred by the loss of Panthers star Aleksander Barkov, who departed bent over in obvious discomfort after a knee-to-knee hit by Jackson LaCombe in the opening minute of the third period.

Frank Vatrano put in his team-leading 12th goal for Anaheim. John Gibson, who was in net for his 441st game with the Ducks and tied Guy Hebert for second-most in franchise history, made 31 saves.

“We’ve played some pretty darn good hockey (this month) and most of it is just scratch and claw and grind,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said. “I think in the first part of this game was the first time we were moving pretty good offensively.”

“We weren’t very good. Let’s be honest. The first couple of periods, we were lucky it was only 2-1,” Ducks coach Greg Cronin said. “We waited until the third period. I think we were going before we got the power-play goal, we were getting some zone time. Then, we played with some urgency and it was too little, too late.”

Jakob Silfverberg thought he put in the tying goal midway through the third period, but there was no conclusive video evidence to show that his shot crossed the Florida goal line.

Silfverberg said he thought the puck made it across the line, which a couple of angles on the videoboard showed, but it was not overturned to a goal.

“I really don’t have anything to say. I think anybody that watched the replay can form their own opinion,” Cronin said. “I saw the same thing that 16,000 people saw. I have to respect what they saw in Toronto. I have no control over it.”

Anthony Stolarz stopped 33 shots for the Panthers.

Ekman-Larsson gave the Panthers a two-goal advantage at 18:06 of the first period with a snap shot that went in off the far post. It was his seventh goal and 25th point in 59 games against the Ducks.

“I thought we started pretty good in the first, let in one on the (penalty kill) in the third and then it’s a tight game,” Ekman-Larsson said. “I mean it’s not easy coming in here after we played last night (a 2-1 loss at Los Angeles), but we knew it was going to be a tough game and we got two points and that’s most important.

Lundell, who has 85 career points, passed Vincent Trocheck and Ed Jovanovski for the eighth-most points by a Panthers player before age 23.

Luostarinen scored his first goal of the season at 14:50 of the first when he got Lundell’s pass from behind the net, skated to the near post and put a wrist shot past Gibson.

Vatrano got the Ducks within a goal at 7:39 of the third period when he put in a rebound after Stolarz.

Panthers defensemen Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad made their season debuts after missing the first 16 games due to shoulder injuries. Montour led Panthers defensemen in goals last season with 16 and Ekblad was second with 14.

UP NEXT

Panthers: Open a three-game homestand against Edmonton on Monday.

Palm Beach Central’s offense too much for Boca Raton in 4M regional semifinals

Fri, 11/17/2023 - 23:20

WELLINGTON — Palm Beach Central sophomore quarterback Caleb Butler connected with junior wide receiver Waden Charles for two touchdowns, senior running back Leon Williams and junior Ze’Quan Wright combined for over 250 total yards and two scores, and the host Broncos held off visiting Boca Raton 34-28 in a Class 4M regional semifinal on Friday night.

Palm Beach Central (10-2), which reached the state semifinal for the first time in school history last season, will play at Monarch in a regional final next Friday.

Palm Beach Central jumped out to a 14-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter and had a 17-7 lead at halftime. The Broncos led 31-21 at the end of the third quarter.

Boca Raton (7-5), which trailed 34-21 with 4:50 left, rallied late as sophomore quarterback Chance Routson fired a 6-yard touchdown pass to junior Damien Taylor with 2:58 remaining. The Bobcats forced a punt and took over at their 20-yard line with 1:20 left. Routson led the team downfield to the Broncos 23 with four seconds left. The final pass of the game toward the end zone was broken up.

Butler finished with 143 passing yards and two touchdowns. Charles had four catches for 74 yards and two scores. Williams had 134 yards and a touchdown and Wright added 123 yards and a score. Junior kicker Ethan Dagostino  converted a 31-yard field goal in the second quarter and 37-yard field goal in the fourth. Junior Damon Allen recorded two interceptions on defense for the Broncos.

Palm Beach Central committed six unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the contest, but were able to advance .

“We have been preaching the whole week you’re not playing the same [Boca] team,” Palm Beach Central coach Kevin Thompson said. “Those guys fought real hard. If I was their coach, I would be really proud of them. We found ways not to be disciplined and it will cost us. We are going to preach some discipline this week. We are going to watch the film and show them all the mistakes that they made. We will need to coach them and get better.”

Palm Beach Central started their second possession on offense at the Boca Raton 39.  Butler connected with Charles for a 14-yard touchdown to make it 7-0 with 6:28 left in the first.

“It was definitely a good feeling to have a big game,” Charles said. “Whenever I have a chance to make a play for my team, that’s what I do. We fought hard to get the win. We will have to be prepared for next week.”

Butler fired a 32-yard pass to junior Nedrick Boldin down the left sideline to the Bobcats 2. Williams rushed up the middle for a 2-yard score to increase the lead to 14-0 with 4:29 left in the first.

“That feeling of losing the state semifinal hurt me last year and I never want to feel that again,” Williams said. “I am just proud of myself the way I played in this  game and I listened to my coaches and worked hard.”

The Broncos lined up for a 32-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter. They mishandled the snap and failed to convert after an incomplete pass on the play.

The Bobcats attempted a fake punt at their own 21 and were stopped on a run up the middle.

Dagostino drilled a 31-yard field goal to push the lead to 17-0 with 8:15 left in the second.

The Bobcats responded on the ensuing drive. Taylor took the ball on a double reverse and sprinted for a 13-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 17-7 with 7:04 left in the first half.

Williams had nine carries for 75 yards on the next series. The Broncos failed to score after they were called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty as they were lined up for first-and-goal at the 1. On fourth-and-goal at the 2, Williams was stopped for a 3-yard loss.

The Broncos had another scoring chance late in the first half before the Bobcats recorded an interception in the end zone.

Senior Chris Bloomfield had a 92-yard kickoff return down the right sideline for a touchdown to open the second half for the Bobcats.

The Broncos quickly responded back as Wright had an 8-yard touchdown run to make it 24-14.

Palm Beach Central recovered a fumble at the Boca 36 on the ensuing possession. The Broncos capitalized as Butler fired a 25-yard scoring pass to Charles to make it 31-14.

The Broncos failed to get a punt off on their next possession after Dagostino’s knee was ruled down on the play. Junior running back Tarrel Ocean rushed for a 2-yard score to make it 31-21 with 6:16 left in the third.

The Broncos failed to capitalize on another scoring chance later in the second half. They lined up for a 26-yard field goal attempt and mishandled the snap.

Dagostino converted a 37-yard field goal to extend the lead to 34-21 with 4:50 left.

Boca Raton won a district championship and opening round playoff game under the direction of first-year head coach Alex Savakinas.

“It’s a bittersweet ending to the season,” he said. “We just competed with a great team and we had a chance to win that game. Our kids are resilient, scrappy and they play hard. We are never the biggest, fastest, and strongest team on the field. We have kids that are willing to fly around. Anybody who plays us knows they play a hard-nosed team who will do whatever it takes to win. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Routson had a breakout season in his sophomore campaign at quarterback.

“Chance is resilient and tough,” Savakinas said. “He took some big shots tonight and played through it. Chance is a great high school quarterback and he has so much potential and is willing to learn. We would have never been in that situation without having him.”

 

High school football state championship games Dec. 7-9 will be televised by Bally Sports

Fri, 11/17/2023 - 22:24

With a healthy 10 high school football teams from Broward and Palm Beach counties two wins away from their classifications’ state championship game in Tallahassee next month, it comes as welcome news that Bally Sports will be televising each game live.

The FHSAA title games are set for Thursday, Dec. 7 through Saturday, Dec. 9 at Ken Riley Field at Bragg Memorial Stadium, on the campus of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. Games are scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day, with the specific classification matchups to be announced at a later date.

Broward County will have either seven or eight regional finalists, with Palm Beach County having two guaranteed, and the possibility of a third.

The winners of Saturday’s Class 2M regional semifinal games (Calvary Christian at Cardinal Gibbons at noon, and King’s Academy at American Heritage (Plantation) at American Heritage-Delray at 6 p.m.) will join Broward’s St. Thomas Aquinas (3M), Chaminade-Madonna (1M), Monarch (4M), Western (4M), Coconut Creek (3M) and Miramar (3M), and Palm’s Palm Beach Central and Cardinal Newman as still having their seasons alive after Thanksgiving.

 

Todd Golden’s UF men roll at home past FSU

Fri, 11/17/2023 - 22:19

GAINESVILLE — Walter Clayton Jr. scored 19 points, graduate transfer Zyon Pullin, acting in a reserve role, scored 15 points and the Florida men beat Florida State 89-68 on Friday night.

Pullin was forced to sit out the first three games of the Gators‘  season for taking part in exposure games during a spring workout for the NBA draft evaluation process.

In his debut Friday, Pullin also grabbed 5 rebounds, distributed 4 assists and committed just 1 turnover. The 6-foot-4 point guard transferred from UC Riverside.

Tyrese Samuel tallied 15 points, Riley Kugel scored 10 and Thomas Haugh grabbed 10 rebounds for Florida.

Cam Corhen scored 18 points for Florida State and Jamir Watkins added 15.

Clayton made a 3-pointer nine minutes in and that gave Florida (3-1) its first 20-plus point lead of the night at 27-5.

The Seminoles (2-1) didn’t reach double digits in scoring until Darin Green Jr.’s layup made it 36-11 with 8:18 before halftime.

“Definitely the first half is the best half by far,” Florida coach Todd Golden said. “But I think that was an incredibly high level of basketball right there. I thought on both ends, you know we shot 64 [percent] from the field in the first half, 50 from 3-pointers.  Held them to 26 percent from the field, up 52-22 at halftime. I just thought we played at an insanely high level, and that’s what we have kind of seen at times from our group in the preseason and just really proud of our effort.”

Florida led 52-22 at halftime, shooting 64.3% (18 for 28) that included 6-for-12 from 3-point range.

The only shooting blemish occurred at the foul line where the Gators went 10 of 17 (58.8%).

Overall, Florida finished 30-for-58 (51.7%) shooting.

The Seminoles shot 8 of 30 (26.7%), including 1 for 9 (11.1%) from 3 and 5 for 11 (45.5%) from the foul line in the first half.

Florida State finished 24-for-65 shooting overall.

Florida leads the all-time series 46-29, including wins in each of the last two seasons after FSU reeled off a run of seven straight victories that marked the longest victory streak by either program in a series that dates to 1951.

 

General Daily Insight for November 18, 2023

Fri, 11/17/2023 - 17:53
General Daily Insight for November 18, 2023

Making room for self-assertion is urgently necessary. As the vibrant Sun conjoins supercharged Mars in Scorpio at 12:42 am EST, our desires are strong, and we’re likely willing to do whatever it takes to get what we want! The calculating Capricorn Moon then joins forces with subversive Pluto, so we might not be above using emotional displays to overturn resistance. After Luna shifts into detached Aquarius, the simple and logical truth could become apparent — we each need space to do our own thing.

Aries

March 21 – April 19

Someone might currently be using emotional manipulation to wield power over you. You may feel like you have a duty to defer to their desires because they’re vulnerable in some way. As the energetic Sun meets motivated Mars in your 8th House of Shared Resources, keep in mind that perhaps they know exactly what they’re doing. Conceding on a few practical points could be necessary in order to move forward, but quietly maintaining a skeptical attitude can help you keep your sympathy from overwhelming you.

Taurus

April 20 – May 20

Your passion for your beliefs is likely over the top at present. While the sentimental Moon fuses with intense Pluto in your philosophical 9th house, you may be convinced that you have the right to pull out all the stops to make someone else agree with you on an important issue. If you receive pushback, though, take a moment to reflect on whether the concession you’re demanding from them is realistic. Try to treat the other person how you would want to be treated.

Gemini

May 21 – June 20

You’ve likely got present energy to work hard. Beyond the brute force coming from the union of the blazing Sun and physical Mars in your productive 6th house, you’re also potentially motivated by a burning desire to prove a point to someone else. Can you know for sure that this person is thinking about you as much as you’re obsessing about them? They’re not guaranteed to receive the message you’re trying to send, so make sure your efforts have other redeeming qualities.

Cancer

June 21 – July 22

A longing to express yourself could make you face a harsh truth about one of your ongoing close relationships. As the delicate Moon meets domineering Pluto in your partnership zone, your suspicion that your disclosure would throw the other person into a dramatic meltdown is probably a bad sign. If everything you do hurts their feelings, perhaps you’re just not compatible. You don’t have to push for a separation, but don’t fight against that possibility, either — accept the way things naturally unfold.

Leo

July 23 – August 22

Clearing unneeded clutter could make your living space much more comfortable now. Getting your ego out of the way first should let you do the best job possible. While the fragile Moon joins forces with manipulative Pluto in your 6th House of Responsibilities, you may feel sorry for yourself over having to spend your time on chores when you’d rather be doing something fun. Embrace the opportunity for grounding — your intuition should be powerful once you give it a chance to flow.

Virgo

August 23 – September 22

Giving the world a piece of your mind could seem urgent today. As the hot Sun and spicy Mars unite in your communication sector, you may not care who’s offended when you start spewing — after all, you’re just telling them the truth! That said, you might suddenly become vulnerable if your audience turns the criticism back on you. You’ll probably find certain things easier to hear from yourself than from others, so inventory your own flaws before you move on to anyone else’s.

Libra

September 23 – October 22

Making more money could be a high priority for you now. However, it’ll be important to separate your actual financial needs from your emotional insecurities. While the former is a quantifiable amount, the latter may be a hole that has no bottom as the anxious Moon stirs up paranoid Pluto in your 4th House of Roots. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good — do the math to find out what’s truly necessary to achieve a reachable goal, then strive for that.

Scorpio

October 23 – November 21

Portraying a consistent image to the world could be challenging today. While the vulnerable Moon conjoins profound Pluto in your conversation zone, you may find it easy to tell people detailed stories concerning times when you were hurt or felt victimized. Perhaps you wouldn’t mind some sympathy for all you’ve been through. However, something about your presence right now conveys serious strength! The discrepancy between your obvious power and your painful narrative might unsettle your listeners. Acknowledge your resilience — that’s the missing link.

Sagittarius

November 22 – December 21

Identifying what you’re really angry about may be difficult today. When the impulsive Moon meets underhanded Pluto in your finance zone, a conflict over a relatively minor money issue will potentially escalate out of proportion. You might more broadly feel like your autonomy and ability to express yourself are suppressed. Spending a little extra to fulfill your desires could seem reasonable as compensation for your struggles — and any pushback may therefore be hard to take. Zoom out instead of getting lost in the details.

Capricorn

December 22 – January 19

You may be eager to expand your social network at this time. While the dynamic Sun meets driven Mars in your 11th House of Community, you can focus on interacting with as many people as possible — eventually you’ll find someone who’s interested in what you’re offering! Still, you can only do so much to manage how others see you. Avoid using your emotions in an insincere way to lure in prospects. The right matches will not need all the theatrics.

Aquarius

January 20 – February 18

Fear of success could be holding you back right now. As the almighty Sun unites with ambitious Mars in your 10th House of Career, you’re possibly close to achieving a major goal. On the other hand, getting what you want may come with a significant loss — you’ll no longer be able to blame any frustrations you experience on not having this particular thing! It’s normal to have complicated feelings. The more honestly you acknowledge their existence, the less they’ll sabotage your efforts.

Pisces

February 19 – March 20

An organization you belong to could be dragged down by drama at the moment. While the optimistic Sun meets practical Mars in your legalistic 9th house, you might not see why there’s an ongoing problem — shouldn’t reviewing the rules be enough to clarify the correct path forward? What’s true on paper may not be how things work in practice, though. You’ll probably need to acknowledge the existence of that gap before you can start making a serious effort to close it.

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