Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Local Champions In FHSAA Football Playoffs

     Four high schools from South Florida went up to the Citrus Bowl at Orlando in early December and won 2014 FHSAA state football championships. It did not match what happened in 2013 in which South Florida schools captured six of the eight classifications.
     In the small schools category, the Booker T. Washington Tornadoes went undefeated again as they captured another Class 4A championship with a 54-35 victory over The Bolles School Bulldogs. The Tornadoes were led on offense by running back Mark Walton.
     The American Heritage Stallions failed to bring another state championship to Delray Beach as they lost to Trinity Christian 27-7 in the Class 3A title game. They had a well-rounded offense which consisted of running back Devin Singletary, quarterback Warren Robinson along with wide receivers Desmond Cain and Trenard Davis.
     South Florida had four representatives in the large school category as they had in 2013. The American Heritage Patriots brought home their second straight Class 5A title to Plantation as they routed Godby 38-0. The Pats had quarterback Torrance Gibson steer the offense and defensive back Tavares McFadden dictate the defense.
     The Miami Central Rockets repeated again as Class 6A state champions as they defeated the Armwood Hawks 24-10.  It was the third consecutive title for the school who were led by wide receiver Da'vante Phillips.
     The St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders returned to the top of the Class 7A mountain when they blanked the Osceola Kowboys 31-0. It was the fifth state title for STA since 2007 and their eighth championship in school history. The strong offense had numerous weapons which included Jordan Scarlett at running back, Jake Rizzo at quarterback along with Devante Peete, Juwuan Harris and Sam Bruce at wide receiver. Defensive end Nicholas Bozo spearheaded the Raiders defense.
     The Columbus Explorers were the only local large school to lose in the title game as they were defeated by the Apopka Blue Darters 30-23 in Class 8A. Apopka, who fell to South Dade last year, won their second championship in the past three years.

Rangers Down Panthers

     The New York Rangers made their only appearance this season in Sunrise and defeated the Florida Panthers 5-2 at BB&T Center on Wednesday night. The Blueshirts won for the ninth time in ten games and the 13th time in their last 17. The Cats fell for the second straight game and finished their holiday homestand with a 2-1-1 record.
     There was only one goal in the opening period as the Rangers moved ahead 1-0 at 16:42. Martin St. Louis carried the puck back up to the top of the zone and fed Kevin Klein. His slapshot was deflected by Chris Kreider in the slot area.
     In the second period, New York(20-11-4) extended their lead just 1:29 into the frame. Carl Hagelin sprinted down the left side into the Panthers zone and set up Ryan McDonaugh for a quick shot which was saved by Al Montoya. Derick Brassard found a half-open net and swept in the rebound.
     The Blueshirts gained a three-goal cushion on their first power play at 14:28 as McDonaugh ripped a slapshot from the top of the zone for an unassisted goal.
     The shutout was broken by Florida(19-10-9) with 3:22 left in the second. Jonathan Huberdeau picked up a loose puck in his own zone and sent a long lead pass to Tomas Fleischmann at the Rangers blue line. He skated on Henrik Lundqvist and snapped a shot over the blocker for the tally.
     The Cats cut the deficit to 3-2 at 7:39 of the third period on the power play. Dave Bolland was on the left wing and connected with Aleksander Barkov in the slot. His short pass to his right was then one-timed by Jimmy Hayes for his 11th goal this season.
     The Rangers got up by two goals again at 9:51 when a puck went off the left skate of St. Louis in the crease area and through the legs of Montoya. The play was started by Kreider behind the Panthers cage as he placed a pass to Stepan in the slot for a one-time slapshot. Dominic Moore added an insurance goal with 4:25 left in regulation.

Joe Girvan Leaves WPTV

     Joe Girvan is leaving his sportscaster post at WPTV-TV Channel 5 in West Palm Beach. He has been a weekend sports anchor at the station for several years. He also worked in an on-air capacity with ESPN West Palm 106.3 WUUB-FM.  He will become the new sports director and sports anchor at WBBH-TV and WZVN-TV in Fort Myers.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Habs Stop Panthers

     The Florida Panthers hosted the Montreal Canadiens at BB&T Center on Tuesday night and lost to the Habs 2-1 in a shootout. The Canadiens have won four consecutive games and seven of their last eight while the Cats snapped a two-game winning streak.
     It was until almost 39 minutes into the game until one team scored. Montreal(24-11-2) got the tally when Lars Eller gave a short lead pass ahead to Zack Gallagher at the Panthers blue line and he scorched a slapshot from the top right circle by Roberto Luongo with 1:06 left in the second period.
     Florida(16-9-9) had to wait until late in the third period to tie the game up. Aaron Ekblad carried the puck into the Canadiens zone on the right side. He slid it to the high slot and Nick Bjugstad buried a snap shot over the left glove of Dustin Tokarski with 1:49 remaining. The Cats outshot the Habs 14-4 in the third period.
     The contest went into a shootout and Montreal got the only score on their third attempt as P.A. Parenteau skated between the circles and released a shot over the left glove of Luongo for the victory.

The Ticket Celebrates Ten Years

     790 The Ticket WAXY-AM marked their tenth anniversary back in August as an all-sports radio station. They were known for over a decade prior to their change of programming as a brokered format. They added an FM simulcast for programming at 104.3 The Ticket in August 2012.
     The one program that has been there from the beginning in August 2004 and their staple during their ten-year run is the Dan LeBatard Show. It has been led by the longtime Miami Herald sportswriter along with his sidekick Jon Weiner, a.k.a. Stugotz. LeBatard had previous radio broadcasting experience hosting a weekend show on ESPN Radio while Weiner was a producer on Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM and a sports host on Fox Sports Radio 940 WINZ-AM. Marc Hochman, a University of Miami classmate of LeBatard, was the producer and third cog to the program.
     The show became nationally syndicated on ESPN Radio as of October 2013. They have outlasted 15 different people who hosted the afternoon show against them on WQAM in a ten-year span.
     Several WQAM personnel moved across the street literally to join The Ticket. The first morning show on the station was hosted by Joe Rose and produced by Zach Krantz. Phil Schoen returned to the Miami airwaves as a sports anchor and Jon "Boog" Sciambi hosted a midday show while working for ESPN. Steve Goldstein also came aboard as a weekend host during the NHL lockout for one year. Rose and Krantz came back because WAXY lost the Miami Dolphins radio rights to their main competitor.
     Other former WQAM on-air talent have remained at The Ticket. Brian "The Beast" London and Josh Friedman have been elevated to talk show hosts while Joy Taylor is now a morning co-host with Jonathan Zaslow, who has been with WAXY from the beginning.
     Many people who started at The Ticket had eventually moved on to WQAM. They included Sid Rosenberg, Jorge Sedano, Marc Hochman, Kevin Rogers, Alex Donno, Brandon Guzio, Andy King, Ed Freeman, Jeff Fox and Steve White.

Panthers Come Back On Maple Leafs

     The Florida Panthers pulled off a two-goal comeback as they scored four goals in the third period to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-4 on Sunday at BB&T Center. The Panthers won for the fourth time in five games while the Maple Leafs fell for the fourth time in their last five games.
     Florida (16-9-8), who outshot the Leafs 13-3 in the first period, started out with a 19-5 shot advantage until they surrendered the first goal at 6:39 of the second period. Richard Panik skated down the right side and snapped a shot from the right circle dot for a Toronto(20-13-3) 1-0 lead.
     The Panthers evened it at 8:24 when Brian Campbell sent a long lead pass to Jonathan Huberdeau at the Maple Leafs blue line. He skated through the left circle and put in a wrist shot from the edge of the crease.
     The Cats took their first lead of the game at 10:13 on an odd-man attack as Sean Bergenheim fed a pass from the right wing to Jimmy Hayes in the slot area and he fired a one-time shot by James Riemer.
     The Maple Leafs tied it as Joffrey Lupul connected a pass from the right corner to a wide open Roman Polak in front and he lifted a shot over the left glove of Roberto Luongo at 14:16.
     Toronto added a power-play tally at 17:30 when Cody Franson centered the puck to James Van Riemsdyk for his 16th goal of the season. The Leafs made it 4-2 with 1:01 in the second as Lupul carried the puck down the left side and sent a backhand pass to the crease where Nazem Kadri rammed in a one-time shot. They were outshot 29-13 after two periods.
     The Leafs blew a two-goal lead in the third period as the Cats scored four different times in the final frame. Dmitry Kulikov scored his first goal of the season from right point on a slapshot following a pass from Jussi Jokinen from the right wing 2:45 in the third.
     The Panthers tied it 4-4 midway through the period at 10:09. Huberdeau dropped a pass from the right wing to Willie Mitchell, who saved a loose puck from leaving the Toronto zone, at the left point. His wrist shot through traffic found the twine for the Panthers captain.
     Florida regained the lead on the power play with 3:15 to go in regulation. Kulikov blasted a top zone shot which was redirected by Brad Boyes in the slot area. Scottie Upshall added an empty net goal with 35 seconds left on assists by Tomas Kopecky and Derek MacKenzie.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Heat Top LeBron James And Cavs

     After four seasons with the Heat franchise, LeBron James returned to Miami for the first time as the Miami Heat defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-91 on Saturday at American Airlines Arena. James, who signed with the Cavs as a free agent in July, helped the Heat to two NBA championships and two Eastern Conference titles.
     James led the Cavs with 30 points and eight assists in 40 minutes. Chris Bosh did not dress and was unavailable for the game. The Heat are now 2-6 in their last eight home games and 6-10 overall this season in Miami.
     Miami(14-16) began on an 8-2 edge in the first two minutes and led 30-27 after one quarter with Dwyane Wade's 12 points in the frame. The Heat extended their margin up to 17 points at 56-39 with 3:15 left in the second. The Cavaliers trailed 62-49 at halftime as James had 15 points while Wade had 24.
     Cleveland(17-11) scored the first eight points of the second half to cut the deficit down to seven points. They scored seven unanswered points late in the third to pull to 73-71 with under two minutes left, however the Heat were up 77-74 after three quarters.
     The Cavs got their first lead since their first basket of the game 78-77 just 41 seconds into the fourth quarter with a James slam dunk as he held on to the rim for a technical foul. Miami later went on a 10-1 run to go ahead 90-81 with 4:02 remaining. Cleveland hit six straight points and were behind 90-87, but Miami responded with seven consecutive points to put the game away.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Miami Ratings December 2014

     The Miami/Fort Lauderdale region remained the same for the 16th consecutive month as 104.3 The Ticket WAXY-FM was the top sports format radio station. It was not a good period for all three local stations as all of them dropped in their rating numbers.
     The Ticket went from a 1.8 to a 1.6 in December as the station was purchased by Entercom Communications from Lincoln Financial Media during the middle of the ratings period. It seemed that the mediocre start of the season by the Miami Heat in the post LeBron James era has hurt the station.
     Although they did not fall further behind from their top competitor, Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM was slightly down from a 1.0 to a 0.9 as they returned to their numbers from two months ago. CBS Corporation closed on their purchase of the station from Beasley Broadcasting at the start of the ratings period. The lackluster ending of the Miami Hurricanes football season did not help.
     After two straight months of having an increase in their monthly ratings, Miami Sports 940 WINZ-AM fell from a 0.4 to a 0.3 in December. They still had better ratings this month than they had during their six months with Miami Marlins broadcasts. The audience saw the Miami Dolphins go from a playoff contender to being eliminated in a three-week span.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Panthers Ice Down Penguins

     The Florida Panthers began a four-game homestand during the holiday season and beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in a shootout on Monday night at BB&T Center. This was the second game of a home-and-home series between both clubs. The Pens have gone eight games without losing in regulation while the Panthers have picked up at least one point in five of their last six games.
     Pittsburgh(22-6-5), who lead the Eastern Conference and Metropolitan Division in points, scored on their second shot of the game at 4:39 of the first period. Sidney Crosby sent a pass from the right wing to Simon Despres on top of the zone and his slapshot was redirected in by Patric Hornqvist in the low slot past Roberto Luongo for his 12th goal this year.
     It would take until 36.4 seconds left in the second period for Florida(15-9-8) to even the game. Dave Bolland had the puck in the low left circle and centered it to the middle where Jussi Jokinen snapped a shot from the edge of the left circle by Marc Andre-Fleury.
     The Panthers struck again just 22 seconds into the third period to gain a 2-1 margin. Sean Bergenheim placed a lead pass to Jimmy Hayes in the low right circle and he scored on a wrist shot for his eighth goal this season.
     Hayes added another tally and extended the Cats lead to 3-1 at 4:57 of the frame. Bergenheim took a backhand from the left of the crease which was saved and Hayes poked in the rebound when the puck was in the blue paint.
     The Pens would convert on the power play with 4:52 remaining in the third to pull within one goal. Derrick Pouliot fired a slapshot from the top of the zone through traffic which was deflected in by Nick Spaling in the slot for the goal.
     A Panthers turnover deep in their own end was capitalized by Pittsburgh as Evgeni Malkin charged toward the Panthers net from the right icing line and took three shots in the crease area for an unassisted goal with 3:10 to go in regulation. It was his 16th goal this season and 27th career point against the Cats in 27 games.
      The game was decided in a shootout as Aleksander Barkov scored in the seventh round for Florida. The Panthers played in an NHL record 20-round shootout in their previous home game last week against Washington.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Panthers Slip By Flyers

     The Florida Panthers began a two-game swing through Pennsylvania and topped the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in a shootout at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night. The Panthers got their second straight shootout victory following an NHL record 20-round shootout against the Washington Capitals two days ago. The Flyers lost their 10th consecutive shootout game.
     Florida(14-8-8) struck first as former Flyer Scottie Upshall scored on a deflection by Steve Mason following a Tomas Kopecky shot on net at 9:37 of the first period. The Panthers outshot the Flyers 12-3 in the first 16 minutes of the game.
     Philadelphia(11-14-6) responded in the second period at 4:07. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare sent a forehand pass from behind the Panthers net to the slot area and Jakub Voracek hit a one-time shot by Roberto Luongo. There was no scoring in the third period and overtime.
     The Cats scored on their first shootout attempt as Brandon Pirri put in a backhand shot. The Flyers matched it in the third round as Voracek skated in and tallied a goal on a backhand shot through the five-hole. Dave Bolland gave the Panthers the win during the sixth round as he put a shot through the legs of Mason.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Panthers Win Longest Shootout Ever

     Two clubs set an NHL record with a 20 round shootout on Tuesday night as the Florida Panthers beat the Washington Capitals 2-1 at BB&T Center. It broke the record which was set between the Capitals and New York Rangers in November 2005 which went 15 rounds.
     After both teams missed on their first three attempts of the shootout, Alex Ovechkin went five-hole for Washington(14-10-6) against Roberto Luongo. Jussi Jokinen matched it for Florida(13-8-8) as he dragged the puck in on a one-handed backhand by Braden Holtby.
     Brooks Laich scored for the Caps on their seventh attempt with a backhand shot, but Dave Bolland responded with a wrist shot through the goalie's legs for the Cats.
     Both clubs hit the twine in their tenth attempts as Joel Ward snapped a shot over the left glove of Luongo and Derek MacKenzie ripped the puck over the right sholder of Holtby. They also made their 11th attempts when John Carlson sent a wrist shot glove side and Sean Bergenheim put in a backhand shot.
     They would score again in the 17th round. Brooks Orpik tallied on a forehand shot and Dylan Olsen went blocker side on a backhand attempt. Both clubs were allowed to have players who were not goalies make shootout attempts for the second time after the 18th round.
     Nicklas Backstrom and Ovechkin both failed in their opportunities for the Captials. Jokinen missed on his second occasion, however Nick Bjugstad won the game in the 20th round on a wrist shot.
     There were two goals during regulation. Florida scored in the first period at 9:36 to go ahead 1-0. Mike Green's backhand clearing pass from behind the Caps cage deflected off Scottie Upshall and into the slot area. MacKenzie blasted a shot from the edge of the right circle for his third game this season.
     The Capitals evened the contest on the power play with 5:25 left in the second period. Ovechkin fed a pass from the left wing to the slot area where Troy Brouwer has his first shot blocked by Willie Mitchell, but he pounced and scored on his second shot.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Panthers Get By Red Wings Again

     The Florida Panthers went to Joe Louis Arena for the second time in ten days and defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout on Friday night. The Cats won 4-3 back on December 2 in the same place.
     Florida(12-8-7) took the shootout as they scored on their only two attempts. Head coach Gerard Gallant changed up the order as he used two young players instead of seasoned veterans who had a good shootout percentage.
     After Detroit(17-6-7) missed their first attempt, Vincent Trocheck skated on Jimmy Howard as he put on a couple of fake releases until he slipped the puck in between Howard's left skate and the right post.
     The Red Wings failed on their second chance and Brandon Pirri clinched the game as he snapped a shot over the blocker of Howard for the victory.

Friday, December 12, 2014

St Thomas Aquinas And Osceola Title Preview

     The St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders take on the Osceola Kowboys in the FHSAA Class 7A state championship on Friday night at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. The Raiders, who have captured seven FHSAA state championships, look to win their fifth state title in the last eight seasons while the Kowboys will try to reach the top the mountain and win a championship for the second time in school history. Both schools met at the Citrus Bowl in the 2007 Class 5A state championship where Aquinas won 35-20.
     St. Thomas Aquinas(13-1) will be playing in their eighth state championship game since 2004. STA, who have outscored their last 11 opponents 562-34, has hosted all of their FHSAA playoff games this year. They bashed Mater Academy 57-0 in the regional quarterfinal, topped district rival Plantation 38-6 in the regional semifinal, crushed Royal Palm Beach 52-7 in the regional final and beat East Lake 45-7 in the state semifinal.
     The Raiders will split their offense with a balanced amount of rushes and carries. Jordan Scarlett is expected to get more of the carries from the backfield followed by Deltron Sands and Devontae Henry-Cole. The have a number of wide receiver threats with Devante Peete, Sam Bruce, Jawuan Harris and Connor Fee who quarterback Jake Rizzo can throw the ball to.
     Osceola(13-1) comes into the title game with a 12-game winning streak following a second week road loss to Lake Mary 29-28. They also hosted all four playoff games on their road to Orlando. The Kowboys dumped Bartow 35-7 in the regional quarterfinal, barely got by longtime playoff rival Lakeland 35-28 in overtime during their regional semifinal, dropped Tampa Bay Tech 35-15 in a regional final and defeated 2013 Class 7A state finalist Niceville 42-14 in the state semifinal.
     The Kowboys will run the ball for the entire game and rarely can you see a passing play on offense. Running back Laderrien Wilson is expected to get most of the rushes from the Osceola backfield. It will be a tough task to stop the St. Thomas Aquinas front seven with defensive end Nicholas Bosa as their most recognized defensive player.

American Heritage And Godby Title Preview

     The American Heritage Patriots will look to repeat as FHSAA Class 5A state champions on Friday as they face the Godby Cougars at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. They dominated the championship game last year when they crushed Clay 66-8.
     American Heritage(11-3) had an easier on road to the state championship this year because they hosted all of their playoff games at Heritage Field in Plantation. They had three blowout victories with wins over Immokalee 51-0 in the regional quarterfinal, Lely 43-13 in the regional semifinal and Island Coast 56-8 in the regional final. The Pats got by Bishop Moore 20-17 last week in the state semifinal.
     The Patriots have scored at least 30 points in every game this season except for last week's game and an opening game loss to Class 7A state finalist St. Thomas Aquinas 38-7. They had road wins earlier this year against Class 8A state finalist Apopka 30-20 and Class 4A state runner-up Bolles 35-20.
     The offense is led by quarterback Torrance Gibson who can be a dual threat as he can throw the ball to anywhere on the field and run it out of the pocket anytime. They will be in trouble if they decide to throw deep passes all of the time like the Patriots did in Delray Beach when they fell to the American Heritage Stallions. Look for them to be more effective with short passes and screen plays.
     Gibson will have a strong core of wide receivers to connect with which includes Dredrick Snelson, Brandon Johnson, Janarvis Pough, Blair Barrow, Nick Eubanks and Laress Nelson. Running backs Travis Jackson, Kyshaun Bryan and Shaddrick Lowery will carry the ball from the backfield. Cornerback Tavares McFadden is expected to dictate the defense.
     Godby(12-2) has been successful all season except for their opening week loss to Georgia high school Marist 17-14 and a mid-season defeat to eventual Class 3A champion Trinity Christian 28-13. The Cougars currently ride an eight-game winning streak in which they have scored at least 35 points in seven of their last eight games. They have outscored their opponents 522-182 this season.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Strikers Ownership Adds Ronaldo

     The Fort Lauderdale Strikers have added Ronaldo as a minority owner of the North American Soccer League franchise. The club officially changed ownership following the NASL Soccer Bowl 2014 last month as several Brazilian businessmen took over the team.
     Ronaldo has been known throughout the world as a forward for the national team of Brazil. He won two FIFA World Cup titles for that nation in 1994 and 2002. He stands second all-time in goals scored for Brazil with 62 behind Pele. Ronaldo once held the record of most World Cup goals with 15 until it was broken by Miroslav Klose of Germany in July at the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil.
     He is one of the three players to capture the FIFA World Player of the Year Award on at least three different occasions. The others are Lionel Messi and Zinedine Zidane. Ronaldo also won the Ballon D'or twice in 1997 and 2002 for best soccer player in Europe. He had stints with several renowned European clubs which included PSV, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and A.C. Milan.

Marlins Make Deals

     The Miami Marlins made several trades on Thursday as they continue to built their team. It is the biggest splash the club has made at the Winter Meetings since 2011.
     The Marlins pulled off a trade with the National League West champion Los Angeles Dodgers. They picked up middle infielder Dee Gordon, starting pitcher Dan Haren and infielder Miguel Rojas for infielder Enrique Hernandez, catcher Austin Barnes along with pitchers Andrew Heaney and Chris Hatcher. The Dodgers then did a rare crosstown trade as they sent Heaney to the Los Angeles Angeles Angels for second baseman Howie Kendrick.
     The Fish also acquired starting pitcher Mat Latos from the Cincinnati Reds for rookie pitcher Anthony Disclafani and catcher Chad Wallach. Latos has been known as a workhorse in the starting rotation for the Reds and the San Diego Padres prior to that. Miami made one more deal as they sent middle reliever Dan Jennings to the Chicago White Sox for a minor league player.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Blues Edge Panthers

     The Florida Panthers began a stretch of five of their next six games on the road as they lost to the St. Louis Blues 4-2 at Scottrade Center on Monday night. The top active goalies in career wins were in net as Roberto Luongo started for the Cats while Martin Brodeur, the all-time leader in wins and shutouts, played in his first home game with his new team. Brodeur improved to 41-16-9 all-time in his career against Florida.
     St. Louis(18-8-2) jumped on the Panthers as they tallied two goals in the first period. Maxim Lapierre skated from behind the Florida cage to the right icing line then fired a turnaround shot off the right skate of Vincent Trocheck into the net at 11:17. Ian Cole followed with another goal for the Bluenotes as he ripped a slapshot from the high slot with 2:26 remaining.
     The Panthers compiled the only goal of the second period. Nick Bjugstad got his 12th tally of the year on a two-on-one breakaway with 4:39 to go. Tomas Fleischmann and Erik Gudbranson were credited with assists on the play. 
     In the third period, Florida(11-8-7) was able to tie it 2-2 at 5:06. Aaron Ekblad put in his fifth goal of the season as he snapped a shot from the low right circle.
     The Blues would regain the lead late in the third with 1:54 left when Chris Porter deflected a shot in the slot area from a long-range blast by Barret Jackman at the blue line. St. Louis got an empty-net goal with 32 seconds remaining as Paul Stastny scored.

Monday, December 8, 2014

No Local Television For Title Games

     The FHSAA football finals at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando will not be broadcast on local television in early December. It is a major disappointment for high school football fans in the South Florida region.
     Bright House Sports Network has the exclusive television rights to all eight state championship games. Comcast Sports South did broadcast the games into South Florida last year, however they folded on May 31 and there is no channel that would carry it in 2014. The games will be aired on the Bright House Sports Network website, but you will have to sign in and spend a pay-per-view fee.
     The only championship contest this season that was broadcast on local radio was on ESPN 106.3 WUUB-FM and the ESPN West website. The FHSAA Class 3A championship game between the American Heritage Stallions and the Trinity Christian Conquerors was aired on Saturday with Ken LaVicka as the play-by-play announcer and Chris Kokell as the game analyst.
     The South Florida High School Football Show finished their game broadcast schedule this year on Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM Friday night. It was a Class 7A state semifinal at Brian Piccolo Stadium in Fort Lauderdale where the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders hosted the East Lake Eagles. It was broadcast by play-by-play announcer Mike Levine and game analyst Wesley Carroll. 

Entercom Communications Acquires The Ticket

     Entercom Communications Corporation has acquired 104.3 The Ticket WAXY-FM and 790 The Ticket WAXY-AM from Lincoln Financial Media. They also picked up WMXJ-FM and WLYF-FM in Miami along with 11 other radio stations in Atlanta, Denver and San Diego. The sale is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2015 following the approval by the Federal Communications Commission.
     Lincoln Financial Media has owned all four South Florida stations since April 2006 when they merged as Lincoln Financial Group with Jefferson-Pilot Corporation. 104.3 The Ticket has been on top of the ratings for sports format radio stations in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale region for the last 15 months. 790 The Ticket flipped their format from brokered programming to sports in August 2004. WLYF-FM has appeared near the top of the monthly ratings in the market for over a decade while WMXJ-FM showed up in the top seven over the past four months.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

American Heritage Loses State Title

     The Trinity Christian Conquerors captured their second straight state title as they got by the American Heritage Stallions 27-7 in the FHSAA Class 3A championship at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on Saturday. The Stallions were trying to win their fourth state title in the last eight years and are now 1-3 in title games against the Conquerors.
     Things started out in the worst way for American Heritage(11-2) when quarterback Warren Robinson was injured on the second play of the game. He would not return until 5:20 left in the second quarter. The Stallions were held on offense and did not get a first down until 5:11 to go in the first half.
     The first score was set up when Alex Sinkfeld fumbled on a punt return and recovered by Trinity Christian deep in Stallions territory. Backup quarterback Kevin Toliver went untouched with a 16-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive with 1:43 left in the second quarter for a 7-0 lead.   
     Trinity Christian(11-2) extended their lead to 14-0 with 5:57 left in the third quarter. Running back Chris Barr exploded with an 82-yard touchdown run on their longest play from scrimmage.
     The Conquerors made it 21-0 when running back Rasheed Martin rushed up the middle for a one-yard touchdown with 7:55 left in the fourth quarter. They pulled off an 87-yard drive on all running plays.
     American Heritage made sure that they were not shut out in the final seconds of the game. The Stallions scored with one second remaining on an option play to the left side as backup running back Bryce Hill got into the end zone from three yards out.

American Heritage And Trinity Christian Title Preview

     The American Heritage Stallions will be going for their fourth state title in the last eight years on Saturday as they face the defending champion Trinity Christian for the FHSAA Class 3A championship at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
     American Heritage(11-1) last won a state championship in 2011. They lost the first game of the season at home against Miramar 14-7and are currently on an 11-game winning streak. The Stallions had impressive victories during the season against defending Class 5A champion American Heritage-Plantation, East Lee County and Heritage.
     They have scored at least 38 points in a game nine times this season and have outscored their opponents 503-178 in 2014. American Heritage pounded Chaminade-Madonna 58-21 at home in the regional semifinal, beat Westminster Christian 23-7 in the regional final and stomped Clearwater Central Catholic 63-13 in the state semifinal.
     The Stallions have a balanced attack on offense. Running back Devin Singletary will get the bulk of the carries from the backfield. D.J. Davis and Alex Sinkfeld are expected to get additional rushing attempts. Quarterback Warren Robinson is a duel threat who can run out of the pocket and pass the ball. Wide receivers Trenard Davis, Desmond Cain, and Christian Bingo are the main targets for Robinson to connect with.

Friday, December 5, 2014

St Thomas Aquinas Destroy East Lake

     The St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders returned to the state championship game for the eight time in the last 11 seasons as they clobbered the East Lake Eagles 45-7 in a Class 7A state semifinal on Friday night at Brian Piccolo Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. The Raiders will take on the Osceola Kowboys in the FHSAA Class 7A state championship next Friday night at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
     East Lake(13-1) lost for the second consecutive year in the state semifinal. They fell at home in 2013 to the Dwyer Panthers, who eventually captured the Class 7A title.
     After scoring 45 unanswered points against the Royal Palm Beach Wildcats in the regional final last week, St. Thomas Aquinas(13-1) would repeat the feat as they put up the first 38 points on the scoreboard against the Eagles.
     Special teams became an important factor for Aquinas in the first half as three long punt returns by James Oliphant set up touchdowns for the Raiders. His first punt return in the first quarter was 40 yards to the Eagles 18-yard line. Three plays later, running back Jordan Scarlett raced around the right side of the line and scored from three yards away at 7:30 for a 7-0 lead. Zachary Cicero converted on a 31-yard field goal with 29 seconds left in the first for a Raiders ten-point gap.
     In the second quarter, Oliphant took a 50-yard punt return to the East Lake 37. Running back Deltron Sands finished the drive with a touchdown run through the right side from four yards out with 9:19 remaining to make it 17-0. Oliphant would set their next possession with a 43-yard punt return to the Eagles 30. Quarterback Jake Rizzo capped it with a five-yard pass into the right corner of the end zone to Sands with 3:32 to go in the first half for a St. Thomas Aquinas 24-point cushion.
     The Raiders made it 31-0 at 7:05 of the third quarter when Rizzo faked a handoff to Scarlett and carried the ball toward the right sideline for a 20-yard score. STA extended their lead to 38-0 with 2:04 left in the third as wide receiver Sam Bruce caught a pass in the middle from Rizzo and dashed in from 20 yards out. A running clock would be used for the remainder of the game following that scoring play.
     East Lake broke the shutout at the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Quarterback Jake Hudson found wide receiver Bryce Miller on the right sideline at midfield, he avoided several tacklers and finished a 68-yard pass play.    
     St. Thomas Aquinas put in one more touchdown before time expired and increased their lead to 45-7 as running back Devontae Henry-Cole rumbled in on a 44-yard run with 1:05 to go.

East Lake At St Thomas Aquinas Preview

     The St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders host the East Lake Eagles in a Class 7A state semifinal at Brian Piccolo Stadium in Fort Lauderdale on Friday night. The school that has won the southern bracket in the second highest FHSAA classification went on to win the state championship every year since 2010.
     St. Thomas Aquinas(12-1) looks to make the championship game for the eighth time in the last 11 seasons as they have won the state semifinal in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012. Aquinas has outscored their last ten opponents 517-27. STA has been at home for every round of the FHSAA playoffs. They crushed Mater Academy 57-0 in the regional quarterfinal, beat district rival Plantation 38-6 in the regional semifinal and easily handled Royal Palm Beach 52-7 in the regional final.
     The Raiders have an offensive attack that is very balanced. Running back Jordan Scarlett is the main rushing threat for the team as he will get most of the carries. Deltron Sands, Khambrel St. Hubert and Devonte Henry-Cole can also carry the ball from the backfield. Quarterback Jake Rizzo looks to connect with a number of options at wide receiver with Davante Peete, Jawuan Harris and Sam Bruce.
     Undefeated East Lake(13-0) was in the same situation last year when they lost at home to eventual FHSAA Class 7A champion Dwyer and look to redeem themselves in 2014. They have scored at least 33 points in ten games and have outscored their opponents 470-138 this season. The Eagles dropped Palmetto 24-3 in the regional quarterfinal, went on the road to beat Braden River 37-21 in the regional semifinal and returned home to defeat Fort Myers 40-7 in the regional final.
     The Eagles had no quarterback battle like they did in 2013 as Jake Hudson has led their offense with a great passing attack. Even though East Lake lost Clemson bound Artavis Scott to graduation, they remain strong at wide receiver with George Campbell who can get open at any time.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Kim Bokamper To Leave WFOR

     Longtime WFOR-TV Channel 4 sportscaster Kim Bokamper will retire from the television station at the end of January. He has been employed there since 1998 as a sports anchor and sports reporter. Bokamper once played for the Miami Dolphins as a linebacker and defensive end from 1977 until 1985 and led the team to two AFC titles in 1982 and 1984.
     He is currently with the Miami Dolphins Radio Network as a sideline reporter and a panelist on The Finsiders afternoon show at Miami Sports 940 WINZ-AM. Bokamper got his start in radio on Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM as a fill-in host. He eventually was promoted to the early evening spot and later teamed up with local disc jockey Kenny Walker for a morning program called The Kenny and Bo Show from 2006 until 2007.
     Bokamper had a prior stint in local television on Fox Sports Net Florida. He was part of Miccosukee Sports Rap where he co-hosted the show with Joe Rose and Steve Goldstein. Bokamper was also the producer and show owner of that program.

Panthers Short On Comeback

     Even with a season-high 55 shots on goal, the Florida Panthers lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in a shootout on Thursday night at BB&T Center. The Cats fell to the Jackets by one goal three days ago in Columbus.
     The first period seemed like a blitz by Columbus(8-15-2) when they scored twice and held the Panthers to no shots in the first seven minutes. The Blue Jackets got ahead 1:07 into the period as Nick Foligno scored his 11th goal of the year on a wraparound shot following a Scott Hartnell shot from the low right circle.
     Cam Atkinson made it 2-0 at 9:51 as he raced down the ice for a loose puck, picked it up at the top of the Panthers defensive zone and ripped a shot over the left glove of Roberto Luongo.
     Columbus got two shots in the first minute of the second and extended their margin to 3-0 when they scored 51 seconds into the frame. Boone Jenner pounced on a rebound and put in a tally on a backhand shot from the low slot.
     The rest of the period would belong to Florida(10-7-7) as they took the next 13 shots and overcame a 3-0 deficit. The line comprised of Nick Bjugstad, Jonathan Huberdeau and Tomas Fleischmann scored three times in less than five minutes.
     Bjugstad connected with Huberdeau and he sent a pass across to Fleischmann who snapped a shot over the left shoulder of Sergei Bobrovsky at 2:54.
     The Cats closed the gap to 3-2 at 5:04 of the stanza. Fleischmann sent a backhand cross-ice pass from the right wing to Bjugstad and he put a soft backhand shot from the left circle through the five-hole of the goalie.
     Florida added another goal at 7:34 on the power play to tie the contest. Huberdeau was on the left wing and passed down low to Bjugstad on the icing line and he roofed a shot from an acute angle for his second goal of the game and tenth goal this season. The Blue Jackets were outshot 19-1 in the final 19 minutes of the second period.
     There was no scoring in the third period and overtime, although the Panthers outshot their opponent 18-4 in the third. Columbus converted on their fourth attempt in the shootout as Ryan Johansen put a forehand shot over Luongo's blocker for the victory.

Craig Minervini In For Randy Moller

     Craig Minervini will fill in for Randy Moller as the radio play-by-play announcer for the game between the Florida Panthers and Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. He was the Panthers studio host on Fox Sports Florida from September 2003 until April 2012.
     Minervini had been used as a backup radio play-by-play announcer by the Panthers from 2004 to 2007 when Dave Strader had to work a nationally televised game on Versus or NBC. He last announced an NHL game for the New York Islanders back in January 2010 on MSG Plus when he replaced Howie Rose.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hawks Drop On Heat

     The Miami Heat faced a divisional opponent at American Airlines Arena on Wednesday night as they fell to the Atlanta Hawks 112-102. The Heat, who have lost three of their last four games, will now begin a long nine-day, five-game road trip.
     Miami(9-9) were left behind early in the game and trailed 27-18 after one quarter. Atlanta(11-6) extended their margin up to 45-31 and then the Heat went on a 16-4 spurt to pull within two points. The Hawks scored the final six points of the quarter to lead 55-47 at halftime. Dwyane Wade dropped in ten points during the second quarter after no points in the first.
     The Hawks stayed ahead as they led 88-72 after three quarters. Miami was able to cut the deficit down to ten points at 92-82 with 8:32 left and never got any closer.
     Chris Bosh had a team-high 27 points and 11 rebounds in 38 minutes to compile a double-double for the Heat. Mario Chalmers put together a double-double with 19 points and 11 assists while Wade drained in 28 points with seven assists.
     Jeff Teague had a team-high 27 points and six assists for Atlanta. Kyle Korver sunk 18 and Paul Millsap scored 14. Both of them shared a team-high six rebounds each.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Panthers Fly Over Red Wings

     The Florida Panthers finished their short two-game road trip on Tuesday night as they beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 at Joe Louis Arena. The Cats are now 3-1-1 in their last five games in Detroit after they were 1-5-3 in their previous nine visits to Hockeytown. Both teams will face each other again in the same location ten days from now.
     Detroit(14-6-5) got to score on their first power play with 13:13 left in the first period. Former Panther Stephen Weiss passed the puck to Pavel Datsyuk at the top right circle. His shot was redirected in mid-air by Tomas Tatar by Roberto Luongo for his tenth goal this year as they pulled ahead 1-0.
     The Panthers tied it up with 4:49 to go in the first. Vincent Trocheck took a shot from the slot area which was saved by Jimmy Howard. Jimmy Hayes flipped the puck from the crease over him for his sixth goal this season.
     In the second period, Sean Bergenheim gave Florida(10-7-6) their first lead of the contest at 12:21 on a Red Wings giveaway in their own defensive zone. Brad Boyes carried the puck through the low right circle and send a cross-ice pass to Jussi Jokinen in the low left circle. He found Bergenheim in the slot and he blasted a one-time slapshot into an open cage.
     The Cats extended their margin to 3-1 just 27 seconds into the third period. Hayes stole the puck from Brendan Smith between the circles in the Detroit zone and Trocheck faked then fired a shot from the high crease.
     Florida moved ahead 4-1 at the eight-minute mark as Aaron Ekblad blasted a slapshot from the top of the zone through traffic following a feed from Jonathan Huberdeau from the left wing. It was his second straight game with a goal and his fourth tally this season for the rookie.
     The Red Wings would not go down easily as they closed the gap to 4-2 with 10:28 remaining. After close range shots by Tomas Jurco from the left circle dot and Jacub Kindl from the doorstep, Datsyuk lifted the puck from the low left circle for his tenth goal this year.
     Gustav Nyquist made it a one-goal game with 58.7 seconds left as Detroit had an extra attacker on the ice. Henrik Zettenberg threw in the initial shot with a backhand from right corner that was deflected by Johan Frazen in front and Nyquist buried in the rebound at the edge of the left circle for his 12th goal.

Blue Jackets Skate By Panthers

     The Florida Panthers began a short two-day, two-game trip on Monday night in Columbus and lost to the Blue Jackets 2-1 at Nationwide Arena. The Cats had their two-game win streak snapped. Both teams will meet again on Thursday night in Sunrise.
     Columbus(7-15-2) had just one shot on goal in the first 15 minutes of the game. They scored on their second shot with 4:53 left in the first period. Michael Chaput fed the puck from the right corner to in front where Matt Calvert went around Al Montoya with a backhand shot for a 1-0 lead.
     Florida(9-7-6) scored their only goal on the power play at 1:23 of the second period to tie the game. Aaron Ekblad took a slapshot from the top of the zone which went off defenseman Jack Johnson and by Sergei Bobrovsky.
     The Blue Jackets regained the lead midway through the third period on a Panthers turnover. Kerby Rychel sent a spin-around wrist shot on net from the slot area which was saved, but Boone Jenner scored on the rebound with a backhand shot in the crease area at 10:05.

Monday, December 1, 2014

CBS Radio New WQAM Owner

     CBS Corporation and CBS Radio completed their deal to purchase three local radio stations from Beasley Broadcasting on Sunday and became the new owner of Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM. They also acquired WPOW-FM and WKIS-FM in the 19-station exchange between both corporations. Beasley Broadcasting had owned WQAM since 1996 when they purchased the station from Sunshine Wireless Company.
     All three radio stations have been added to the CBS website. There have been no changes of on-air personnel or behind the scenes employees as their weekday lineup of shows have remained the same. Page Q Sports run by Josh Baumgard has been merged into the Man Cave Daily website in New York while South Florida High School Sports with longtime writer Larry Blustein is now a CBS Miami property.

Wade Back As Heat Top Knicks

     Dwyane Wade returned to the lineup for the first time in eight games as the Miami Heat dropped the New York Knicks 86-79 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night. The Heat held on to the lead throughout the entire ballgame and have won three of their last four games. The Knicks have lost four straight and 13 of their last 15.
     Wade led Miami(9-7) with 27 points and had 14 points in the fourth quarter. Chris Bosh fell short of a double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds while Luol Deng compiled a double-double of ten points and ten rebounds.
     Carmelo Anthony had a game-high 31 points for New York(4-14) along with eight rebounds in 41 minutes of play. Amar'e Stoudemire came off the Knicks bench and garnered 19 points with 12 rebounds.