Thursday, December 31, 2015

WMEN Drops Sid Rosenberg

     640 Sports WMEN-AM has let go Sid Rosenberg following a three-year tenure as their morning show host due to budget cuts. Station management allowed Rosenberg to expand his program beyond sports during his reign as he did a general talk show that included politics, social issues and pop culture. It has been an uncertain situation for him because three different corporations have operated the station over the past calendar year. He had been on-air at that radio station since August 2012.
     Rosenberg started his broadcasting career at CBS Sportsline in Fort Lauderdale first as a salesman and later as a co-host of an internet sports program with Scott Kaplan. They moved their show called The Drive to New York City and worked mornings at WNEW-FM.
     He then landed at WFAN-AM in 2001 where he was a morning sports anchor on the Imus In The Morning Show for four years. Rosenberg added midday co-host duties alongside Jody MacDonald and later with Joe Benigno. He lost both his positions when he did not appear to host the New York Giants pregame show in September 2005.
     Rosenberg returned to Florida and joined 790 The Ticket WAXY-AM as a fill-in host. He was promoted to co-host middays with O.J. McDuffie. Rosenberg later was elevated to morning host and held that position for several years before being released in May 2009.
     His next stop was at Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM as a midday host in September 2009. Rosenberg moved on to host afternoons in June 2010 and held the spot for almost two years before he was dismissed in April 2012.
     Other posts that Rosenberg has held included working for one year at WINS-AM as a morning sports anchor earlier this decade. He fills in as a host at WFAN during the month of August for the last couple of years and also filled in to host a talk show for Geraldo Rivera on WABC-AM earlier this year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Erik Lengyel Out At WMEN

     Sid Rosenberg morning show executive producer Erik Lengyel has been let go by 640 Sports WMEN-AM due to budget cuts. Rosenberg was also eliminated as a cost-cutting move. The station has been operated by three different corporations in the past calendar year.
     Lengyel had the longest tenure of any employee at 640 Sports and was there when the station flipped to a sports talk format in March 2008. He started as a morning producer and a board operator on the Jeff DeForrest Show. He held the same position as others took over to host morning drive which included Armando Salguero, Larry Milian, Chris Perkins and Marc Eisenberg. Lengyel eventually added duties as morning sports anchor and then weekend co-host in January 2012.
     He shifted to midday sports anchor and contributed as a producer for shows hosted by Troy Stradford and Andy Slater when Rosenberg began at 640 Sports in August 2012. Lengyel returned back to mornings one month later and had a three-year reign in that spot. He one time worked as a game analyst alongside Adam Baron on Broward County high school football games at WWNN-AM for several years earlier this decade.

FHSAA Football Title Recap

     South Florida high schools captured four FHSAA football state championships at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando during the 2015 season. It matched the same amount that they won in the previous year, however it fell short of the six state titles won in 2013.
     It was the same exact results in the small schools category for the second straight year. The American Heritage Stallions lost to the Trinity Christian Conquerors 30-3 in the Class 3A title game. The Stallions have fallen to the Conquerors in four of five state title games.
     The Booker T. Washington Tornadoes won their fourth consecutive FHSAA Class 4A state title as they knocked off the Raines Vikings 43-23. The Tornadoes became the first Dade County school to win four consecutive state championships as they landed their fifth overall title.
     As for the following weekend in the large schools category, the Miami Central Rockets captured the Class 6A state title with a 48-13 victory over the Armwood Hawks. They matched the dynasty of Booker T. Washington as they won their fourth straight state championship as a Dade County school. The Rockets beat Armwood for the third consecutive year in the title game.
     St. Thomas Aquinas remained the dominant force in Class 7A as they won their second straight state title. STA pounded on the Viera Hawks 45-10 in the title game. The Raiders added to their trophy case with their fourth title in the last in six seasons and their sixth state championship since 2007. The last six championships won by the Raiders has occurred on the same field of the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
     Another high school represented Broward County as the Flanagan Falcons won their first state championship. They defeated the Osceola Kowboys 26-7 in the Class 8A title game. It was the first state title appearance by the Falcons. Osceola lost in the Class 7A championship game last year to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Panthers Drop Habs

     First place in the Atlantic Division was on the line on Tuesday night as the Florida Panthers got by the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 at BB&T Center. The Panthers tied a franchise record and extended their winning streak to seven games. They last accomplished that feat back in March 2008.
     Montreal(21-15-3) scored during their first power play at 12:39 of the first period to go up 1-0. P.K. Subban attempted a shot from the top left circle which was partially blocked. Max Pacioretty ripped a snap shot from the slot area by Roberto Luongo for his 15th goal of the campaign.
     A quick response by Florida(21-12-4) on their own power play tied the contest 1-1 with 3:32 left in the period. Dmitry Kulikov carried the puck to the low left circle and dropped it to Aleksander Barkov at the left-circle dot and he released a wrist shot past Ben Scrivens for his 10th goal this season.  
     In the second period, Jaromir Jagr compiled his 11th goal of the year and his 733rd NHL goal at 1:16 as the Panthers regained the lead. Barkov was at the top of the Canadiens zone and passed to his left to Jonathan Huberdeau. He sent a cross-ice pass to Jagr who dashed through the right circle to the crease area and scored from close range.
     The Cats converted on a 4-on-4 situation at 8:53 of the third period and got a two-goal cushion. Huberdeau moved the puck from the neutral zone to Erik Gudbranson on the right wing. He sent a diagonal pass to the slot where Barkov switched to his backhand and scored his second goal of the game.

Nets Defeat Heat

     The Miami Heat fell to the Brooklyn Nets 111-105 on Monday night at American Airlines Arena. The Heat had their two-game winning streak snapped. It was only the third road victory by the Nets this season.
     Chris Bosh had a team-high 24 points and 11 rebounds as he went 5-for-5 from three-point range. Dwyane Wade added 24 points while Hassan Whiteside compiled 18 points with 11 rebounds. Miami(18-12) had a 16-point lead early in the third quarter until Brooklyn(9-22) pulled off a 32-14 run.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Panthers In First Place Top Blue Jackets

     The Florida Panthers moved into first place in the Atlantic Division and stretched their winning streak to six games as they stopped the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Sunday night at BB&T Center. The Panthers, who have won seven of their last eight and 12 of their last 15 games, last had a six-game winning streak in March 2008. The last time the Cats were in first place this late in the regular season was in 2011-12 when they eventually captured the Southeast Division.
     Florida(20-12-4) jumped up in front at 4:34 of the first period. Reilly Smith hit the left post on a snap shot from the left-circle dot. It sailed back to Aaron Eklad on the right point and he fired a high slap shot which went over the left shoulder of Curtis McElhinney.
     The Panthers their margin to 2-0 with 17.7 seconds remaining. Aleksander Barkov won a face-off in the right circle and drew it back to Jonathan huberdeau. He skated the puck around the right circle then backhanded a pass to the low slot and Barkov scored on a one-timer.
     Columbus(13-22-3) did not get their first shot on net until 10:05 on the first. It would be their only shot in the frame as they were outshot 19-1. It was a season-low that the Cats gave up in a period this season. They allowed two shot by the New York Islanders in Brooklyn on December 15.
     In the second period, the Blue Jackets compiled the first six shots of the stanza. It paid off as Brandon Saad scored from an acute angle from the left corner to close the gap to 2-1. His initial shot from the slot area went wide and off the end glass. He followed the puck into the corner and placed a shot on goal that slipped behind Roberto Luongo.
     Florida regained a two-goal gap on a turnover at center ice at 7:23 of the third period to make it 3-1. Barkov picked up the loose puck in the neutral zone, carried it into the Blue Jackets zone and passed off to Huberdeau at the high slot. He returned the puck to Barkov in the right circle and he shot it into a wide open net for his second goal of the contest.
     The Blue Jackets would score on their fourth power-play attempt with 8:34 left in the third. Ryan Murray guided a shot from the top right circle which glazed off the stick of Alexander Wennberg at the top of the crease. Cam Atkinson followed up and scored from close range.

Heat Get By Magic

     The Miami Heat completed a two-game weekend sweep as they defeated the Orlando Magic 108-101 at Amway Center on Saturday night. The Heat were victorious on Christmas Day the previous day in Miami.
     Chris Bosh led the way for the Heat as he compiled 24 points and 10 rebounds. Dwyane Wade also added 24 points and went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. Goran Dragic also contributed 22 points in the victory.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Heat Knock Off Pelicans

     The Miami Heat defeated the Nevv Orleans Pelicans 94-88 on Friday at American Airlines Arena. The Heat stopped a three-game skid to the Pelicans.
     Miami improved their all-time record on Christmas Day to 10-2. They have been victorious on the holiday for the seventh consecutive time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Emerson Lotzia Moves To Boston

     Emerson Lotzia has left his position as a sports anchor at VVPTV-TV and VVFLX-TV in VVest Palm Beach and joined NESN in Boston as a sportscaster.  He had been based in the Palm Beach County market for almost three years.
     Lotzia, a University of Central Florida grad, began his professional broadcasting career as a sportscaster at VVETM-TV in Elmira, Nevv York. He later shifted to KTVX-TV in Salt Lake City before moving to South Florida.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Panthers Edge Senators

     The Florida Panthers played an important four-point swing game and defeated the Ottawa Senators 2-1 in a shootout on Tuesday night at BB&T Center. The Panthers have won five straight games, six of their last seven and 11 of their last 14. The Cats lead the Senators by two points for third place in the Atlantic Division. 
     There was no scoring until the second period of the contest when Corban Knight scored his first goal of the season at 9:14 to give Florida(19-12-4) a 1-0 lead. Jaromir Jagr handed the puck to Quinton Howden on the left point. He put a pass ahead to Knight who skated through the slot and got the goal on a snap shot.
     In the third period, the Panthers were given a too many men on the ice penalty and Ottawa(17-12-6) connected with a goal on the power play at 1:31. Erik Karlsson fired a slapshot from the top of the zone which was deflected in by Mark Stone in the low slot area past Roberto Luongo for his eighth goal of the season.
     The game went to a shootout and Florida converted on two of their three attempts. Brandon Pirri shot the puck between the legs of Craig Anderson on the Panthers first attempt. Aleksander Barkov wrapped up another victory with a goal on the forehand shot during the third attempt. The Sens missed on their two attempts of the shootout. The Panthers have the most shootout victories in the NHL this season and improved their record to 5-l.  

Miami Ratings December 2015

     Miami Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM was the highest rated sports format radio station in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale region for the fourth consecutive month. The ratings period showed some surprises that were not expected.
     WQAM has not been on top of the competition alone in the ratings for this long in over five years. The four-hour blocks of shows with Joe Rose, Orlando Alzugaray, Marc Hochman, Zach Krantz, Channing Crowder and Alex Donno has worked. They did drop slightly from a 1.2 to a 1.1 in the month of December. The organization fell even with the great start of the season by the University of Miami Hurricanes basketball team.
     790 The Ticket WAXY-AM went down from a 0.9 to a 0.8 this month. The loss of Israel Gutierrez leaving the afternoon show after two months had an impact as they tried to find a permanent partner alongside Ethan J. Skolnick. The Miami Heat continued their winning ways in a weak Eastern Conference.
     Miami Sports 940 WINZ-AM saw an improvement as they went up from a 0.4 to a 0.5 during the month of December. The station has not picked up ratings like this in over two years when they accomplished the feat back in October 2013. Their numbers did improve with different shows hosted by Jeff DeForrest, Andy Slater and Greg Likens in spite of the mediocre season by the Miami Dolphins.

Guy Rawlings In Birmingham

     Former South Florida television sportscaster Guy Rawlings has joined WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Alabama as a news anchor. He had been at KTVA-TV and KTXA-TV in Dallas from November 2013 to November 2015 in a sportscaster capacity.
     Rawlings had a long tenure at WTVJ-TV Channel 6 in Miami from 1997 until 2007 as a sports anchor and sports reporter. He moved on to Orlando and joined WESH-TV as a sportscaster from 2007 to November 2011. Rawlings, a University of Florida grad, left for Atlanta to become a news anchor at WGCL-TV from January 2012 until November 2012. He had previous stops earlier in his broadcasting career at television stations in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Charleston and Baltimore.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Panthers Beat Canucks In Shootout

     Jaromir Jagr passed Marcel Dionne for 4th on the NHL all-time list with his 732nd goal as the Florida Panthers defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 in a shootout at BB&T Center. The Panthers followed a four-game road swing with their first game of a six-game homestand. The Panthers have now won four straight and ten of their last 13 games.
     Vancouver(12-14-9) got out to a 1-0 lead at 6:32 of the first period Jared McCann bumped Erik Gudbranson off the puck on the end wall and passed it to Alex Biega at the top of the zone. His slapshot went through traffic and was deflected in by Jannik Hansen in the crease area.
     Florida(18-12-4) answered back at 12:26 as Canucks killer Shawn Thornton tied the game for Florida on his first tally of the season. Conner Brickley slipped the puck from the right circle to Thornton in the low slot and he ripped a wrist shot past Ryan Miller.
     The Canucks regained the lead with 4:31 left in the first. Bo Horvat skated down the right wing and sent a cross-ice pass to the low slot where Sven Baertschi roofed in a shot by Roberto Luongo for his second straight game with a goal.
     Jagr would get his milestone goal during the Panthers second power play of the game with 11.5 seconds remaining in the period to tie it at 2-2. Aleksander Barkov passed the puck from the left circle to Jagr at the right of the crease and he put in a snap shot for 10th goal this season. Jagr also passed Nicklas Lidstrom for 10th all-time in power-play points with his 591st point on that play.
     In the second period, the Panthers got out to their first lead of the contest at 5:38. Vincent Trocheck raced up the middle, split through the defense and rocketed a shot from the slot for his 10th goal.
     It just took 31 seconds for Vancouver to even the game at 3-3. Derek Dorsett scored from the top of the crease area on a feed by Adam Cracknell.
     The Cats added another power-play goal at 8:31 of the second. Jagr received the puck on the right side of the crease from Huberdeau. He backhanded it to Aaron Ekblad on the other side of the crease and he placed a wrist shot into the half-empty Vancouver cage.
     The Canucks matched it at 4-4 with 5:20 to go in the frame as Daniel Sedin collected his 15th goal of the campaign. He entered into the Panthers zone on a two-on-one and moved the puck to Hansen on the right side. He returned it to Sedin at the left of the crease for an easy score.
     Both teams scored on their first attempts of the shootout. Brandon Pirri connected with a backhand shot for Florida while McCann delayed before he put in a forehand shot. Miller left the game following the first round due to a cramp in his right leg and former Panther Jacob Markstrom replaced him. Barkov got the game-winner during the Panthers third attempt as he went to the backhand.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Panthers Blank Hurricanes

     Roberto Luongo compiled his 70th career shutout as the Florida Panthers held off the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 on Friday night at PNC Arena. The Cats have defeated the Canes five consecutive times. The Panthers finished a four-game road trip and will host the next six games which includes the final four games of the calendar year.
     Neither club scored in the first two periods of the contest. Florida broke out to the lead four minutes into the third period. Panthers captain Willie Mitchell scored his first goal of the season on a snap shot from the right of the crease. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov were credited for the assists on the play.
     Reilly Smith added a tally into an empty net from center ice during the final minute of regulation after the Canes pulled their goalie. Smith increased his goal-scoring streak to four games.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Panthers Crush Devils

     The Florida Panthers stopped the New Jersey Devils 5-1 on Thursday night at Prudential Center. The Panthers, who have won three of their last four games, played in Newark just ten days ago and lost. Florida has outscored their opponents by eight goals in the last two games.
     Jussi Jokinen connected with a power-play goal midway through the first period. Brandon Pirri and Vincent Trocheck were credited on the assists. Dmitry Kulikov extended the Floirda lead as he added his first goal of the season with exactly eight minutes left in the frame.
     In the second period, the Panthers continued to role as Pirri made it a three-goal margin on the Panthers ninth shot of the contest. Logan Shaw collected his first NHL assist on the play. Pirri dropped a pass to Shaw for a one-time shot from the top right circle. It bounced off traffic in front of him and Pirri snapped a shot from the low right circle.
     Florida capitalized after the Devils iced the puck seven minutes into the third period as Reilly Smith scored from the top of the crease for his tenth goal of the season. He has four games in his last five games and four goals in his last nine road games. Jokinen passed from the right point to Trocheck to the right side of the crease. His backhand shot was saved by Cory Schneider, but Smith pounced on the rebound from close range.
     New Jersey broke the shutout by Al Montoya on a power-play goal with over six minutes remaining in the third. Kyle Palmieri blistered a one-time slapshot from the top left circle off the body of Sergey Kalinan after a feed on top by David Schlemko.
     Logan Shaw slapped in a goal from the New Jersey blue line into an empty net after the Devils pulled their goalie for an extra attacker at the five-minute mark.

Heat Slip By Nets

     The Miami Heat extended their winning streak to three games as they defeated the Brooklyn Nets 104-98 on Wednesday night at Barclays Center. The Heat have been victorious in their last five games against the Nets.
     It is unusual that the local South Florida sports teams are at the same location on the road. The Florida Panthers played the previous night at the same arena. The Panthers stayed up there and face the New Jersey Devils in Newark on Thursday night.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Panthers Stomp Islanders

     The Florida Panthers continued their four-game road trip and got a 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night at Barclays Center. It is the first time the Panthers have visited Brooklyn for a game. The Islanders moved from the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale this past summer after over four decades in that facility.
     The Islanders dominated the first period as they outshot the Panthers by nineteen shots. Neither club was able to score in the first stanza.
     In the second period, Florida jumped out to the lead on their fourth shot of the contest as Reilly Smith scored his ninth goal of the season. A clearing pass up the middle was stopped by Dylan Olsen at the top of the zone. He sent a pass down to Smith in the right circle for a one-time slapshot by Jaroslav Halak. Smith scored his third goal in the last four games and Olsen compiled his first point since January.
     The Panthers expanded their margin at the seven-minute mark. Frans Nielsen blindly backhanded the puck to in front of his own net. Aleksander Barkov moved into the slot and scored an unassisted goal on a backhand shot for his seventh tally of the campaign.
     The Islanders cut the lead down to a one-goal margin later in the frame. Brock Nelson crossed the blue line and outleted a pass to his right. Marek Zidlicky released a shot from the top right circle and was redirected into the Panthers cage by Nelson.
     The Cats responded quickly and scored 20 seconds later. Barkov had the puck on the right point and passed across to Brandon Pirri. His soft pass went to Aaron Ekblad in the top left circle and he snapped a shot in. Florida had three goals on their first eight shots on net.
     Florida got a three-goal cushion early in the third period. Jussi Jokinen passed from the right corner to Vincent Trocheck at the right-circle dot for a one-time slapshot. They extended their margin to four goals when Jonathan Huberdeau was credited a shorthanded empty-net goal after he was pulled down at the top of the Isles zone and had a clear path to the net. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Flanagan Defeats Osceola For State Title

     The Flanagan Falcons captured their first FHSAA Class 8A state championship in their first appearance in a title game as they defeated Osceola Kowboys 26-7 on Saturday night at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Flanagan(12-2) did make the state semifinal last year and fell to Columbus.
     Osceola(13-2) played in their second consecutive state championship game. They lost to the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders in the Class 7A title game last year. They had one state championship prior to this game. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bruins Stop Panthers

     The Florida Panthers began a four-game road trip and fell to the Boston Bruins 3-1 at TD Garden on Saturday. The Panthers have lost three of their last four games.
     Boston scored the only goal in the first period. The Panthers attempted to clear the puck out of their zone. Torey Krug stopped it at the left point and floated a high slapshot on goal. Ryan Spooner redirected the puck from inner left circle by Roberto Luongo for a 1-0 lead.
     In the second period, the B's got a power-play goal eight minute in on some good passing. David Krejci stood at the top of the zone and sent the puck into the slot area and Patrice Bergeron directed it to the right circle. Spooner then snapped a shot into the Florida cage for his second goal of the contest.
     Reilly Smith burned his former team around the six-minute mark in the third period as he blasted a slapshot from the right point past Tuukka Rask. Aaron Ekblad fed him the puck from the left point on the play. Brad Marchand scored into an empty net from the red line for the Bruins in the final minute of the game.

Miami Central Take Fourth Straight State Title

     The Miami Central Rockets captured their fourth consecutive FHSAA Class 6A state championship as they defeated the Armwood Hawks 48-13 on Saturday at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. It was the third straight season and the fourth time in the last five years that both Miami Central(13-2) and Armwood(14-1) have met in the championship game.
     The Rockets have dominated the Class 6A classification during this current decade. They have compiled their fifth state title in the last six seasons. No other high school football team in the state of Florida currently has a reign like that.

St. Thomas Aquinas Routs Viera For Title

     The St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders captured their second straight FHSAA Class 7A state championship and their ninth overall as they pounded the Viera Hawks 45-10 on Friday night at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. The Raiders compiled their third championship in the last four years and sixth state title in the last nine seasons. Aquinas improved to 6-0 playing on the same field in Orlando since 2007.
     St. Thomas Aquinas(14-1) dominated the first quarter as they pulled out to a three-touchdown lead. They started their second possession in Viera territory. Quarterback Jake Allen found wide receiver Sam Bruce for a 30-yard touchdown reception and got out to a seven-point lead. Running backs Jaxson Kincaide and James Charles both added three-yard runs for scores in consecutive drives to make it 21-0. 
     In the second quarter, the Raiders scored on their fourth straight possession as Kincaide rushed in from three yards out. Viera(10-5) broke the shutout with l:55 left in the first half on a field goal by Trey Schaneville.
     STA extended their margin as Charles rumbled into the end zone on a one-yard run four minutes into the third quarter. The Raiders added another seven points on an 11-yard interception by linebacker Adetutu Daranijo at 6:56 and then a running clock as used for the rest of the contest.
     James McCourt nailed a field goal in the first minute of the fourth quarter for St. Thomas Aquinas. The Hawks reached the end zone for the first time in the game during the final minute as running back Malek Fortson scored on a one-yard run.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Jaromir Jagr Ties Marcel Dionne In Career Goals

     Jaromir Jagr added another milestone to his long illustrious playing career as the Florida Panthers snapped a two-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night at BB&T Center. The Panthers, who have won six of their last eight games, now go on the road for four games. They've won three times in their last 15 meetings with Washington(19-6-2).
     The opening puck drop was delayed for 20 minutes due to the lack of paramedics in the arena. Soon after play resumed, Jagr scored his 731st NHL goal to tie Marcel Dionne for fourth place all-time. Dmitry Kulikov fired a high shot from the top of the zone which was deflected by Jagr in the low slot 51 seconds into the contest. Jagr had been held scoreless in his last eight games.
     In the second period, Florida(14-11-4) scored during their fourth attempt on the power play at 9:16 to make it 2-0. Brandon Pirri had the puck in the top right circle and sent it to Brian Campbell at the top of the zone. He returned it to Pirri for a one-time shot which turned out to be his sixth goal of the season.
     The Cats pulled out to a three-goal margin at 7:19 of the third period during a four-on-four situation. They got a two-on-one breakaway when Huberdeau carried the puck down the left wing and into the Capitals zone. He connected a cross-ice pass from the top left circle to Aaron Ekblad in the low right circle and he redirected a one-timer for his sixth tally of the year.
     The Caps broke the shutout when they had an extra attacker with 2:08 remaining as Alex Ovechkin blasted a slaspshot from the left circle by Al Montoya. It was the 14th goal this season for him and his 489th NHL goal.
     Logan Shaw finished things up for the Panthers with 1:04 left when he scored his second NHL goal into an empty goal from the right wing. Jussi Jokinen was credited with an assist.

Flanagan And Osceola Title Preview

     The Flanagan Falcons and the Osceola Kowboys will face each other on Saturday night for the FHSAA Class 8A state championship at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Both schools have taken different paths to this title game.
     Flanagan(11-2) will be playing for their first state football championship. They lost to Columbus on the road in the state semifinal last year, however the Falcons got revenge last week on the same field by the score of 30-17. They compiled three consecutive shutouts over Piper, Deerfield Beach and Atlantic earlier in the FHSAA playoffs. Flanagan lost two games this year by a combined six points to St. Thomas Aquinas and South Plantation.
     The Falcons use a spread offense with quarterback Kato Nelson calling the plays. He will have wide receivers Dredrick Snelson and Jahcour Pearson to get receptions down the field. Snelson has championship game experience as he helped the American Heritage Patriots win the past two Class 5A state championships. Running back Darius Alexander and fullback Tyler Goetz can be used for rushing and passing plays.
     Osceola(13-1) returns to the Citrus Bowl for the second straight season. They were shut out 31-0 by St. Thomas Aquinas for the Class 7A state championship last year before the Kowboys were elevated to a higher classification. In the playoffs this year, they were victorious at home against Treasure Coast and Vero Beach followed by a tough road win against Dr. Phillips. They held off West Orange at home last week in a state semifinal.
     The Kowboys set up in a wing-t offense, will constantly run the ball throughout the entire game and rarely pass the ball. Their main threat to get many rushing attempts from the backfield is running back Laderrrien Wilson. Wing back Marcus Edwards can also carry the ball on an inside rushing play. Quarterback Isaiah Wilson looks to dictate the offense.

St. Thomas Aquinas And Viera Title Preview

     The St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders will look to capture their ninth state title as they face the Viera Hawks in the FHSAA Class 7A state championship game on Friday night at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. The Raiders have been undefeated on this field since 2007 winning their last five state championships. They look to win their sixth state title in the last nine seasons.
     St. Thomas Aquinas(13-1) did not trail once in their first three playoff victories over Royal Palm Beach, Dwyer and Mater Academy. They struggle slightly during the first half in the state semifinal game on the road at Braden River last week. STA has won every game this year except for a three-point loss in the regular season at Deerfield Beach. They have been victorious in seven consecutive games since that defeat.
     The Raiders execute a well-rounded offense in which they can run or pass the ball on any occasion. They have Jake Allen at quarterback who is a University of Florida commit. Running backs James Charles and Jaxson Kincaide will get numerous carries from the backfield. Wide receivers Sam Bruce, Michael Irvin Jr., Trevon Grimes, Michael Harley and James Jenkins can all make receptions on passes from Allen.
     Viera(10-4) played their first three playoff games at home and defeated Harmony, Martin County and Lakeland. They went on the road last week and stopped Columbia in the state semifinal. They have won seven straight games after they began the regular season with a 3-4 record.
     Quarterback Hayden Kingston leads the way for the Hawks on offense and can run out of the option. His two favorite targets to throw the ball to are wide receivers Tre Nixon and Alex Cabrera. Running back Brennen DePlancke is expected to be the main rushing threat for the team.

Booker T. Washington Wins Another State Title

     The Booker T. Washington Tornadoes captured their fourth consecutive FHSAA Class 4A state championship with a 43-23 victory over the Raines at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on Saturday night. It was the fifth overall state title for the school.
     Booker T. Washington(9-5) became the first school from Dade County to win four straight football state championships. The Tornadoes have been the dominate force in the Class 4A classification in Florida during this decade. Raines finished their season with a record of 12-2.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

American Heritage Loses State Title Game

     It was deja vu as the American Heritage Stallions lost to the Trinity Christian Conquerors 30-3 in the FHSAA Class 3A state championship game at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on Saturday. The Stallions lost the state title game to the Conquerors last year and have now fallen in four of five championship matchups to the same school.
     Trinity Christian(14-0) got the only score in the first half during the second quarter. The Stallions missed on a 24-yard field goal with 3:19 to go in the first half.
     Early in third quarter, the Conquerors capitalized on a turnover as safety Chamarri Conner returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown at 8:45 to make it 13-0.
     American Heritage(10-3) scored their only points in the contest as Billy Mitchell connected on a field goal with 5:40 remaining in the third.
     The Conquerors extended their lead as quarterback Billy Cobb found tight end DaVonte Porter for a 20-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left in the quarter.
     Frankie Onate added a 46-yard field goal at 9:15 of the fourth quarter. They capped the victory when running back Jalin Buie rushed in from 25 yards away with 4:09 remaining in the game.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Senators Defeat Panthers

     The Florida Panthers returned from a five-game road trip and lost to the Ottawa Senators 4-2 at BB&T Center on Tuesday night. The Panthers lost their second straight game and are winless in four of their last five home games. Roberto Luongo passed Tony Esposito for seventh all-time in NHL history among goalies as he played in his 887th game.
     It took nine minutes for Ottawa(15-8-5) to get their first shot on net in the first period. That did not phase the Panthers as Logan Shaw scored his first NHL goal at 7:49. He received a pass from Derek MacKenzie and went down the right side of the ice before he fired a slapshot from the right circle by the left glove of Craig Anderson.
     The Senators had a power play at the beginning of the second period and converted it 48 seconds into the frame on some fast passing. Mark Stone relayed a pass from the low left circle to Zack Smith in the slot area for a one-time shot.
     Florida(13-11-4) regained the lead with 6:02 left in the period. Brandon Pirri sent a long pass through the neutral zone to Vincent Trocheck at the Senators blue line. He centered it to Reilly Smith in the middle and he came in alone on a breakaway which resulted in his seventh goal of the year on a backhand shot.
     Ottawa was rewarded another power play early in the third period. They scored with the man advantage for the second time in the contest at 51 seconds. A hard pass by Bobby Ryan from the top right circle bounced off the skate of Stone and across the ice. Kyle Turris snapped in a shot from the left-circle dot for his 12th goal of the season.
     Mike Hoffman would score on an unassisted goal from the slot at 14:23 to give the Senators their first lead of the game. Jean-Sebastian Pageau added an NHL team-high seventh shorthanded goal with 2:31 remaining into an empty net.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Devils Light Up Panthers

     The Florida Panthers played the final game of a five-game road trip and lost to the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Sunday night at Prudential Center. The loss snapped the Panthers current five-game winning streak and a five-game winning streak on the road. Their last loss away from Sunrise was four weeks ago in Los Angeles against the Kings.
     In the first period, Lee Stempniak scored 26 seconds into the game for New Jersey and Kyle Palmieri added another score in the frame.
     Florida struck quickly 45 seconds into the second period to cut the deficit. Aleksander Barkov won a right-circle faceoff and Jaromir Jagr drew the puck back to the right point. Aaron Ekblad smashed in a slapshot for his fifth tally of the season.
     Adam Henrique has a long history of burning the Panthers in the last four seasons and did it again at 3:43. He got a rebound in the slot area, circled around the Florida cage and scored on a wraparound shot past Roberto Luongo.
     Jonathan Huberdeau would connect with his third goal of the year with under 6:53 left in the period. Jagr tipped the puck from the right corner to Huberdeau in the low right circle and scored on a snap shot by Cory Schneider.
     The Devils pulled away with the only goal in the final period at 6:44. Damon Severson sent a cross-ice pass from the right-circle dot to Mike Cammalleri in the low left circle and he put in a wrist shot.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Panthers Slip By Blue Jackets

     The Florida Panthers continued their winning ways with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Panthers have won five consecutive games and been victorious in every game of the current road trip. The Cats look to sweep the five-game road swing and win a franchise record sixth straight away game on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils.
     Both teams scored in the second period. Florida took the lead over one minute into the frame when Vincent Trocheck sent a cross-ice pass from the left goal line off the right skate of Justin Falk which landed in the Columbus net for his eighth goal of the season.
     Michael Chaput tied the contest for the Blue Jackets ll minutes later when he redirected the puck in the low slot by Al Montoya following a pass from Andrew Bodnarchuk on the left wing. It was the second NHL goal for Chaput.
     Aleksander Barkov would score the game-deciding goal during the shootout. He went through the slot area then lifted a backhand shot over the left shoulder of Sergei Bobrovsky into the top half of the cage for the victory.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Panthers Nail Predators

     The Florida Panthers topped the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena. The Panthers extended their winning streak to a season-high four games and are victorious in their last five road games.
     Quinton Howden gave Florida the lead with 5:01 left in the first period on a shot from the high slot. Connor Brickley and Willie Mitchell were credited with assists on the play.
     In the second period, the Cats increased their lead by two goals while on the power play. Aleksander Barkov picked up the puck on the left edge of the crease following a scramble for it in front. Jonathan Huberdeau beat Pekka Rinne scored on a snap shot from the slot for his second goal of the season.
     Nashville responded with a goal with over two minutes left in the frame. Roman Josi skated the puck into the Panthers zone and made a drop pass to Craig Smith. His slapshot deflected off Josi's body and by Roberto Luongo.

St. Thomas Aquinas At Braden River Preview

     The St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders travel up to Bradenton to take on the Braden River Pirates on Friday night in a Class 7A state semifinal. The last time the Raiders lost a playoff game in Central Florida was in 2009 at Bradenton against the Manatee Hurricanes in the same round of the postseason.
     St. Thomas Aquinas only lost one game this season by just three points and has surrendered seven points in the first half of their three playoff games this year. They shut out the Royal Palm Beach Wildcats 29-0 in a regional quarterfinal, went on the road to defeat the Dwyer Panthers 24-7 in a regional semifinal and returned home to wipe out Mater Academy 60-7 in a regional final last week.
     The Raiders, the defending Class 7A state champions, have University of Florida commit and quarterback Jake Allen at the helm of the offense. The school has a well-balanced attack of running and passing. Running backs James Charles and Jaxson Kincaide can be used at anytime for a rushing attempt. Allen has a strong wide receiver core with Sam Bruce, Michael Irvin Jr., Trevon Grimes, James Jenkins and Michael Harley.
     Braden River enters this game undefeated and had a playoff run in which they were victorious over Gulf Coast, Venice and Plant City. They have given more than l5 points in only two games this year.
     The Pirates have starting quarterback and FIU commit Jacob Huesman to lead the team on offense. He can throw short passes to wide receivers Travis Williams, Jawaan Jenkins, Dexter Hodo and Ryan Neuzil. Huesman can set up screen plays with running backs Raymomd Thomas, Jaylin Austin and Deshaun Fenwick who will also get their rushing opportunities.

Booker T. Washington And Raines Title Preview

     The Booker T. Washington Tornadoes will attempt to capture their fourth consecutive FHSAA Class 4A state championship as they face the Raines Vikings at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on Saturday night. The Tornadoes became the first school in Dade County history to win three straight titles last year and look to get their fifth overall state championship this weekend.
     Booker T. Washington went up to Belle Glade to defeat the Glades Central Raiders 35-21 in a regional semifinal and then knocked off Cocoa 33-14 last week at Traz Powell Stadium in a state semifinal last week. The team did go undefeated in their previous two seasons to win state titles. They lost their opening game on the road against the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders to snap a 41-game winning streak and finished with a 5-5 record during the regular season.
     The Tornadoes look to execute a spread formation on offense. Quarterback Daniel Richardson can dictate the pace for the team. He has a slew of wide receivers to connect with which includes Raymond Flanders, Tyquan Thornton, Gustavious Dames and Darrius Scott. Running back Craig Nelson will get the bulk of the carries from the backfield along with Trawone Johnson.
     Raines compiled six shutouts during the regular season and became a district champion. They got by district runner-up The Bolles School Bulldogs, who lost to Booker T. Washington in the state title game for the last three years, in a regional final 34-8 at Jacksonville two weeks ago then eliminated Santa Fe on the road 35-14 in a state semifinal.
     Quarterback Augie Dibiase expects to lead the way for the Vikings on offense. Alex Rutledge is the primary running back to rush the ball for Raines while Dajuan Jackson and Bishop Bonnett can also see some carries. Their four wide receivers of Ronald Patterson, Rick Wells, Dalvin Storey and Willie Wright are similar and help the passing game of Dibiase.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

American Heritage And Trinity Christian Title Preview

     The American Heritage Stallions will challenge the Trinity Christian Conquerors in a FHSAA championship game rematch on Saturday at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. The Conquerors defeated the Stallions by 20 points last year for the Class 3A crown. American Heritage has won once in four confrontations with Trinity Christian in a state title matchup.
     American Heritage, who finished as a district runner-up this season, hosted and beat Clearwater Central Catholic 31-24 last week in a state semifinal. The Stallions got revenge the previous week when they went on the road and stopped district champion Oxbridge Academy 16-11 in a regional final.
     The Stallions bring a similar rushing attack as they did last year. Running back Devin Singletary is expected to get most of the carries from the backfield. Cornelius Smith, a transfer from Dwyer, can pick up several rushing attempts along with D.J. Davis and Alec Sinkfield. Cameron Smith became the new starting quarterback this season and looks to connect with wide receivers Keenan Duggan, Micah Leon and Matt Pica.
     Trinity Christian, who have captured two consecutive state titles, are undefeated this season as they head into this title game. They played their last two playoff games on the road and shut out Taylor County 51-0 in a regional final and topped Tampa Catholic 47-14 in a state semifinal last week.
     The Conquerors run a well-balanced offensive attack of running and passing. Quarterback Billy Cobb can set things up on offense. They have several options at running back which includes Rasheed Martin, Jalin Buie and DaeQuante Showers. Wide receivers D.J. Matthews, Damien McGhee, Brandon Robinson and J.C. Flowers will try to make receptions from Cobb.

FHSAA Title Games Not On Local TV

     The FHSAA football state title games will not be broadcast on television in the South Florida region for the second consecutive year. The contests will be played over the next two weekends at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
     Bright House Sports Network which is based in Central Florida has the exclusive television rights to all eight state championship games. Comcast Sports South did carry the games two years ago, however they folded six months later.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Panthers Slow Down Blues

     The Florida Panthers edged the St. Louis Blues 3-1 on Tuesday night at Scottrade Center. It was the second game of a five-game road trip for the Panthers who have won three consecutive games on the road. The Cats had been winless in their last six games against the Blues.
     The first period remained scoreless as both teams combined for seven shots in the frame. It took l5 minutes for St. Louis to get their first shot on net.
     In the second period, Florida pulled off two goals in less than l5 seconds. Brandon Pirri received a long lead pass at the St. Louis blue line from Derek MacKenzie, skated on net with a breakaway and buried home a backhand shot by Brian Elliott. Steve Ott would lose the puck in his own zone seconds later and MacKenzie blasted a slapshot for a score from the slot area.
     The Blues broke the shutout twenty seconds later as David Backes sent a turnaround shot from the edge of the left circle off the skate of Dylan Olsen and past Roberto Luongo.
     MacKenzie followed with an unassisted goal with over three minutes remaining as he rambled through the neutral zone after he intercepted a pass from Kevin Shattenkirk and fired a wrist shot from the high slot. It's the first multi-point game for MacKenzie this season.

Rachel Nichols Rejoins ESPN

     Rachel Nichols has rejoined ESPN following a three-year stint with Turner Sports as a sports reporter and a sideline reporter for NBA and NCAA basketball games. Nichols started at that organization in January 2013. She at one time did host a studio show on CNN called Ungraded With Rachel Nichols from September 2013 until October 2014 on CNN.
     Nichols was known as Rachel Alexander when she was employed as a sports writer for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel from 1995 to 1996. She then worked at the Washington Post as a sports writer until 2004. Nichols moved to ESPN and handled sports reporter duties on television for over eight years before she left for Atlanta.

Adam Kuperstein Joins The Ticket

     WTVJ-TV Channel 6 sportscaster Adam Kuperstein has joined 790 The Ticket WAXY-AM as a weekend host. He began his new position this past weekend. He will still continue to host a Sunday late morning show with NBC Sports Radio Network.
     He worked an early afternoon show at Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM with different co-hosts from January 2012 until July 2015 which included Steve Goldstein, Channing Crowder twice and Curtis Stevenson. He did host a weekend program on WQAM until December 2011.
     Kuperstein has been a sportscaster at WTVJ-TV since July 2005. He was elevated to work as a news anchor at that station in December 2011 and held that position until 2015 when he returned to the sports department.