West Palm Beach’s Newman outlasts over 64 Tri-county high school teams to make title game
There’s a new high school powerhouse in South Florida and it’s not in Miami. Not Fort Lauderdale either. Keep going up I-95 to West Palm Beach and you’ll find a small, private high school that really hasn’t been known for their football teams – until now.
This past weekend, Cardinal Newman High School was invited to the 4th Annual Miami Dolphins Academy 7 on 7 High School Tournament and it’s probably safe to say that not many people saw them advancing to far into this popular Tri-county tournament. In the end, Miami Jackson was able to withstand the South Florida heat, defeating Cardinal Newman 52-28 to win.
Newman’s Head Coach Steve Walsh, who is in his third year at the helm, appears to be turning around a proud program at Newman after several mediocre seasons. He definitely has the winning pedigree from his days as quarterback at University of Miami. He was 23-1 in two seasons as the starting quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes and led them to the national title in 1987.
Walsh knows these off-season tournaments will help his team this upcoming season.
“These things are fun to do,” said Walsh. “Our kids competed and that’s what you like to see from these events.”
The two day event began on Friday, June 17 with a symposium focusing on character development and specific skill training. The character development portion included speeches from Miami Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano and CEO Mike Dee and members of the Florida National Guard. The high school players were taught practical life lessons and preparation for standardized tests, along with discussions on life after high school, personal development and community service. The team took those skills to the field today. Members of the Miami Dolphins Special Teams program were also on hand to help manage the tournament.
By winning the championship, Miami Jackson will represent South Florida and the Miami Dolphins in the 2011 HSPD National Championships in Cleveland Ohio, July 7-10.
“Life is about opportunities. We had a chance and took advantage of the opportunity,” said Antonio Brown, Miami Jackson Head Football Coach. “We plan to represent our school, Miami-Dade and Broward County, the Dolphins and South Florida well in the national tournament.”
Other Palm Beach County teams that particpated in the tournament presented by Under Armour, AT&T and the National Guard included American Heritage (Delray Beach), Boca Raton HS, Jupiter Christian, Jupiter HS, and Palm Beach Lakes.
“The event went very well,” said Twan Russell, Miami Dolphins Director of Youth Programs. “To have all of the hard work come together and see the kids impacted over the last two days was a wonderful experience. We had over 1,000 kids participate and we are the stewards of the game in South Florida. To have a program of this magnitude that impact students in such a positive way is unbelievable.”