BY MARJORIE ACOSTA
(August 11, 2011)-It’s another rainy afternoon in South Florida, which can only mean one thing: it’s the middle of the summer! While most kids are on family vacations or in summer camp, the players of the Miami Gardens Ravens 110 pound football team are out on the gridiron. The gridiron that’s located right behind Carol City High school which has sent several young men to the NFL such as; the late Godfrey Myles, Rashad Jeanty, Kenny Phillips, Sinorice and Satana Moss.
The talent that is usually developed right here in South Florida, all starts at a youth program like the Ravens, where rain isn’t enough to call practice off and your head coach has a linebacker’s mentality, being a former University of Miami linebacker who at one time played all three linebacker positions for the Canes in the late 90’s.
The Ravens hold a consistently strong record each season, usually going undefeated the entire regular season but hitting speed bumps in the Big Game! After three back-to-back shut outs at the Super Bowl or playoffs, they’re out to prove they can win a championship. Coach Rod Mack of the Ravens’110 lb team says, “My team is hungry this year, to be so close and not give up an offensive touchdown in any of our super bowls fuels our team and coaches.” This was evident as every single player was at practice on a very hot and rainy day.
The offensive coordinator for the Ravens, Coach James took us through the game changing play which cost them the game at last year’s Super Bowl which the lost 6-0 against the Lauderhill Lions. Coach James says, “Avoiding costly mistakes and practicing game day situations will make the difference this year.” Coach James also said, “His main goal for his team is to win the championship. We don’t care if it’s by 40 points or by 2 points.”
The Ravens team is going through several changes this year including quite a few new players. Coach Rod Mack says the kids are working well together and are playing hard. He’s excited about the new additions to his team, especially the quarterback, Cameron Gatling, saying, “He’s a very smart player.”
Cameron comes over as a seasoned quarterback from the Lake Stevens Cardinals ready to compete for a championship now. When asked, why the change of teams? Cameron answered, “I wanted to compete in the SFYFL, and I wanted to play for a team that could go out and win every game as a team.”
One of the Raven’s veteran leaders, Kh’lajuwon Murat, younger brother of four time consecutive champion, Khalil “Bugalou” Murat, was asked, does loosing last year’s super bowl still bother this team? Kh’lajuwon replies, “Not really, everyone has forgotten about that, it’s just time to go out and win one this year.”
When asked who he felt would shine out on the field, Coach Rod says, “The star of my team is my team.” We’ll find out just what the Miami Gardens Ravens have up their sleeves (or helmets) as the South Florida Youth Football League season is kicking off the last week of August.