(August 15, 2011)-Coming into Saturday’s game, the West Pembroke Pines Wildcats 110 squad had a lot of doubters; even after winning four straight super bowls from 2006-2009 the lasting memory of the Wildcats was losing in the playoffs, which eliminated the Wildcats from the Super Bowl hunt in 2010.
The knock on the Wildcats had been that they were too one dimensional, depending too much on long, methodical drives. Also, there were talks of players playing too much iron man football, limiting fresh legs at their skilled positions. Hearing all the opposition’s skepticism, head Coach Eric Grudger went back to the drawing board, determined to add more depth to his already talented Wildcat team.
While other coaches enjoyed their off season vacations, Coach Eric was focused on how to lay the blueprint for a hardnosed, blue collar type of football team, but most importantly, a football team with depth at every position.
This Wildcat 110 team would be tested week one against an extremely talented PPO Bengal Team which was the 2010 AYFL super bowl runner ups. The Bengals, led by #1 Patrick Surtain Jr. have a quick strike offense that also feature players such as #7 Rome Williams, #2 Matt Geimer, #5 Adetutu Daranijo to name a few. In order for the Wildcats to pull off a win at the Bengals home field for the season opener, the Wildcats would need to find a way to contain the Bengals high octane offense.
After all the preseason talks, the countdown to kick off was finally here. In the American Youth Football League, the rivalry between these two programs would best be described as just the same intensity as the Florida State Seminoles taking on the Miami Hurricanes, week one.
The Pembroke Pines Bengals would strike first offensively, with Bengals’ running back, #1 Patrick Surtain catching a 32 yard pass out the backfield, giving the Bengals a first down in Wildcats’ territory. But that celebration would be short lived as West Pines Wildcats’ defensive end, #72 Booker T. Rhodes would break through line of scrimmage sacking the Bengals’ quarterback forcing a fumble which Wildcat teammate, #22 Myles Jones would pick up and sprint to the end zone for the game’s first touchdown. Wildcat’s running back, #26 Will Allen Jr. would add the exclamation point by running in a sweep right play for the extra point conversion.
Now the difference between last year’s Wildcat team and this year’s team is that the Wildcat offense was able to keep their opponent off balance with a multi-dimensional running attack which featured three talented running backs.
The Wildcats’ running game was spearheaded by Wildcats’ big back, #3 Dylan Lester who showcased his size and power throughout the day. Also, Wildcats’ quick, elusive running back; #26 Will Allen Jr. provided the Wildcats’ offense with a great change of speed. Finally, the “Generation Nexxt Impact Player of the Game”, #22 Myles Jones finished the day with over 100 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the day.
The 110 LB West Pines Wildcats would excel in all three phases of the game by blocking an attempted punt by the PPO Bengals, putting the Wildcats in great field position. Also, defensively the Wildcats’ would pitch a shutout, not yielding any points to the Pembroke Pines Bengals. The Wildcats’ defense was led by defensive end, #72 Booker T. Rhodes, linebacker #54 Chad Keirnan, and nose guard #56 Ted “LT” Lucas.
Coach Eric said, “The defensive effort my players gave us today is what Wildcat football is all about.” Coach also said, “Even though we won 20-0 today, we have to get better, and we have to take care of the football. If we do that, we’ll be special.”