By Eric Ikpe
The American Youth Football League kicked off their season this past Saturday with tons of action around seven different playing sites.
One of the most anticipated match-ups was the Pembroke Pines Optimist Bengals 140’s versus the Pasadena Panthers 140’s. A Pasadena team that was coming off a Super Bowl and Orange Bowl championship year, relocated to a new league, was ready to take on a strong Pembroke Pines squad, at the Bengals’ home field.
Many speculated that it would be evenly matched contest, with offensive weapons on both sidelines; many thought it would be a high scoring affair. But the Panthers’ had another plan on their defensive agenda.
The Bengals’ attempted to respond offensively, but Panthers defensive presence lead by (LB) John Crawford #11, (LB)Randy Russell #1, (DE) Mi’chael Miles#56, stopped the Bengals from gaining any type of offensive momentum throughout the entire afternoon.
In the first quarter of play, Pembroke Pines defended their home turf with pride as Bengals’ defensive back, Patrick Surtain Jr. #1 (The Son of Ex Miami DolphinPatrick Surtain) came up with a diving interception to change the momentum of the game.
That momentum was short lived as the Panthers turned up the intensity of their defense, resulting in a turnover on downs. Pasadena would waste no time as they methodically drove down to the field to the Bengals’ 5 yard line. Before halftime, Panthers’ running back, Nayquan Wright #5 scampered his way in the end zone to put the Panthers’ up, 12-0.
At the start of the third, Pasadena added to their lead when Panthers’, (WR/PR)Terrence Horne #6 returned a punt return up the middle of the field, then after running into his own teammate mid-field, demonstrated why he has been clocked as one of the fastest 13 year olds in the country, sprinting in for a spectacular touchdown, increasing the lead to 18-0.
Despite the Panthers’ starting tailback,Nayquan Wright #5 experiencing cramps throughout the game, he managed to score another touchdown right down the middle of the Bengals’ defense, bringing the Panthers’ score to 24-0.
Panther’s added one final score for the day as quarterback, Lorenzo Floyd #3, connected with wide receiver, Terrence Horne #6 for a second time of the day for a pass down the sidelines for a touchdown, for a final score, 30-0.
“We are definitely getting there and we played good on both sides of the ball, but we can get definitely get better.” Panthers Head Coach, Toro Wallace said.