I love games like this. An up and coming program measuring their progress against the established program.
Sometimes you make that leap, sometimes you don’t.
Most of the time you learn what it takes from the established team and West Broward learned that last night.
Two years ago West Broward went 3-8 according to MaxPreps (probably more games but that’s all that shows) and then leaped to 13-3 last year, although to be fair that was against ranked district foe Western (2 losses) and a lot of programs that struggled badly last year. They’ve moved on to a similar district setup this year with Columbus substituting for Western, but bumped up the non-district schedule some. There is certainly talent to work with and a hungry young staff looking to build their own program. I watched them in the offseason and was impressed given it’s only year 2 of the current staff. I wonder if there are any other Engelers coming along as the first 3 bring a lot to the table, but that’s not the only building blocks.
It’s just nice to see another program in Broward County growing before our eyes.
There’s another Broward County program that before the growth of St. Thomas to state title holder was among the dominant programs in the County, and that is Pine Crest. It’s a program that tends to get overlooked at times around the state but has either finished in my Top 25 Poll or just out of it a lot of the years I provided one. And this might happen again this year. I partly blame Head Coach George Harris, who usually makes me watch the game before he’ll admit to me he’s got some players and he can’t hide it from me anymore . . . Coach Harris has the lineage that screams respect and those who are new here should know he was on Stan Ross’ staff for the first 3 years of the Florida Launch.
And just like every other year, what I saw on the field exceeded what he told me pre-game. One day I’ll learn my lesson . . .
With the new districts there was actually a lot of change with AH-Plantation and NSU University now in and Stoneman is now out. On top of that the big schools that were weak programs last year are now out of class and this has become one of the best top to bottom districts in the state. Pine Crest was the defending champion of the district this year but AH-Plantation is a heavyweight this year and that makes the district title harder.
Add all this up and you have last night’s results, which could be predictable but you never know until the game is played. I felt West Broward came out tentative and they struggled at the groundball battle all night. Shooting accuracy was not there as they hit the cage 3 out of 11 times in the 1st half. Time of possession would have overwhelmingly favored PC. Even then, it was a game on the scoreboard halfway through the second quarter until PC went on an 8-goal run to end the half, with 6 of those in the last 2 1/2 minutes of the quarter. You could see the air come out of WB and it was 13-2 at the half. Fortunately, WB did not show any quit in the second half and I suspect they will take a lot away from it.
One play that caught my attention in the 3rd quarter was on a WB clear the ball skipped away from Floirda Tech bound Austin Engeler and rolled to the sideline, only to see brother Brey dive and deflect the loose ball right back to Austin. It’s the type of play that you rarely see in a close game, much less one like this, and I commend you for the effort!
A look at the team stats is very revealing. PC hit the cage 25 of 31 attempts in the 1st half and it really doesn’t get better than that. Some were inside looks but the step downs were on target too. 20 of 26 for faceoffs. A very efficient performance. WB improved in the 2nd half with an 11-14 shot performance in the 2nd half.
There will be better days ahead for this program. And we’ll be there to see it. And we’ll be paying attention Wednesday when PC travels to Oxbridge to see how the other side looks. It will be a good test to see how good this PC team can be.
The first quarter ended with PC leading 3-0, with Ryan Zimmerman scoring twice, one from Colin Servoss and one from Ethan Rubenstein. The trio showed good chemistry together the whole game. Servoss scored the 3rd off a Jake Rosen feed.
The 2nd quarter ended up 10-2, to make the halftime lead as noted. 4 for Zimmerman highlighted it while Austin and Colton Engeler got WB on the board.
PC’s Nigel Vital and Noah Yi swapped goals with WB’s Coltin Engeler in the 3rd and WB put up a 3-1 4th quarter to close out the scoring. Both teams used most of the roster. In goal it was WB’s Garbiel Garmendia going all the way while PC played all 3 roster goalies in Jonathan Valdes, Brandon Marsh and Camden Smith.
Ryan Zimmerman 6G/3A
Ethan Rubenstein 3G/1A
Colin Servoss 1G/4A
Nigel Vital 3G/1A
Matthew Yellin, Jordan Faison and Noah Yi with 1G each
Jake Rosen 1A
Jonathan Valdes, Brandon Marsh and Camden Smith combined for 8 saves
Colton Engeler 3G/1A
Brey Engeler 1G/1A
Austin Engeler and Kyle Awve with 1G each
Ethan Davis 1A
Gabirel Garmendia with 11 saves
Thanks to Coach Harris and Coach Fontenot for talking to me before and after the game.