It has become one of the most anticipated post-season events for youth football...
Chris Smith All-Star Classic gives the gift of lifelong memories
Senator Chris Smith’s commitment to youth football players and their families was on full display at the Lauderhill Sports Complex during his 11th Annual All-Star Classic, where players from nine football programs laced up their cleats and fastened their chin straps. A total of five games were played on the artificial turf, but even the long 14-hour day couldn’t diminish the Senator’s enthusiasm and pride.
Smith has fond memories of his days playing for the Southwest Saints and the Lauderdale Lakes Vikings and wanted to create memorable moments for the players and cheerleaders.
“This never gets old, and every year there are always pleasant surprises,” Smith said. “The kids remember these games, and it’s a highlight in their young lives. There are 500 kids who play, and for each one, this means something special to them. There is a sense of pride for the team you represent. I love it, and the players and cheerleaders are so excited.”
It was a classic battle of the North versus the South. The North was represented by the Pompano Chiefs, Eagles, Steelers, Cowboys and the Deerfield Packer-Rattlers, while the South had players from the Fort Lauderdale Falcons, Lauderdale Lakes Vikings, Lauderhill Broncos, Lauderhill Lions and Western Tigers. After every game, Defensive and Offensive MVPs were selected from both sides and presented a trophy, while the top cheerleader from each side was acknowledged with a Spirit Award trophy.
In the age 6-7 division, the South prevailed 13-10, while the North defeated the South 18-14 in the age 8-9 division. The age 10-11 division saw the South win a defensive struggle 7-0 over the North, while the North captured the age 12-13 division game with a 19-6 victory over the South.
The featured game of the day was a grudge match that pitted the Lauderhill Lions against the Lauderdale Lakes Vikings. The two teams were represented on the coaching sideline by city commissioners, while Lauderhill Mayor Richard Kaplan was the honorary coach for the Lions. It was an opportunity for the players to engage with those responsible for funding some of their programs.
A total of 30 MVP and Spirit Awards were distributed to the players and cheerleaders at the end of each game, making for one of those lifelong memories that Senator Smith wanted to create.
Saige Harris, of the Deerfield Packer-Rattlers, was honored with a Defensive MVP trophy for his performance in his North team’s victory over the South. The 9-year-old student at Renaissance Charter plays multiple positions and was featured as a running back, linebacker, offensive line and special team player.
“Winning my first MVP award was my best achievement and a great memory,” Harris said. “We practiced a lot and listened to our coaches and got better. In the beginning I didn’t know my teammates, but at the end we became very close and became friends. I had a lot of fun.”
Nicholas Hines, of the Lauderhill Lions, and was selected as Offensive MVP for the South’s age 8-9 division. The 9-year-old student at Imagine School echoed his opponent’s sentiments.
“It was great to win the MVP, and this is my first time playing in this All-Star game,” Hines said. “I wanted the ball and tried to do my best. Winning the MVP makes me proud, and I got this trophy. This makes me very happy.”