Youngsters sparkle in all-star football classic

Updated: June 11, 2013

winningStandout youth football players from throughout the county shone brightly during the 10th annual Chris Smith All-Star Classic at the Lauderhill Sports Complex.

State Sen. Chris Smith put together the first such star-studded attraction at Dillard High School in 2003. A decade later, the event continues to grow in stature and, more importantly, gives young gridders an opportunity to represent their respective leagues and teams.

All-star games in a range of age group divisions, from 5-6 to 13-14, were then also broken into North and South contingents.

Smith grew up in central Broward County and played for the both the Southwest Saints and Lauderdale Lakes Vikings organizations. Seeing a need for an all-star game for kids in his district, Smith and Chairman Kerrick Wiggins organized the all-star festivities at the end of the regular youth football season. This year’s event featured teams from the BEST (Building Elite Student-Athletes), Pop Warner, Florida Youth Football and South Florida Youth Football leagues.

“Football’s very big in my district, and these kids have a strong rivalry against each other,” Smith said. “I wanted something to bring (them) together; with those rivals now becoming teammates. It’s an end-of-the-year football celebration for our kids.”

The event was especially memorable for four talented gridders from the 13-14 age group competition. Named Most Valuable Players were Lauderhill Broncos’ Keyondre White (South/Defense), Lauderhill Lions’ Jamari Sweet (South/Offense), Pompano Steelers’ Larnell McConn (North/Defense), and Deerfield Packer-Rattlers’ Versache Burgess (North/Offense).

McConn, an eighth-grade student at the Dave Thomas Education Center, was thrilled to be an all-star.

“Playing with and against the best players from every team is great,” McConn said. “This is my first time playing in an all-star game, and I was honored to play with all these wonderful players.”

Burgess excelled in the showcase with 30- and 60-yard touchdown runs

“These players are really good,” Burgess said. “I never expected to make the all-star team, so this was really fun.”




Sun Sentinel