It has become one of the most anticipated post-season events for youth football...
Youngsters sparkle in all-star football classic
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.”