The upcoming Under Armour All-America high school football All-Star game beefed up one of its team’s defensive lines and receiving corps Thursday, thanks to Broward County superstars.
St. Thomas Aquinas defensive tackle Joey Bosa, University wide receiver Jordan Cunningham and fellow University teammate and defensive end Maquedius Bain were selected to the national event that will be played at 5 p.m. Jan. 4 at Tropicana Field in Tampa.
The trio gave Broward County four players selected to the event this week after Northeast wide receiver Stacy Coley was officially presented with his jersey Wednesday.
Bosa, an Ohio State commitment, who had also been invited to other All-Star games, said the Under Armour game has been his favorite for some time.
“I had the choice between this and other games like the U.S. Army game, but I had heard [the Under Armour game] was a great experience,” Bosa said. “They have a great tradition of players that have gone on to great careers. A couple of my 2010 teammates also had told me they had a great experience in this game.
“I’m looking forward to it.”
Bosa, who is rated the No. 7 defensive tackle in the nation by ESPN, accepted his jersey with his parents and teammates and coaches in attendance.
Bosa has been a force on defense this season for the Raiders (7-2), who host Deerfield Beach on Friday in their regular-season finale before opening the playoffs at home against Miami Beach.
Like Bosa, Cunningham and Bain are hoping for a state championship run in the next few weeks. The duo accepted their jerseys together at a ceremony at the school Thursday morning.
University coach Roger Harriott will also be part of the coaching staff of one of the team’s in the event.
“It’s a great opportunity to play in this game and to be able to share the experience with one of my friends and teammates,” said Cunningham, who is ranked No. 6 nationally among wide receivers by ESPN.
Cunningham said he is visiting Stanford this week, one of the schools he is seriously considering along with others like Miami, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, FSU and Alabama.
Bain, ESPN’s No. 6 overall defensive tackle, said he is considering several schools including Marshall, UM, LSU and Oklahoma.
For now the two are keeping their focus on trying to win the Class 3A state title for undefeated Suns.
“It’s going to be awesome and a chance to let people know about University,” Bain said. “It will be like always with me and Jordan on the field taking pride in what we do.”
• Pine Crest 45, Pope John Paul II 26: In a playoff game that saw three lead changes through midway in the third quarter, Pine Crest used its potent running game and crucial miscues by host Pope John Paul II, turning a close game into a 45-26 thrashing.
The Panthers (9-1) advanced to the Southeastern Conference championship game against the Benjamin School-John Carroll winner on Nov. 17 at the FAU campus.
“Everything is a blur now, but this is a team that has pulled together all season,’’ said the Panthers’ all-purpose player Harris Stolzenberg, who keyed Pine Crest with two touchdowns, a field goal, and went 6 for 6 on his extra-point attempts.
His 22-yard touchdown run in the first play of the fourth quarter occurred in the midst of a 28-0 run that help put away the Eagles (8-2) after the teams exchanged leads three times.
Pine Crest, led by Trevor Osceola’s 106-yard performance on the ground on 14 carries, including a 16-yard touchdown, bulldozed Pope John Paul II for 216 rushing yards.
The Panthers took a 17-14 lead at halftime as Pine Crest edged the Eagles in total yardage 184-165.
Pope John Paul took a 14-7 lead midway in the second quarter following DeQuan McGriff’s 2-yard run for his second TD of the game.
McGriff, who already had 71 rushing yards in eight first-half carries, had earlier scored on a 58-yarder for the game’s first score in the Eagles’ first possession of the game.
Harris Stolzenberg, who also does placekicking for Pine Crest, accounted for the first score on a 28-yard reception from Zach Smith.
Smith later threw a 16-yard TD pass to Allen Dawson. On the previous play, Pope John Paul had lost 10 yards following a high snap on punt formation. With 40.3 seconds left in the half, Stolzenberg hit a 27-yard field goal to break a 14-all tie and give Pine Crest its first lead of the game.
The Eagles took the lead for the last time at 20-17 early in the third when Antonio Cartagena picked off a Smith pass and went 17 yards for the touchdown before the Panthers answered with four touchdowns in a row to pull away.
• Coral Reef 34, Braddock 6: Nico Pierre threw three touchdowns over 30 yards and Coral Reef (6-4, 2-2) finished its season on a high note, defeating Braddock (2-8, 1-4) 34-6 at Harris Field.
In all, the Barracudas recorded five plays over 30 yards, with Pierre targeting tight end Bryan Bradshaw (three receptions, 62 yards) and receiver Jacob McCrary, whose three catches for 129 yards led the team.
Pierre finished his season with a 234-yard performance.
“They were overplaying our running game,” said Coral Reef head coach Chevas Clements. “They played our receivers one-on-one in man-press [coverage] so we just took a couple shots and we were able to capitalize on them.”
Bulldog quarterbacks Jaime Jarquin and Jordan Chacon were harassed all night long by the Coral Reef defense, with five different Barracudas sacking the speedy Jarquin, although he did provide the only points for Braddock with a 4-yard touchdown during the first quarter.
Their counterpart, Perez, came on strong in the second half after running back Marcus Leslie’s two rushing touchdowns gave Coral Reef a 14-6 lead.
“He got off slow. He shot a couple basketball shots, as we like to say, he hung them up there. Then he got hit and it got his blood flowing,” Clements said.
After his slow first quarter, Pierre did heat up.
His three touchdowns came on consecutive deep passes, each longer than the last, culminating with an 84-yard bomb to McCrary, who beat Braddock defensive backs down the sideline.