High School Sports

Former Monsignor Pace standout athletes honored at school

From left: Joel Rodriguez, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Kayvon Webster and Stephen Morris pose during a ceremony in their honor Wednesday, March 16, 2016, at Monsignor Pace High School.
From left: Joel Rodriguez, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Kayvon Webster and Stephen Morris pose during a ceremony in their honor Wednesday, March 16, 2016, at Monsignor Pace High School. For the Miami Herald

It was a proud day for Monsignor Pace High School and its football program on Wednesday morning.

Not only was Super Bowl winning alumnus Kayvon Webster in town to present Pace principal Ana Garcia a special golden football as part of the NFL’s High School Honor Roll program, but three other famous Spartan alums, all who played at the University of Miami, also were in attendance to have their high school and NFL jerseys placed on the gymnasium wall.

Quarterback Stephen Morris, who played at UM from 2010 to 2013, DeMarcus Van Dyke (cornerback, 2007-10) and offensive lineman Joel Rodriguez, who was a member of UM’s last national championship team in 2001, all were honored.

Two other Spartans, Nakia Reddick and Johnny Frost, both from the Pace Class of 1992 who played briefly for the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets, respectively, also went up on the wall but were not in attendance.

“It’s definitely a blessing to come back to where it all started for me in football and an honor to see my jersey go up in that gym,” said Webster, who graduated from Pace in 2009 and went to USF before being drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2013 and helped them win Super Bowl 50 as the team’s special-teams ace. “It shows the younger guys that hard work really does pay off if you dedicate yourself. My years at Pace really formed me and developed me to who I became today. I came from public school and didn’t know what discipline was all about and really had to buckle up and get after it once I got here.”

Morris signed with Jacksonville as a free agent in 2014 and is now with the Colts, listed as the No. 3 quarterback.

“I think it’s great for all three of us [Webster and Van Dyke] to come back because for one season [2006] we were all on the same team together,” Morris said. “And for Kayvon to win the Super Bowl and to see our jerseys go up in that gym, it just feels so great to be home because Pace will always be home.”

Said Van Dyke, who played for Pittsburgh and Oakland and signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday: “What an honor. I left so much blood, sweat and tears on these fields, from football and running track and proud and humbled to see my name go up there because of all the great names in this program that preceded me.”

Rodriguez graduated in 2000 and played for the Tennessee Titans and in NFL Europe after graduating from UM. He was hired to Mark Richt’s staff in January as the director of player development.

“What a great day for Pace football,” Rodriguez said. “We owe a lot to our coaches, teachers and administrators in this school because this is where it all started for us.”

Said Pace athletic director and football coach Joe Zaccheo, who led the Spartans to a state title in 2003: “I keep calling them my kids and of course obviously now their grown men. It’s a thrill and an honor for me to see what they’ve accomplished in their lives and if we’ve had any small part whatsoever in helping them along the way, it’s a fabulous feeling. All the things that you think go wrong in your lifetime, then you see something like this and you realize that maybe you’ve done some things really right.”

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