Miami-Dade High Schools

Joe Zaccheo returns to coach Monsignor Pace football

File photo: Joe Zaccheo coaches Monsignor Pace’s football team on November 20, 1998.
File photo: Joe Zaccheo coaches Monsignor Pace’s football team on November 20, 1998. Miami Herald file photo

After stepping down as coach of the Monsignor Pace football team eight seasons ago, Joe Zaccheo announced Tuesday he will return to the Spartans’ sideline next season following the sudden and unexpected resignation of Mario Smith last week.

Smith, who left as coach and a teacher at Pace to start his own all-boys academy, went 13-17 in three seasons — including 2-8 last season.

“It was not an easy decision and one I thought long and hard about over the long weekend,” said Zaccheo, who was approached by school administrators last Friday asking if he would come back to “rescue” a program that clearly has been on the decline over recent years.

“I met with my wife and family over the weekend, talked about it at length, got their blessing and went into [principal Anna Garcia’s] office [Tuesday] morning to let her know my decision.”

Zaccheo’s success during 11 years as coach (1996-2006) was remarkable as he took over a team that was 3-7 in 1995 and went 10-2 in 1996 — including a berth in the regional semifinals.

Zaccheo went 110-28 in his first run as coach, taking the Spartans to four state semifinals appearances. With an upset win over Jacksonville Bolles, Zaccheo’s Spartans won the 2003 Class 3A state championship.

“Anybody who comes through Pace knows how close everyone is and that we’re all part of a big family here,” said Zaccheo who took over as athletic director when he resigned as football coach in 2006. “I felt like my family needed me. When your family is in trouble and is reaching out to you, how do you say no to your family?”

Zaccheo will remain AD at Pace. He comes in with no false illusions. Not only did quarterback Eric Walker transfer to Booker T. Washington before the holidays, but four more players transferred last week when Smith resigned.

“We’re in pretty rough shape right now, a lot worse than it was when I took over in 1996,” Zaccheo said. “I’m making no promises when it necessarily comes to wins and losses, but the passion inside me is still there.”

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

▪ Sunset 63, Hialeah Miami Lakes 41: Senior Kat Espinosa, who is averaging 24 points a game, led the Knights to victory after scoring 37 points with a season-high 17 steals. Sunset, which finished its regular season, held a 35-17 halftime lead.

SUN (7-13): Espinosa 37, Zuniga 9, Lopez 8, Perez 6, Jones 3. HML: Scruggs 21, Holmes 8, Hughes 4, Castro 4, Alonso 2. Half: SUN 35-17. Three-pointers: Espinosa 3, Zuniga, Scruggs 3. Rebounds: Espinosa 5. Assists: Espinosa 4. Steals: Espinosa 17. Blocks: Jones 3.

▪ GMAC first round — Ferguson 56, Central 16: FER (20-3): Osceola 15, Perez 14, Pineda 8, Johnson 6, Rodriguez 6, Justiniano 5, Sosa 2. CEN: Knowles 5, Britt 4, Daniels 2, Jones 2, Chambers 2, Sweeting 1. Half: 41-10 FER. Three-pointers: Osceola, Justiniano. Assists: Perez 9, Osceola 6. Rebounds: Johnson 11, Osceola 6. Steals: Perez 8, Rodriguez 6. Blocks: Osceola 3.

▪ GMAC first round — Miami High 72, South Miami 36: MHS: Angulo13, Sweeting 6, Vargas 2, Rodriguez 2, Weldon 4, Clavell 1, Dukes 15, Mompremier 25, Jackson 4. SM: Garcia 4, K.Brown 9, Kh.Brown 21, Delgado 2. Three-pointers: Kh. Brown, Angulo 3. Rebounds: Mompremier 15.

▪ Keys Gate 53, Mater Lakes 37: KG: Denis 19, Tyre 15, Dorsey 10, Moore 5, Velez 4. Half: KG 30-18. Three-pointers: Dorsey 2, Moore, Tyre. Rebounds: Denis 16. Assists: Velez 7, Blocks: Denis 12. Steals: Velez 4.

▪ Palmer Trinity 47, St. Thomas Aquinas 37: STA: Ambrose 6, Krause 7, Tunnaso 5, Atkins 11, Moore 9. PT: Gonzalez 6, Hebb 20, Quintero 1, James 14, Waldman 2, Berry 2. Half STA 24-19. Three-pointers: James 3, Hebb, Ambrose.

▪ Doral 33, St. Brendan 30: StB: Cobbette 9, Sobetle 6, Prieto 5, Jordayn 5, Morrilo 5. Dor (16-6): Barrios 14, Vega 10, Arriete 3, Llamo 2, Gomez 2, Guerrero 2. Rebounds: Rondon 5. Steals: Barrios 3. Three-pointers: Barrios 4, Arriete. Half: 15-15.

▪ Miami Country Day 82, Calvary Christian 36: CChr: Patuollo 4, Nevils 2, Hickey 2, Derr 3, Sieradzan 6, Bender 19. MCD: Alvarez 14, Lewis 17, Austin 2, Bauson 2, Edwards 2, Marshall 18, Jackson 4, Anyagaliagbo 9, Berry 11, Pierre 3. Half: MCD 40-16. Three-pointers: Derr, Alvarez 4, Lewis, Marshall 4, Pierre 3.

▪ Late Monday, Dream MLK Classic Tournament (Chicago, IL) — Pace 64, Harlan Academy 33: HA: Harlan, Perry 6, Person 12, Bell 3, Horton 4, Childs 2, Jones 5, Anderson 1. MP: Jenkins 8, Wilson 10, Gay 20, Samuel 2, Rodriguez 9, Barber 1, Moye 14. Three-pointers: Perry 2, Horton, Rodriguez 3, Jenkins. Rebounds: Moye 8.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

▪ American 71 Carol City 49: CC: Jonekins 8, Howard 2, Brown 10, White 1, Edwards 7, Williams 13, Wilkinson 10. Amer (17-4): Johnson 18, Jones 4, Harris 12, Evans 10, Mack 2, Copeland 13, Clark 9, Pratt 2, Lopez 2, Paulino 2. Half: Amer 34-29. Three-pointers: Johnson 5, Clark, Copeland, Johnekins 2, Edwards, Williams. Rebounds: Jones 7. Steals: Evans 5. Blocks: Paulino 3. Fouled out: White, Howard.

▪ Varela 71, Coral Reef 65: Var: Valdes 3, Medina, 13, Brizuela 5, Gallego 15, Ramos 20, Lyew Sang 4, Brown 11. CR: C.Ruiz 2, Fyne 15, Farrandas 2, Stevens 19, Vreones 10, Bryan 14, Holcomb 2.

▪ Palmetto 65, Southridge 51: Pal: Pubchara 26, Hardaway 14, Arvanitopoulos 7, Duran 4, Molinares 4, Villagra 4, Gomez 4, Percy 3. SR: Mitchell 18, Bartley 10, McNair 8, Gonzalez 5, Charles 4, Lee 2, Chandler 2. Half: SR 32-24. Rebounds: Pubchara 7, Molinares 7. Three-pointers: Hardaway 4, Pubchara 2, McNair.

▪ Archbishop McCarthy 57, Coconut Creek 52: McC: Moya 11, Talbot 11, Diaz 9, Scott 10, Messer 16. Crk: Antenor 4, Carter 18, Florisma 4, Bartee 3, Taravez 2, Jerone 3, Colin 18. Half: Crk 26-20. Three-pointers: Moya, Talbot, Diaz, Messer 3, Jerone. Rebounds: Scott 12.

▪ Princeton Christian 78, Hollywood Christian 11: PC (13-6): Moss 3, Victoria 10, Jones 8, Duran 25, Rodriguez 21, Thomas 11. HWC: Neely 2, Momperus 9. Three-pointers: Rodriguez 2. Rebounds: Thomas 17. Assists: Victoria 10. Steals: Duran 5. Half: PC 47-4.

BOYS’ SOCCER

▪ District 16-2A quarterfinals — St. Brendan 3, Archbishop Carroll 0: Gaby Vazquez goal, assist. Jorge Mahmoud goal, assist. Erick Quinones goal. SB 6-11.

▪ District 16-2A quarterfinals — Westminster Christian 5, Tavernier Coral Shores 1: Trevor Victoria, Javi Pagalday, Eli Medder and Nick Auerbacher goal each; Joey Alamo goal, assist. WC 11-3-2.

▪ District 15-6A semifinal —Varela 3, Ferguson 2 (OT): Luis Peralta, Gian Artuso, Mauricio Torres one goal each.

▪ District 16-2A quarterfinals — Westminster Christian 5, Tavernier Coral Shores 1: Trevor Victoria, Javi Pagalday, Eli Medder and Nick Auerbacher goal each; Joey Alamo goal, assist. WC 11-3-2.

WEDNESDAY’S SCHEDULE

BOYS’ SOCCER

District 12-5A quarterfinals at West Boca Raton: Taravella vs. Coral Springs, 5; West Boca-Coral Glades winner vs. Deerfield Beach, 7

District 13-5A semifinals at St. Thomas Aquinas: Western vs. Aquinas-Cooper City winner, 5; Nova-Piper winner vs. Cypress Bay, 7

District 15-5A semifinal at Traz: Coral Gables vs. Columbus, 5; Reagan vs. Miami Beach-South Miami winner, 7

District 15-4A semifinals at Pines Charter: Northeast vs. Pines Charter, 5; American vs. South Broward, 7

District 14-2A semifinals at Cardinal Gibbons: Calvary Christian-Cardinal Gibbons winner vs. Somerset, 5; Pine Crest-Coral Springs Charter winner vs. North Broward Prep, 7

District 16-2A semifinals at Gulliver: St. Brendan-Carroll winner vs. Gulliver, 1:30; Keys Gate-Florida Christian winner vs. Westminster-Coral Shores winner, 3:30

District 15-1A semifinals at Scheck Hillel: Miami Country Day-Greater Miami Academy winner vs. International Studies Charter-Archbishop Curley winner, 5; Divine Savior-Dade Christian winner vs. Scheck Hillel, 7

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