When it comes to girls flag football at the middle school level, Lauderdale Lakes has been very tough to beat over the past three years.
With the exception of two losses last season, one of which came in the playoffs, the Vikings have been synonymous with winning.
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They came out on top in 30 of 32 games over that three-year span, including another title-clinching effort in the recent Broward County middle school championship game against Indian Ridge (Davie) at McArthur High School in Hollywood.
With the 18-0 shutout of the Jaguars, Lauderdale Lakes completed its second undefeated season and championship run in three years.
“This is huge to win two out of three years,” said Lauderdale Lakes coach Bennett Wyche. “We were lucky this year to get a quarterback (Ka’Myra Butler) because our quarterback from last year was an eighth grader and she graduated.”
Wyche faced an interesting situation at the start of the season since he didn’t have the participation numbers to compete at a high level.
“I had to talk to some of our dads into letting their track girls play flag football,” Wyche said. “We have a lot of girls coming back, some key pieces coming back, so we are definitely going for it (again) next year.”
After a scoreless first half against Indian Ridge, Butler found eighth-grader Ta’Kyla Spells for an eight-yard scoring toss and a 6-0 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Jaguars threatened on several drives after that initial score, but the stingy Vikings defense came up with three interceptions – two by seventh-grader Chayaniece Pound – to thwart those rally attempts.
The Vikings iced the game by scoring twice in the final 36 seconds. Seventh-grader Alglay Nelson burst into the endzone on a 43-yard run, and Butler added a 37-yard interception return on the game’s final play for the final margin.
Butler, a Lauderdale Lakes resident and seventh-grader, made the most of her debut on the team. The 13-year-old, who was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, threw for 160 yards and also excelled on defense.
“This is very cool because we won the championship,” Butler said. “I knew we had a pretty good team. I am very proud of my team and myself.”
Another first year player, eighth-grader Alexis Glasco, was one of several track athletes who was coaxed to join the flag football team.
“This is awesome because this is my first year and I came out and did my best and we succeeded,” said Glasco, 14. “It is amazing and just a good experience.”
Eighth-grader Junya Byfield, of Lauderdale Lakes, said the team was determined to win this season.
“I didn’t really get to play much last year because I broke my finger and my team ended up losing,” said Byfield, 14. “So winning this year is fantastic. We tried last year, but we didn’t get this far. So coming out this year with this team and winning was just amazing.”
Indian Ridge coach Lori Ramsey said the Jaguars worked hard this season. The loss in the championship game ended the Jaguars’ bid for a perfect season of their own. They finished 9-1.
Despite the setback, Ramsey was thrilled with the effort the girls displayed throughout the season.
“I am very excited about what they were able to accomplish,” Ramsey said. “They are dedicated young ladies and very persistent. They have good sportsmanship and they give 110 percent in practice and games and with their grades. They are leaders in school and role models for the future.”
Last season, the Jaguars lost two regular-season games and didn’t make the playoffs. However, it was a much different story this time around.
“With the players coming back from last season, I definitely thought we had a chance to get to the championship,” Ramsey said. “We had the strength and power to make it all of the way.”