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Covering High School Sports in America

Tag: Columbus High School

  • It's Sam Ancona's turn for a little spotlight.

    Photo courtesy of Columbus Hall of Fame

    Ancona beat Ray Lewis for a state title.

    The man he beat in the 1992 Florida High School Athletic Association 4A state title match is a name you've been hearing a lot lately: Ray Lewis.

    The Super Bowl XLVII-bound star linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens was a great wrestler in high school, capturing a state title during his senior season for Kathleen (Lakeland, Fla.). He's likely bound for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and is one of the NFL's most charismatic players.

    But in this video provided by PlayOn! Sports, the 1992 title match was Ancona's. He escaped in the middle of the third period to break a 5-all tie and then secured a takedown in the final seconds to solidify an 8-5 victory and a state title.

    Lewis got his state title the next season, securing an 11-8 decision to take the 4A title.

    Ancona ended up accomplishing a lot of things after his title victory over Lewis, including college wrestling at Virginia and amateur boxing. You can click here to see his bio from the Columbus (Miami) Athletic Hall of Fame. He is more commonly known as Sam, but appears as John in some spots online. His full name appears to be John Samuel Ancona.

    This story has been altered from its original form. We have reports that John Samuel Ancona died in 2000 at the age of 26.

  • The Miami Hurricanes created some shockwaves on National Signing Day, and the reverberations of what transpired Wednesday in south Florida could be felt far beyond South Beach.

    The Hurricanes lost out on one prized recruit in much sought-after offensive tackle Avery Young of Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.), but UM head coach Al Golden snagged a handful of other highly rated recruits from the ‘Canes' backyard that soon might propel the ‘U' back into national football prominence despite potential NCAA sanctions that still are pending.

    Golden made a concerted effort to keep some of the top-rated players in the talent-rich three-county region of south Florida at home, and he landed what many observers consider the best cornerback prospect in the nation in Tracy Howard of nearby state-power Miramar (Fla.), which is only a few blocks from Sun Life Stadium, where UM plays its home games.

    Howard, ranked the nation's overall No. 101 prospect by MaxPreps, had 10 interceptions his senior season at Miramar and was named the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Broward County Defensive Player of the Year. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Howard only two weeks ago did not list Miami as one of his finalists, which included in-state rivals Florida and Florida State. There also were reports that LSU was prominently in the picture, but a late push by Golden convinced Howard to cancel a planned trip to Baton Rouge, and last weekend he made the short trip down I-95 to UM for his final official visit.

    "I bought into (Golden's) plan and I'm ready to rock with Miami," Howard said of his decision, admitting that the possibility of NCAA sanctions against UM did indeed affect his decision-making process. "Why not win in my hometown and my city? Why not do it here?"

    Howard, whose mother is a UM alum, was the big catch for Miami on Wednesday, but the ‘Canes also received signed Letters of Intent from Howard's best friend and teammate from Miramar, wide receiver Malcolm Lewis. Also signing with UM were highly touted safety Deon Bush (No. 73 MaxPreps prospect) of Columbus (Miami) and Top 200 running back Randy "Duke" Johnson of state power Norland (Miami).

    Other south Florida recruits who signed with the Hurricanes included quarterback David Thompson of Westminster Christian (Miami) and defensive lineman Jelani Hamilton of national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). The ‘Canes also secured signatures from two highly rated prospects from Palm Beach County -- all-purpose athlete Angelo Jean Louis and linebacker Gabriel Terry, both of Palm Beach Central (Wellington, Fla.).

    The Hurricanes even had a couple players from Palm Beach County flip their commitments from ACC rival Virginia Tech to stay close to home. West Boca Raton (Boca Raton, Fla.) linebacker Jawand Blue made an 11th-hour decision to back off from his commitment to the Hokies and sign with the ‘Canes after his former teammate at West Boca, wide receiver Robert Lockhart, backed off his commitment to Virginia Tech to join Golden's 2012 signing class. Lockhart signed with the Hokies last year, but played last fall at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia and was expected to keep his commitment to the Hokies, developments that reportedly stunned coach Frank Beamer and his staff.

    Golden was not offering any apologies to anyone, however.

    "Are we not supposed to beat Alabama (in recruiting) down here? Are we not supposed to beat Florida and Florida State? We got to start thinking like we're the University of Miami again," he said at a late afternoon news conference.

    Miami did miss out on one prized recruit from Palm Beach County when the 6-6, 280-pound Young signed with Auburn, choosing the Tigers over Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Miami, which made a late push to land the younger brother of Willie Young Jr. of the Detroit Lions.

    Young kept everyone, including his parents and his brother, in the dark about his decision to sign with Auburn until he announced it shortly after 2 p.m. He said he had Auburn, which was his first official visit, high on his list since early last fall but did not make a final decision until a late-night run to a local burger joint on Tuesday.

    "I went to get a burger at Wendy's around 11 o'clock (Tuesday night), and I was just sitting there thinking about it, and just said, ‘Yeah, that's where I'm going,'" said Young, who was rated the No. 1 recruit in Palm Beach County by The Palm Beach Post and played in an offense at Palm Beach Gardens that was very similar to the one Auburn runs.

    Other notable signees from south Florida included MaxPreps' No. 59-ranked lineman Jessamen Dunker of  Boynton Beach (Fla.), who signed with Florida, and wide receiver Avery Johnson (MaxPreps No. 65) of Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.).
  • Tracy Howard honed his skills as a defensive back at Miramar (Fla.). The highly touted cornerback now will be playing his college ball only a few blocks away at Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Hurricanes.

    Howard, one of the nation's top-rated cornerbacks and ranked No. 102 overall by MaxPreps, signed with Miami after a hard push by the Hurricanes in the final days leading up to National Signing Day. He had narrowed his choices to UM, Florida and Florida State, but there were some factors other than staying close to home that influenced Howard's decision.

    By signing with Miami, Howard will be joining his best friend and Miramar teammate Malcolm Lewis in Coral Gables. Howard also is friends with two other UM highly touted signees in Randy "Duke" Johnson from Norland (Miami) and Deon Bush from Christopher Columbus (Miami). Plus, Howard's mother is a UM alum who will almost be able to walk to her son's home games.

    Miami was not one of Howard's finalists two weeks ago, but Hurricanes head coach Al Golden made a late push to convert the 5-foot-11, 175-pound U.S. Air Force All-American. Howard had 10 interceptions his senior season at Miramar, which was the 2011 Class 8A state runner-up and won a state title in Howard's sophomore year, his first as a starter for the Patriots. He was the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Broward County Defensive Player of the Year last season.

    The Hurricanes entered the picture after Howard cancelled a visit to LSU and instead took his final official visit to UM last weekend.

    Dante Fowler switches to Gators

    So far in the early hours of National Signing Day, the most notable flip of top-rated prospects in the Sunshine State involved Lakewood (St. Petersburg, Fla.) defensive end Dante Fowler switching his commitment and signing with Florida.

    Fowler had made a verbal commitment to Florida State, but changed his mind and is headed to Gainesville, where he said he believes he'll have a better chance to play sooner.

    The 6-3, 235-pound Fowler is a MaxPreps five-star prospect and ranked No. 44 overall nationally.

    MaxPreps 2012 National Signing Day page
  • AUSTIN, Texas - One of the more dynamics quartets of the USA camp was the Pacific-10 Conference bunch who just signed their letters of intent collective.

    Taniela Tupou

    Receiver Tacoi Sumler(Oregon), defensive back Avery Walls (Cal), defensive end Taniela Tupou (Washington) and linebacker Anthony Sarao (USC) have little in common other than they now play in the same conference.

    Walls and Sumler had some good-natured smack-downs during the three days of practice while Team USA prepared for tonight's game with The World team.

    None of the four are Top 100 recruits, but all are dynamic in play and personality and could easily emerge in college to some day play on Sundays.

    This was the second in several installments of player signings at the USA vs. The World National Signing Day ceremony at the Marriott South hotel in Austin.