By Kelley Bydlon
I think I just found my new favorite high school football team in South Florida, the South Fork Bulldogs.
Amidst the acres of cow pastures in west Stuart, you will find a school tucked away that harbors a football team that is having an incredible season. Of course, geographically sandwiched between schools like Fort Pierce Central and Dwyer, it is not shocking that the Bulldogs have flown under the radar this year, but their head coach Dennis Lavelle feels this team deserves a lot of recognition... and so do I. With a 9-1 record, the best in school history, Lavelle and company will be looking to make some serious noise in the post-season that begins this Friday with a game against Palm Bay. Oh, by the way, Lavelle makes a lot of actual noise in practice too.
There's no way this team is sitting where it is at though without the play of their senior quarterback Cody Labanowitz. He's been calm, steady, and has led a South Fork offense, that according to stats provided by the Palm Beach Post, has scored the most points in the area this season. There's one big thing though that separates Labanowitz from other high school, college, and pro quarterbacks around the country, and that's the fact that he is playing with a torn ACL in his left knee. We're not talking a slight tear here either, that thing is completely torn.
Labanowitz suffered the injury in South Fork's spring game last May. After the game, the dual-threat quarterback had a decision to make, get surgery and miss his senior year or hold off on the surgery, try to make it through the season and then deal with it afterward. Because it was a complete tear, there would be no chance of him injuring it any more by playing. The decision was made even tougher though by the fact that Labanowitz was being looked at by several colleges at the time. He eventually opted to hold off on the surgery and hope the decision was worth it. Well, after leading South Fork to its best season ever, he told me today it was definitely worth it, and also reminded me the season isn't quite over just yet.
For more on Labanowitz's future and recruiting as a whole at South Fork, I leave you with a portion of my interview with coach Lavelle, who has a very strong message for the colleges out there.
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There are no games scheduled for today.