The Marco Eagles football teams may have been grounded in their Miami Xtreme Youth Football League games, but they flew high at the Miami Dolphins preseason contest Saturday night.
The 90-pound team lost to the South Kendall Dolphins, 24-0, while the 115-pound team was blanked, 26-0, by the South Miami Ghosts.
The 115-pound Eagles fought the Ghosts and the lightning twice, with the second lightning strike stopping the game.
The Eagles had a little lightning in its own bottle as it gained yardage, but could not get into the end zone.
The Ghosts scored on its first drive, but the Eagles Hector Diaz stopped the extra-point try. The next offensive opportunity for the Eagles backfired, with the Ghosts registering a two-point safety. The Eagles then kicked off and the Ghosts eluded Eagles tacklers for another score.
The Eagles defense again looked strong when they had the Ghosts with fourth down and eight yards for a first down late in the first half. However, the quarterback scrambled away for a 60-yard TD.
In the second half the Eagles Hunter O’Neill laid a solid hit on a Ghosts runner, causing a fumble recovery by Cole Stretton. The Eagles recovered a second fumble when a gang-tackling effort by Zach West, Cody Young, Tanner Prange, Andrew Delgado, Tyler Gresham and Brian Kozak led to the fumble, recovered by Tyler Gresham.
The game was halted after three quarters because of lightning and a severe rain storm.
In the 115-pound game, the Eagles forced three fumbles, but couldn’t capitalize on any of them.
Anthony Macchiarolo recovered the first fumble on the first play of the game, but the Eagles drive stalled. The Eagles almost had a score late in the first half when a touchdown-saving tackle stopped the Eagles Julian Alcea from getting into the end zone after a 17-yard pass play.
Coach Mike Snyder said the team played a much improved game.
Then it was off to the Miami Dolphins Stadium to get up-close-and-personal with professional football players. Members of the Eagles 140-pound team that had a bye also went to the game.
Before the game all the Eagles teams got to roam the sidelines of the Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with a number of them standing near Bucs coach John Gruden during the singing of the National Anthem.
The Eagles got to meet the Bucs Joey Galloway, Carnell Williams, Jeff Garcia, Ronde Barber and Gruden.
The Eagles were amazed at the size of some of the Dolphins players’ biceps, which they showed off on request by an Eagles player.
With the 140-pound team having a bye they worked hard on blocking assignments and new offensive plays, coach Mark Doyle said. Coaches Chip Egbert, Brian Milk and Doyle used the opportunity to move players around to strengthen the offense and defensive teams.
The Eagles teams resume action at Mackle Park on Saturday. The 90-and-115-pound teams play the Naples Titans, while the 125-and-140-pound teams play Miami Beach. Games begin with the 90-pound game at 9 a.m., 115-pound game at 10:30, 125-pound game at noon and the 140-pound game at 2 p.m.