The fall sports season officially came to an end in the Keys, with the Key West High boys cross country squad the final team to finish in the 2A state finals, and many of the winter sports will now get an extra boost with the addition of key players from the fall rosters.
The Key West High girls basketball team already has seen the additions make a difference as Ryann Appleby overcame an injury suffered during volleyball season to lead the Lady Conch to a season opening victory over Marathon High.
Also in Key West, the boys soccer team is looking to get back center midfielder Ricardo Gomez, the Conchs' placer kicker, along with freshman Conner Chaney, who was part of the boys cross country team. The Conchs' wrestling team also has many athletes hitting the mats after playing for the football team.
Coral Shores also receives some help with the additions of Jimmy Rhyne on the soccer pitch, All-Monroe county basketball player Will Ismer to the hard court and Addison Duma Kenny to the lacrosse team, all who played on the Hurricanes' gridiron this past season.
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After suffering a loss in the third week of the season to Southeastern Football Conference (SFC) North foe Pope John Paul II, the Benjamin High football team out of Palm Beach fell towards the bottom of the SFC standings.
The Buccaneers were 2-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play and behind four other teams at that point of the season, but Benjamin would not lose again en route to the inaugural SFC Championship.
Benjamin, which eliminated Coral Shores with a 34-6 win in the opening round of the SFC playoff, rattled off eight straight wins down the stretch to claim the title that was contested by four SFC North teams in the semifinals. Coral Shores was the No. 3 seed out of the SFC South, and was matched up against second-seeded Benjamin in the first round.
Benjamin would never get its revenge against Pope John Paul, which were knocked out by Pine Crest in the semifinals, but advanced to the championship game with a win over John Carroll. The Buccaneers won the title with their second win over the Panthers on the season. In the regular season Benjamin won, 40-26, over Pine Crestand in the championship game, 40-20, at Florida Atlantic University.
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CORAL SHORES FOOTBALL
The Hurricanes will have to find some new pieces next season, the third under coach Ed Holly. Coral Shores will be without several graduating seniors that were big parts of the Hurricanes' resurgence over the past two seasons.
Quarterback Addison Duma Kenny, fullback Kodi Robert, wing back Jimmy Rhyne, middle linebacker Tom Johnson and defensive lineman Will Ismer, which were all major contributors in 2012, are graduating, and the 'Canes coach said his new regime of players will have to put a lot of work in during the offseason.
"We are losing 10 senior who were two-year starters," said Holly. "I think right now the new guys are not ready, but give us the spring and eight months working with them and I'll think they'll be ready to assume roll. But that's the progression of football. Right now at Thanksgiving it's hard to think they will be ready but come August I think they will gain a lot."
Eddie Dunn, which was the third rushing option this year with roughly 10 touches a game, will be back as the No. 1 option in the back field next year. On the outside Alberto Anderson will also be important at receiver as will Logan Rowe on the defensive line, Shane Saenger at linebacker and Paul Pouchey in the secondary. Still missing, Holly said, is a new signal caller, which right now is a quarterback by committee.