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Scholastic Roundup: Brooklyn just lost its rock

April 7, 2023 Andy Furman
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John (The Rock) Brockington was the ninth overall selection in the 1971 NFL draft, after Jim Plunkett, Dan Pastorini, Archie Manning and John Riggins – and ahead of Jack Tatum, Jack Youngblood, Jack Ham and Dan Dierdorf.

The Thomas Jefferson High School grad became the first NFL player to ever rush for  1,000-or-more yards in each of his first three seasons. In his rookie year of 1971 with the Green Bay Packers, Brockington was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press, rushing for 1,105 yards and a 5.1 yards-per-carry in 14 games. Brockington retired with the second-most rushing yards in Packers’ franchise history with 5,024 yards. He currently ranks fourth on the Packers’ career rushing list.

He played halfback and fullback for the Ohio State Buckeyes from 1968 to 1970. He was one of the so-called Super Sophomores who led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season and a consensus national championship in 1968. He finished his college career with a record of 27-2.

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The 74-year-old Brockington passed, March 31st.

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Jeff Schrier served as an assistant coach on the Thomas Jefferson staff to legendary coach – Moe Finkelstein. Schrier says he never met Brockington but relays perhaps the best Brock story ever.

He says a lady was eating dinner at a San Diego restaurant and noticed an autographed picture of Brockington hanging on the wall. The manager explained Brockington would frequent the restaurant, as he moved to San Diego after he retired from football – but at the present time was very sick as his kidneys were failing.

The lady mentioned she was from Green Bay and remembered waiting for the players to sign autographs after the games. She said Brockington would always stay and sign.

Brockington was on the donor transplant list and the lady was told it would be doubtful if he could find a match in time to save him.

The woman got tested and found she was a match for John – and volunteered to donate her kidney. She met John for the first-time when she was prepped for her surgery.

“In his humble way, John thanked her profusely, and asked how he could possibly pay her back,” Schrier recalled. “She said payback was unnecessary and she told him her Green Bay story.

“He said at least she could let him take her out to dinner when they were both discharged from the hospital – she agreed,” Schrier said.

Guess what – she became Mrs. John Brockington – and both did much work for the kidney foundation to encourage transplants.

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The Flatbush Falcons Elementary School basketball team claimed the Yeshiva League Championship – the sixth-graders needed overtime to defeat YHT, 65-60 at North Shore High School last week.

Morris Ashear powered the Falcons with a game-high 26 points – Elliot Azar’s three-pointer at the start of overtime proved to be the clincher.

“It was definitely our toughest and most challenging game of the season,” said winning coach Gus Kennedy.

The Falcons eighth-graders lost to HAFTR, 48-44 in the title game.

For the second-consecutive year, the Yeshiva of Flatbush seventh-grade basketball team captured the Metropolitan Jewish Day School Basketball Championship, defeating HALB, 42-34 at HAFTR, last week.

Joe Barnathan led the team with 16 points, Jacob Bukobza scored 24, Jacob Levy added five with Joe Feldman and Ray Betesh with four and three points, respectively.

“We relied on our defense and our poise to hold the lead,” said fourth-year coach Abie Rosow.

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Holyn Karp, a sophomore, is Poly Prep’s No. 1 singles tennis player. In her first year competing with the varsity she was a First Team All-Ivy selection as well as a NYSAIS tournament semi-finalist. She went 11-1 as Poly’s top-seeded player, leading the team to the Ivy Prep League Tournament finals in 2021.

Bella Saul, who had a stellar season in 2021 winning all but one of her regular-season singles matches, was a First-Team All-Ivy selection and is a member of the Bates College tennis squad.

Josephine Kimball, a 2020 Poly grad, was a No. 1 tennis player and MVP for three seasons – and was a two-year captain. She earned both First Team All-Ivy Prep League and Second-Team All-Ivy Prep League twice throughout her time at Poly Prep.

Now a junior at Trinity College, she’s ranked No. 5 in the ITA Northeast Region. As a sophomore, she led the Bantams in doubles wins winning percentage and tied for second on the team in singles. She’s a member of Trinity’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Poly Prep’s girls’ tennis coach, Jeff Amurao was a Division I performer at Georgetown University and current High Performance Tennis Director at CityView Racquet Club in LIC. In his first full season as girls’ coach he led the varsity to the brink of a championship, losing 2-3 in the finals to undefeated Hackley.

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Renae Beauchman, a native of Los Angeles, joined Poly prep as head varsity softball coach and Middle School PE teacher in the fall of 2019. She played baseball until she was 12, then began playing softball with the San Fernando-based travel team, Valley Breeze.

Beauchman was a scholarship performer at LIU, and was named First-Team All-Northeast Conference and NFCA All Northeast Team honors – she was a First-Team NAIA All-American.

Juliette Basso, former Poly shortstop, ended her junior season with a .553 batting average, 29 RBI, nine stolen bases and 39 runs-scored. She made First-Team All-Ivy Prep League in both 2018 and 2019.

She was named MVP 2019 and again in 2021 while leading Poly Prep to 2018 and 2019 New York Association of Independent Schools titles. As a senior, she batted .745 with nine home runs.

Now a sophomore at Bucknell, Basso appeared in 35 of the team’s 45 games –with 30 starts.

Ella Cater was a varsity softball player at Poly prep since eighth-grade – she was a three-time First-Team All-Ivy Prep League honoree. She hit .597 last season, with 41 RBI, 13 stolen bases and 37 runs-scored.

In 2022, Carter played ball with the Indiana Magic Gold-Green, where she was named team MVP after posting a .683 batting average. Carter also hut 11 home runs, 41 RBI and scored 28 runs.

She is enrolled at Indiana University.

“Every aspect of IU excited me as much as the next, and I can’t wait to be a Hoosier,” Carter said in a signing release, January.

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Florida Atlantic University’s basketball team had a dream season – making it to the Final Four – losing a 72-71 heartbreaker to San Diego State.

It wasn’t the first trip to the NCAA Tournament for the Owls. The school began basketball play in the 1988-89 season as a Division II independent. They moved to the Atlantic Sun Conference and Division I in 1993-94.

For the 1999-2000 season FAU hired UNLV  All-American– and Thomas Jefferson High grad – Sidney Green to coach. The NBA first-round draft pick finished 2-28 in his first season, with a 25-game losing streak.

During the 2001-02 season, Green would lead the Owls to his only winning season, as FAU finished 19-12 and 13-7 in the Atlantic Sun. In the first-round of the 2002 Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, FAU won their opening game – defeating Jacksonville University – in the championship game the Owls topped Georgia State, 76-75 clinching their first and only conference championship and a bid to the NCA Division I men’s basketball tournament.

The Owls, a 15-seed, fell to Alabama, 86-78.

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Xaverian High’s varsity girls’ lacrosse team tipped St. Joseph by the Sea, 10-9 last week.  Junior Kassidy Baez and freshman Ella Kushnick both had hat-tricks; junior Marin Crowley added two goals while senior Aryanna Agron and sophomore Ryan Schaffer added a goal each. Goalie Valentina Fontana had 10 saves in the win.

The JV girls followed with a 15-6 win. Sophomores Grace Lanier and Lucia Schrripa and freshmen Olivia Forester and Ameloa Forester each recorded their first Xaverian hat tricks. Freshman Nikki Scalfani scored two goals, while fellow freshman Oia Hughes and Victoria Gauo each had a goal apiece. Sophomore Jenna Ward had eight saves in goal for the Clippers first league win.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR


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