Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Atonement for the Herald?

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the Herald's one sided summary of the Belen/Columbus Football Game. Subsequently the Herald published two articles that were more favorable to Belen.

Miami-Dade private schools are heated rivals
Posted on Thu, Aug. 30, 2007

For the third year in a row, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School students were grinding their teeth as the referee blew the whistle, ending their football team's 13-12 Friday night defeat.

Christopher Columbus High School had done it to them again.

''We're used to winning. If we lose, I'll never hear the end of it,'' said Jesse Menocal, whose son plays defensive end for Columbus.

The Sweetwater police officer looks forward to having his son's team win every year, fuel to a fire burning between him and his twin brother Iggy Menocal -- also a Sweetwater cop. Iggy's son goes to Belen so trash talk at work is inevitable. At home, it's relentless.

''They tell me they have better athletes. Well, ours are smarter,'' Iggy responded, sitting on the opposite end of the field.

''The people who can't hack it at Belen go to Columbus,'' Iggy added.

Incendiary remarks have been flung from side-to-side for years, part of an unending rivalry between both schools. As some Miami-Dade private schoolchildren grow up, they are split two ways: Belen or Columbus. Many times, the question boils down to academics or sports. Belen, known for its superiority in academics, has yet to win a football game against Columbus, recognized for its well-funded and championship-winning athletics department.

''It's been going on since as long as I can remember,'' said Danny Gomez, a Belen graduate. 'Our joke is: Belen's dropouts have been supplying Columbus' students for 70 years.''

The Gomez family is another one torn by the clash. His younger brother, Nick, sat with his fellow students at Columbus during the game while Danny and their father sat with Belen.

''I'm not allowed to go over there,'' Nick shouted, when asked to visit his family on the other side, adding a joke, ``I'll get shot!''

Later in the game, Nemesio Gomez acknowledged his son's fears.

''We get along great,'' Nemesio said. ``Except for tonight.''

Nemesio, a 1977 Belen graduate, hoped his old school would win, if only to avoid his youngest son's taunts.

''We have the determination to win. They don't. We're Columbus Explorers,'' yelled Miguel Guiardinu, sporting a 14-inch-tall blue Mohawk.

But while Columbus has beaten its rival by two or more touchdowns before, Friday's sold out game before about 4,000 fans came shockingly close, 13-12, after two touchdowns, Belen's failed field goals and Columbus' missed two-point conversion.

''It's close,'' Mark Barquin, Belen's athletic director, whispered with 38 seconds left in the game.

It was close enough to make the Explorers uneasy for the first time. Almost two quarters went by with the Wolverines leading the game by five.

''They weren't expecting this. David and Goliath, trust me,'' said Carlos Bravo, a Belen chemistry teacher.

''It was a great game,'' responded Chris McKeon, Columbus' athletic director. ``I guess they look at it that way because they haven't beaten us at football, but they have to be proud of their team. It's easier to be proud in victory than in defeat.''

To Belen's disappointment, the Explorers will have it easier -- for at least another year.
Belen is an Ivy League pipeline
Posted on Sat, Sep. 01, 2007
Belen Jesuit's football team has become a pipeline for talent to some of the best Ivy League colleges in recent years.

The Wolverines have five players playing for Ivy League teams with three more potential players on this year's squad.

Pete Pidermann, a versatile threat during his career at Belen, is a sophomore at Dartmouth.

Linebacker Fernando Aran and free safety Carlos Roque are each sophomores at Princeton.

Former quarterback/running back Gio Christodoulou is a freshman at Yale University.

Linebacker Greg Fontela is a freshman at Columbia.

The Wolverines have also had two players graduate from Ivy League schools.

Former quarterback Joaquin Sanchez graduated from Harvard, and Chris Gueits graduated from Princeton.

''We're really proud of the accomplishments our former players have had being able to play for some of the most prestigious schools in the country,'' Belen coach Rich Stuart said.

Stuart said senior free safety Anthony DiBlasi, senior linebacker Diego Fernandez-Soto and senior cornerback Nick Herrera have all drawn interest from Ivy League schools like Dartmouth and Cornell.

Belen, which played Naples Gulf Coast on Friday, went toe-to-toe with one of the county's best Class 6A teams last week before losing 13-12 to Columbus.

Belen also beat defending District 14-6A champion Coral Gables 28-0 in the spring.
Perhaps some influential Belen alumni gave the Herald an earful. I know that father Willie Garcia Tuñon S.J. was furious about the original game summary.

By the way the Herald had correct several errors in the first piece linked above:
A story on the Belen/Columbus exhibition football game in the Aug. 30 editions of Neighbors contained several errors
Posted on Thu, Sep. 06, 2007

• A story on the Belen/Columbus exhibition football game in the Aug. 30 editions of Neighbors contained several errors. The schools were incorrectly characterized; they are private schools. The athletic director at Belen Jesuit is Carlos Barquin. A Belen student, Sebastian Juncadella, was misidentified in a photograph. Also, the Columbus team's name was listed incorrectly. They are the Explorers.

h/t: Robert


Anonymous said...

Is the "Neighbors" section of the Herald at least managed or supervised by a professional? Does it have professional staff? It sure doesn't seem like it.

Anonymous said...

The Herald is managed by a professional staff -- unlike this sad blog here.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Well thanks for your readership anyway.