L’s stun Semi­nole

Fort Laud­erdale headed to state fi­nal for first time

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - By Gary Curreri Cor­re­spon­dent

FORT LAUD­ERDALE — Af­ter win­ning three play­off games on the road, Fort Laud­erdale fi­nally got a chance to play at home and they did not dis­ap­point.

The Fly­ing L’s soared to 2-0 vic­tory over vis­it­ing San­ford Semi­nole on Satur­day af­ter­noon and are headed to the Class 4A boys soc­cer state cham­pi­onship for the first time in school his­tory.

Fort Laud­erdale (22-5-1) will play the win­ner of the Jack­sonville FletcherAuburn­dale game for the state ti­tle at 1 p.m. next Satur­day at Spec Martin Memo­rial Sta­dium in DeLand.

Fort Laud­erdale got goals from fresh­man Jorge Aguilar in the eighth minute and salted the game away with just sec­onds left as sopho­more Mario Si­moes put in a re­bound on a shot off the post by sopho­more Camilo Prado. Prado also as­sisted on the first goal.

The L’s got a huge lift right at the end of the first half with two cru­cial saves by ju­nior goal­keeper Gio­vanni Bonilla, who saved point-blank shots by Grif­fin Prestipino, Coby Suski and Kobe Hep­burn in the clos­ing sec­onds to record his 10th shutout of the sea­son.

“At the time we were up 1-0 and I was just try­ing to keep the lead,” said Bonilla, who made nine saves in the game and came off his line to in­ter­rupt sev­eral cross at­tempts by the Warhawks. “The two saves are what I prac­tice, and it just comes in the game in the mo­ment. You re­ally don’t think about it.”

Both teams were district run­ners-up and had to travel in their pre­vi­ous three re­gional games. This was Fort Laud­erdale’s first home game of the post­sea­son. Fort Laud­erdale reached the Class 4A state semi­fi­nals one other time in 2013 where they lost to Gulf Coast 6-1.

Fort Laud­erdale coach Mour­inho Snipe was emo­tional af­ter the game. He choked back tears talk­ing about his younger brother Car­lon, who died in a plane crash be­fore the sea­son.

“This is huge for me,” Snipe said. “I lost my brother in the plane crash and I know he is smil­ing down on me right now. He would be very happy. I am so proud of the boys. It is so good for the school…the play­ers worked very hard and they de­serve it.”

L’s ju­nior mid­fielder Steven Noguera said the team ded­i­cated the sea­son to Snipe’s brother. Noguera also played a big role for Fort Laud­erdale who on Wed­nes­day night, stunned the na­tion’s third-ranked team and pre­vi­ously un­de­feated St. Thomas Aquinas

1-0 in the Class 4A re­gional fi­nal.

“To be hon­est, this is the big­gest game of my high school ca­reer, and next week we play in the state fi­nals,” Noguera said. “We want to ded­i­cate this game to his brother; may he rest in peace. First state cham­pi­onship game [ap­pear­ance] in school his­tory and to rep­re­sent the school as a cap­tain, means the world to me.”

Semi­nole (19-4-3) was ranked 13th in the state and

32nd in the coun­try by MaxPreps.

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