DAVENPORT, Fla. – A lot of action took place at the Pylon 7-on-7 Tournament this past weekend (Feb. 11-12).
For the Palm Beach Fire, it proved to be a talent showcase for many of our area’s underclassmen. Though they were eliminated by the Fire in a 7-0 second-round loss, there were several moments that caught the eyes of coaches and media evaluators alike.
The one player who really had a breakthrough performance over the weekend was 2018 tight end/defensive end Dante Lang (Boca Raton). With his outstretched hands, the 6-5, 225-pound two-way player muscled past the opposition to make some tough catches in a few games, one of which went for a score.
“He’s maybe the best offensive weapon that nobody knows about,” Palm Beach Fire offensive coordinator Charles “Chuck” Cornelius said. “Everybody just knows him at defensive end. But he is a Division 1 tight end also. He has strong hands, deceptive speed, and can jump out of the gym if you need him to.”
Lang, who has five offers from Arkansas, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Charlotte, and FAU, finished with 15 receptions and hauled in three touchdowns in five games played for the Palm Beach Fire (2-3 over the weekend; 1-2 in pool play; 1-1 in single elimination play). He was rated as the team’s No. 1 offensive player for the tournament.
As for the Palm Beach Fire’s defense, it was absolutely no surprise who came out as the No. 1 player. Miami verbal commit and Palm Beach Central 2019 cornerback Akeem Dent was a true ball hawk the entire weekend, using his superior coverage skills and athleticism to his advantage in more ways than one.
Dent allowed no catches in five games played for the Palm Beach Fire and was selected to play with the Fire7 for their semifinal playoff game against Boom (Chicago), which turned out to be a tough 29-28 loss in overtime for the Florida Fire organization’s flagship team.
“He played well at corner and safety,” Palm Beach Fire defensive coordinator Tony Smith said about Dent. “He’s the only one who can play both positions at a high level.”
Here’s a list of the top Palm Beach Fire performers, separated by offense and defense. The rankings were assembled by Cornelius (offense) and Smith (defense).
1. TE Dante Lang (Boca Raton; 2018)
2. TE Shane Ellis (Olympic Heights; 2018)
3. WR Oyeh Lurry (Palm Beach Lakes; 2018)
4. QB Dalean Menard (Chaminade-Madonna; 2019)
5. WR E.J. Jackson (Cardinal Newman; 2019)
1. CB Akeem Dent (Palm Beach Central; 2019)
2. DB Mike Nestor (Olympic Heights; 2018)
3. ATH Teja Young (Palm Beach Lakes; 2018)
4. DB Gurvan Hall (Palm Beach Lakes; 2018)
5. CB Wellestey Madurie (Clewiston; 2018)
NOTE: The next team event for the Palm Beach Fire will be on Saturday (Feb. 18), when they compete in The Event by Larry Blustein at Ives Estates Park in North Miami. They will also be taking a visit to the University of Miami in Coral Gables on Feb. 18 for Junior Day.