Fort Pierce Central football lineman flexes his poetic muscles

DERYK DAVIDSON/contributed PHOTO Fort Pierce Central senior Lafayette Ashley competes in the Louder Than a Bomb Florida poetry festival earlier this year. Ashley will deliver one of his poems at the Best of PrepZone awards event Wednesday night at the Sunrise Theatre.


DERYK DAVIDSON/CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Fort Pierce Central senior Lafayette Ashley competes in the Louder Than a Bomb Florida poetry festival earlier this year. Ashley played for the Central football team this past season and will deliver one of his poems at the Best of PrepZone awards event Wednesday night at the Sunrise Theatre.

By Patrick Bernadeau, Special to Treasure Coast Newspapers

FORT PIERCE — The coming weeks mark a time of the year when this area’s youth will start the next chapter in their lives. As they walk across the stage and receive their high school diplomas in front of cheering family and friends, the moment is soaked in excitement.

Now, the real world awaits.

For Fort Pierce Central defensive lineman Lafayette Ashley, he’ll have one tool at his disposal to help deal with the challenges ahead many others won’t — his poetry.

“I love football,” Ashley said. “Football was my way to get out of Fort Pierce and get a scholarship, but I feel like the gift God gave me was poetry. I feel like everyone is born with a gift. Your gift might be singing or drawing, but my gift happened to be poetry.”

Ashley, who will play football at Warner University in Lake Wales this fall, began writing poetry under the guidance of local poet Heather Wells.

Wells volunteers and coaches multiple schools in the area. She also serves as a local liaison for the Jason Taylor Foundation and the Louder Than A Bomb Florida poetry program.

“The biggest thing early on was getting Lafayette to open up and not be ashamed of what he has dealt with,” Wells said. “Once he was able to connect with his emotions, be open and completely raw, he took off.”

Ashley will be on stage during Wednesday night’s Best of PrepZone event — honoring All-Area high school athletes in all sports — at the Sunrise Theatre, joining former Miami Dolphins All-Pro Jason Taylor during his keynote speech.

“He (Ashley) is writing from a place that is eye opening, tragic and inspiring, all wrapped into one,” Taylor said. “I think it is great that our program appeals to such a diverse group of young people, and to see someone who has had success on the football field also enjoy success (in poetry) has been fantastic.

“The other thing about Lafayette that really stood out was just how respectful and polite he was.”

Ashley said it was hard times that pushed him to poetry.

“Something just told me to sign up for the poetry program because at the time, I was going through a lot of pain in my life,” Ashley said. “There were a lot of lost love ones and depression.

“With everything I was going through and everything I’ve seen — people and loved ones I lost, the pain I’ve felt growing up in my neighborhood — I just decided to put it on paper and speak it. It just blew up and here I am now.”

Ashley has received strong support from his teammates and classmates, and through his poems he has helped them deal with their inner feelings.

“Most of my teammates live right around the corner from each other and they’ve basically been saying thank you for giving us a voice,” Ashley says. “They feel the way I feel, but they don’t know how to say it the way I say it.

“I’ve had so many girls coming up to me almost in tears saying ‘thank you, I went through that.’ “

In April, Ashley placed second in the finals of the Louder Than A Bomb Florida poetry program in Fort Lauderdale. He was initially down on the result. For a moment, his competitive streak often seen on the football field took over, but afterward, Ashley was able to appreciate what he just accomplished.

“In that moment, for about 10 seconds, I was a little disappointed, I’m not going to lie,” Ashley said. “But once I got my emotions together and on the car ride back home, I was just thanking God ’cause all of this started in my bedroom just writing down notes.

“From the notes I write on a piece of paper, I feel like I’ve touched so many lives and I helped myself. It’s been therapy for me because I was depressed, but I made it through and I’ve met so many people through this.”

At the event, Ashley had the chance to meet a trio of football players from his favorite team.

“I’m from Fort Pierce and I grew up a Dolphin fan,” Ashley said. “To meet Jason Taylor, Ronnie Brown and Mike Pouncey, it was a childhood dream come true. I thought I might meet them through something related to football, but I met them through poetry.

“We took pictures and I told them how I grew up watching them. It was amazing.”

Taylor, whose foundation has contributed nearly $5 million in youth programs and services, was highly complimentary of Ashley.

“I just met Lafayette for the first time during this year’s (Louder Than a Bomb Florida) festival, and I will say this, it is hard not to notice him,” Taylor said. “The young man certainly has a presence about him. Just sitting in the back of the theater watching him, you see this big kid sprinting to the stage like he’s entering an MMA fight and he immediately stands out, before he even says a word.

“Of course, his delivery is powerful, electric even, but the most memorable thing about Lafayette is his voice — his poetic voice.”

For his efforts at the festival, Ashley will travel to Chicago to compete in the Louder That A Bomb event — the largest youth poetry competition in the world.

“That’s going to be a great experience,” Ashley said. “That’s somewhere I’ve never been. Anytime I get a chance to go see something new, it’s great.”

Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PatBernadeau

Who: TCPalm.com Player of the Year awards for 25 different high school sports; Treasure Coast Sports Commission awards to two student-athletes from 18 schools

What: Best of PrepZone

Where: Sunrise Theatre, 117 S. Second St., Fort Pierce

When: 7 p.m. May 25

Keynote speaker: Jason Taylor, former Miami Dolphin and NFL All-Pro defensive end/linebacker

Tickets: $8

Contact: 772-461-4884

Online: sunrisetheatre.com

 

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/sports/high-school/football/fort-pierce-central-football-lineman-flexes-his-poetic-muscles-33608e84-65ee-1012-e053-0100007f4fd9-380381021.html

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Fort Pierce Westwood prevails on late TD | Photos

Fort Pierce Westwood quarterback Coy Gray runs upfield with the ball Tuesday during a spring football game against Rockledge at Lawnwood Stadium in Fort Pierce. (JEREMIAH WILSON/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS)


Fort Pierce Westwood assistant coach Eddie Poole celebrates on the sideline Tuesday after the Panthers scored returned an interception for a touchdown during a spring football game against Rockledge at Lawnwood Stadium in Fort Pierce. (JEREMIAH WILSON/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS)


Fort Pierce Westwood junior Tarek Reaves picks up a teammate's fumble Tuesday and runs it in for a touchdown during a spring football game against Rockledge at Lawnwood Stadium in Fort Pierce. (JEREMIAH WILSON/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS)

By Aimee Ford Foster, Special to Treasure Coast Newspapers

FORT PIERCE — With its best running back on the sidelines and a one-point deficit on the scoreboard, the Fort Pierce Westwood High School football team found a way to win.

Quarterback Coy Gray scored on 3-yard run with 1:56 to play, capping a 12-play, 54-yard drive, to give his team a 25-20 win over Rockledge on Tuesday at Lawnwood Stadium.

“It’s always good to win, I just don’t like to win in that fashion,” first-year Westwood coach Aaron Sheppard said. “They made a really good adjustment, something we weren’t ready for. That kid (Jalen Mitchell) they put back there, we hadn’t seen anything like that. So, they caught us off guard and before we could adjust, they hit us.

“The truth is, it could have helped us a little, to win so tight. It could be a lesson.”

Rockledge, which trailed 19-0 at the half, adjusted by putting Mitchell — a 1,000-yard rusher last fall as a freshman tailback — at quarterback in the second half. In less than eight minutes, Mitchell led Rockledge to three scores. He did much of the damage himself, and got the go-ahead score on a 47-yard run with 45 seconds left in the third quarter.

“It was just kind of something we threw together at halftime and it worked pretty well,” Rockledge coach Wayne Younger said. “He’s a natural athlete, so we knew we could do it.”

Mitchell finished with 175 yards on 22 carries. He had not played any quarterback during spring.

But Westwood, which ran just seven offensive plays in the third quarter, dug in. After turning the ball over on downs to start the fourth quarter, Westwood finally stopped Rockledge.

With the ball back and plenty of time, Westwood turned to tough tailback Marques Burgess who already had scored once. Burgess, though, went down with a left ankle injury after getting a first down on a second-and-5 play. He rushed for 86 yards on 19 carries

His absence didn’t stop Westwood, and neither could Rockledge.

Gray, who rushed for 87 yards on 20 carries, went to work. He steadily directed the offense until he scored the winner.

“We’re full of athletes,” Sheppard said. “That’s one thing we are. We just have some things to work on.”

Tarek Reaves scored the first touchdown, scooping up a Gray fumble in the first quarter. After Burgess scored in the second quarter, David Hall returned an interception 35 yards for the 19-0 lead.

FORT PIERCE WESTWOOD 25, ROCKLEDGE 20

Rockledge 0 0 20 0—20

FP Westwood 7 12 0 6—25

1st Quarter

FPW: Tarek Reaves 9 run after Coy Gray 8 run and fumble (Luis Lopez kick), 5:09

2nd Quarter

FPW: Marques Burgess 8 run (run failed), 9:07

FPW: David Hall 35 interception return (pass failed), 2:10

3rd Quarter

R: Tyrone Brooks 5 run (run failed), 8:29

R: Tyrone Brooks 32 run (David Quintal kick), 3:48

R: Jalen Mitchell 47 run (David Quintal kick), :45

4th Quarter

FPW: Coy Gray 3 run (pass failed), 1:56

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/sports/high-school/football/khalil-macks-high-school-jersey-to-be-retired-at-fort-pierce-westwood-vs-rockledge-game-tonight-3301-380713541.html

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Man accused of trying to rob Fort Pierce McDonald’s


Larry Wiley

By Nicholas Samuel of TCPalm

FORT PIERCE — A Fort Pierce man faces an armed robbery charge after officers say he attempted to rob a McDonald’s on Sunday night, according to a St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

The manager of the McDonald’s at 615 N. U.S. 1 in Fort Pierce told officers Larry D. Wiley, 36, of the 600 block of Avenue E, walked up to the restaurant’s drive-thru armed with a silver handgun about 9:36 p.m.

Wiley, dressed in a black T-shirt, black shorts, white sneakers and a black shirt on his face, pointed the gun at the employees inside the restaurant, an arrest report states.

Camera footage shows Wiley then running west.

The manager said no money or property was stolen and no employees were injured.

Officers canvassed the area where Wiley ran and arrested him in the 600 block of Avenue E on Tuesday afternoon, an arrest report states.

Wiley faces a robbery with a firearm charge and is being held at the St. Lucie County Jail on $100,000 bail.

Nicholas Samuel thumbnail

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/crime/st-lucie-county/man-accused-of-trying-to-rob-fort-pierce-mcdonalds-33b23af8-e4b7-1dff-e053-0100007fc3c9-380895551.html

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Fort Pierce Westwood prevails on late TD

JEREMIAH WILSON/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS Fort Pierce Westwood quarterback Coy Gray runs upfield with the ball Tuesday during a spring football game against Rockledge at Lawnwood Stadium in Fort Pierce. To see more photos, go to TCPalm.com.


JEREMIAH WILSON/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS Fort Pierce Westwood assistant coach Eddie Poole celebrates on the sideline Tuesday after the Panthers scored returned an interception for a touchdown during a spring football game against Rockledge at Lawnwood Stadium in Fort Pierce. To see more photos, go to TCPalm.com.


JEREMIAH WILSON/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS Fort Pierce Westwood junior Tarek Reaves picks up a teammate's fumble Tuesday and runs it in for a touchdown during a spring football game against Rockledge at Lawnwood Stadium in Fort Pierce. To see more photos, go to TCPalm.com.

By Aimee Ford Foster, Special to Treasure Coast Newspapers

FORT PIERCE — With its best running back on the sidelines and a one-point deficit on the scoreboard, the Fort Pierce Westwood High School football team found a way to win.

Quarterback Coy Gray scored on 3-yard run with 1:56 to play, capping a 12-play, 54-yard drive, to give his team a 25-20 win over Rockledge on Tuesday at Lawnwood Stadium.

“It’s always good to win, I just don’t like to win in that fashion,” first-year Westwood coach Aaron Sheppard said. “They made a really good adjustment, something we weren’t ready for. That kid (Jalen Mitchell) they put back there, we hadn’t seen anything like that. So, they caught us off guard and before we could adjust, they hit us.

“The truth is, it could have helped us a little, to win so tight. It could be a lesson.”

Rockledge, which trailed 19-0 at the half, adjusted by putting Mitchell — a 1,000-yard rusher last fall as a freshman tailback — at quarterback in the second half. In less than eight minutes, Mitchell led Rockledge to three scores. He did much of the damage himself, and got the go-ahead score on a 47-yard run with 45 seconds left in the third quarter.

“It was just kind of something we threw together at halftime and it worked pretty well,” Rockledge coach Wayne Younger said. “He’s a natural athlete, so we knew we could do it.”

Mitchell finished with 175 yards on 22 carries. He had not played any quarterback during spring.

But Westwood, which ran just seven offensive plays in the third quarter, dug in. After turning the ball over on downs to start the fourth quarter, Westwood finally stopped Rockledge.

With the ball back and plenty of time, Westwood turned to tough tailback Marques Burgess who already had scored once. Burgess, though, went down with a left ankle injury after getting a first down on a second-and-5 play. He rushed for 86 yards on 19 carries

His absence didn’t stop Westwood, and neither could Rockledge.

Gray, who rushed for 87 yards on 20 carries, went to work. He steadily directed the offense until he scored the winner.

“We’re full of athletes,” Sheppard said. “That’s one thing we are. We just have some things to work on.”

Tarek Reaves scored the first touchdown, scooping up a Gray fumble in the first quarter. After Burgess scored in the second quarter, David Hall returned an interception 35 yards for the 19-0 lead.

FORT PIERCE WESTWOOD 25, ROCKLEDGE 20

Rockledge 0 0 20 0—20

FP Westwood 7 12 0 6—25

1st Quarter

FPW: Tarek Reaves 9 run after Coy Gray 8 run and fumble (Luis Lopez kick), 5:09

2nd Quarter

FPW: Marques Burgess 8 run (run failed), 9:07

FPW: David Hall 35 interception return (pass failed), 2:10

3rd Quarter

R: Tyrone Brooks 5 run (run failed), 8:29

R: Tyrone Brooks 32 run (David Quintal kick), 3:48

R: Jalen Mitchell 47 run (David Quintal kick), :45

4th Quarter

FPW: Coy Gray 3 run (pass failed), 1:56

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/sports/high-school/football/khalil-macks-high-school-jersey-to-be-retired-at-fort-pierce-westwood-vs-rockledge-game-tonight-3301-380713541.html

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Two teens hospitalized after Fort Pierce shooting

Two teenagers were hospitalized after being shot in Fort Pierce early Sunday.

The shooting  happened at around 12:30 a.m. in the 400 block of North 29th Street, St. Lucie Fire Rescue said.

The victims, ages 15 and 16, were transported to a hospital, where they are listed in stable condition.

There is no suspect information at this time.

 

 

 

Article source: http://www.wpbf.com/news/two-teens-hospitalized-after-fort-pierce-shooting/39674286

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2 teens injured by gunfire in Fort Pierce

Two teens were shot on north 29th Street May 22, 2016. (ELLIOTT JONES/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS)

By Elliott Jones of TCPalm

FORT PIERCE — The gunfire that injured two teenage boys early Sunday came from a passing car, according to a woman who lives where the shooting took place.

The two teens had been in Petronella Howard’s yard, visiting her grandson, who just graduated from high school, she said. The two were getting into a parked car on the side of North 29th Street, when the sound of seven to eight bullets — possibly from an AK 47 — awakened the neighborhood shortly after midnight, Howard said Sunday.

She knew the two injured teens and, on Friday, told them not to come to her yard because social media posts indicated there might be violence, she said. “I asked them to stay out.”

After the gunfire, she said she talked to police and asked what type of gun could have made such loud sounds. She said she was told it could have been an AK 47, an assault style rifle.

At the time of the shooting, her two granddaughters, her daughter and her daughter’s baby, a niece and a nephew were asleep inside. The house was not hit.

Scraps of shattered car window glass remained on the ground Sunday morning in front of her house.

Both teens were hospitalized at the Lawnwood Regional Medical Center Heart Institute. They are listed in stable condition, according to the St. Lucie County Fire District.

“There is too much of this (violence) going on,” Howard said, before heading to church Sunday morning. Police are investigating. No arrests have been made. No information was available from the Fort Pierce Police Department Sunday.

Howard’s said she previously lived in Lakewood Park, in northern St. Lucie County. She moved to North 29th Street after inheriting the house from her mother. “This is my heritage,” she said.

The neighborhood is a block south of Indian River State College’s Human Development and Resource Center.

Under Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney, who was hired almost a year ago, police have been working on establishing better relations with residents of northwest Fort Pierce to get information leading to arrests.

Last year, the city had 123 verified shooting incidents, largely in northwest Fort Pierce, known as Lincoln Park. In those, 47 people were hit by bullets. Seven people died, according to police reports.

There have been five homicides this year. The last was in early April, record show.

 

Elliott Jones thumbnail

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/crime/st-lucie-county/2-teens-injured-by-gunfire-in-Fort-Pierce-380405311.html

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Fort Pierce grandma leaves children in hot car

By Nicole Wiesenthal of TCPalm

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — After leaving her two grandchildren, 8, in a car with the engine off for about a half an hour Sunday in 89 degree heat, Vivian Plowden, 61, was arrested and charged with child neglect.

At about 3:30 p.m., Plowden had gone into the Walmart, on the 5100 block of Okeechobee Road, to pick up her medication, she told Fort Pierce police, according to a report. When she left the store at about 4 p.m., she was arrested and taken to St. Lucie County Jail.

Plowden had left the children in a black pickup truck with the engine off and two windows rolled halfway down. She said they were asleep, and she didn’t expect it to take so long to get her medicine, according to the report.

Plowden was arrested and taken to the St. Lucie County Jail where she was released Sunday on a bond of $3,750.

Nicole Wiesenthal thumbnail

About Nicole Wiesenthal

Nicole Wiesenthal is a University of Florida journalism student working a reporting internship this summer with TCPalm.com and Treasure Coast Newspapers.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/crime/st-lucie-county/fort-pierce-grandma-leaves-children-in-hot-car-is-arrested-33888816-332d-0786-e053-0100007fc8e2-380573191.html

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Police investigate double shooting in Fort Pierce

Residents in Fort Pierce are on edge after a double shooting early Sunday morning.

The shooting happened around 12:30 a.m. on North 29th Street.

Police said a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old were hit and taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

One resident tells WPBF 25 her son graduated high school Saturday and was hanging outside their home with some friends.

Those friends were getting ready to leave when someone drove by firing shots.

“Well last night I was in my bed sleeping and I heard some ‘pow, pow, pow,’” said Petronella Howard, who lives near where the shooting happened. “About seven or eight times and I got up because I be wanting to know where my son is at because I know these people are crazy.”

Howard said the police department needs to put more officers on the streets to combat this on-going crime.

If you know any information that may lead to an arrest contact detectives or crime stoppers.

Article source: http://www.wpbf.com/news/police-investigate-double-shooting-in-fort-pierce/39675326

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Flooding cleanup in Fort Pierce

A zoo killed two lions to save a man who jumped into the big cats’ enclosure in the Chilean capital.

The man climbed over the fence Saturday and removed his clothes before approaching the lions, according to a statement posted on the Santiago Metropo…


Read More »

Article source: http://www.wpbf.com/news/flooding-cleanup-in-fort-pierce/39634298

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Fort Pierce Central splits in spring jamboree

PATRICK BERNADEAU/SPECIAL TO TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS First-year Fort Pierce Central High School coach Matt Helmerich talks with his Cobras during Friday night's spring jamboree at Palm Beach Lakes High School.

By Patrick Bernadeau, Special to Treasure Coast Newspapers

WEST PALM BEACH — It took a while to complete, but Fort Pierce Central split two halves Friday night in a spring jamboree, topping Deerfield Beach 17-8 and losing to Palm Beach Lakes 14-7 at Dick Melear Stadium.

On the Cobras’ second series against Deerfield Beach, action was halted for over 90 minutes for a lightning delay.

“I thought the kids handled the rain delay very well,” Fort Pierce Central coach Matt Helmerich said. “The kids stayed positive and stayed loose. They came out and we played very well against Deerfield. Palm Beach Lakes came out and played very fast.”

When they finally got back on the field, the night belonged to Kerwens Fils-Aime. In the opener against Deerfield Beach, Fils-Aims hauled in the game’s first score, catching a short pass from Dan Vaughn and shaking a defender on route to the 9-yard touchdown catch. Later, backup Brandon Stone connected with a wide-open Fils-Aime for a 26-yard touchdown reception.

“The night was all right,” Fils-Aime said. “I actually wanted the ball more, but it’s a jamboree. I got some things to work on like routes and being smarter on the field, but I’m excited for the summer.”

With Central trailing Palm Beach Lakes 6-0, Stone again found an open Fils-Aime down the sideline for a 65-yard touchdown reception. The score gave the Cobras the lead but the advantage was short-lived after Jordan Canady’s 1-yard touchdown run.

“We saw exactly what we wanted to see tonight,” Helmerich said. “We kept it very basic. We lined up, turned them loose and we wanted to see who was going to make plays.

“We didn’t do the little things correctly. That’s what we’ve been preaching all spring, but we played hard and harder than what we’ve been practicing.”

Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PatBernadeau

SUMMARIES

FORT PIERCE CENTRAL 17, DEERFIELD BEACH 8

Fort Pierce Central 10 7—17

Deerfield Beach 0 8— 8

1st Quarter

FPC: Kerwins Fils-Aime 9 pass from Dan Vaughn (Seth Ingersoll kick), 3:20

FPC: Seth Ingersoll 35 FG, :09

2nd Quarter

DB: Jerry Jeudy 77 pass from Alec Brown (Lafleur Limprevil pass from Alec Brown), 9:15

FPC: Kerwins Fils-Aime 26 pass from Brandon Stone (Seth Ingersoll kick), 2:25

PALM BEACH LAKES 14, FORT PIERCE CENTRAL 7

Fort Pierce Central 7 0— 7

Palm Beach Lakes 6 8—14

1st Quarter

PBL: Marco Burgess 60 fumble return (run failed), 1:30

FPC: Kerwens Fils-Aime 65 pass from Brandon Stone (Seth Ingersoll kick), 1:18

2nd Quarter

PBL: Jordan Canady 1 run (Clifford Thomas pass from Armani Edden), 8:38

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/sports/high-school/football/fort-pierce-central-splits-in-spring-jamboree-33510532-f43f-21d7-e053-0100007f7d23-380341101.html

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