By: Sharon Aron Baron
The Miami Dolphins recognized a Marjory Stoneman Douglas football player and a Coral Springs mother with special awards designed to celebrate youth football in South Florida.
For each home game, the Dolphins identifies a high school coach of the week, high school player of the week, youth player of the week and team mom of the week.
This week, they honored Brian Smith with High School Player of the Week and Tara Cochin with Team Mom of the Week.
The Dolphins picked Marjory Stoneman Douglas football player Brian Smith, who rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning catch on the final play in a 30-26 win over rival Monarch High School.
For Team Mom of the Week, Tara Gochin from the Parkland Rangers 10U was chosen. This is Gochin’s second season as a team mom, and according to the Miami Dolphins, she has proved herself extremely instrumental in the day-to-day activities of the team.
She is available at every practice making sure the players are hydrated and taken care of. On game day, Gochin makes sure that all of the players are properly dressed and ready to play. On top of that, she also keeps the parents in the know as far as game schedules and timing of activities for the day.
Award recipients receive tickets to a Dolphins home game, a plaque on the field at Hard Rock Stadium and receive acknowledgment of their accomplishment in the game program and through the Dolphins’ social media platforms.
High School Coach of the Week was Byron Walker from Archbishop McCarthy High School.
Walker’s head coaching career began 43 years ago at Glades Day School in Belle Glade, Florida, where he coached from 1977-1991.
Walker won three football state championships and eight consecutive trips to the state finals. His success lead him to American Heritage in Plantation where he served as the athletic director and head coach from 1992-2010 and led the Patriots to 14 state playoffs and one state championship appearance.
In 2011, Walker became the head coach at Archbishop McCarthy, where he has led the Mavericks to two playoff appearances in nine years.
In 2018, Walker was inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Florida Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2003.
• Youth Player of the Week is Ja’vion Florence from the Cannonball Youth Club Wolverines 6U of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League. Florence had three carries and three touchdowns in a win over the Kendall Hammock Warriors.
The Dolphins also recognizes a team of the week who will be on the field during the national anthem. This week they are Belen Jesuit Preparatory School.
The program concludes at the Dolphins-Bengals game where the Dolphins will honor yearly award winners in all categories with the exception of the team of the year.