By Richard Yager….
The world of flag football has discovered its Brett Favre.
“Quarterbacks stick around longer,” laughed Jorge Cascudo, a physical education teacher at Parkway Elementary School for 15 years. “We get better as we grow older.”
As Favre continues a Super Bowl title hunt in a Minnesota Vikings uniform nearing age 41, Miami’s Cascudo reached his pigskin pinnacle in the world of adult flag football when he quarterbacked the USA to its first World Championship last month at age 38.
Ironically, Cascudo credits his achievement to his school days at Miami High as a “Stingaree” baseball player “since my parents wouldn’t agree to my playing tackle football because of the risk of injury.”
Today, Jorge’s mother, Teresita Cascudo still resides just a few touchdown heaves from the Boys and Girls Club on SW 32nd Avenue where Jorge spent a good part of his youth, “mostly playing baseball, the sport I really liked the most.”
Son of Secundo Cascudo, a cookie distributor, Jorge in his youth was oblivious that his baseball talents would lead him to become flag football’s “Most Valuable Player” on an international level some 30 years later.
That came about Aug. 12-16 when Cascudo led the U.S. Men’s team against 10 other countries in the International Federation of American Football (IFFA) round robin World Championship series in Ottawa, Canada.
Reported an IFFA press release:
“The USA showcased a new quarterback, Jorge Cascudo from Miami, Florida, who immediately made an impact on the performance of Team USA as they cruised to a 39-13 victory. Cascudo’s quick foot work and rifle of an arm resulted in six touchdowns while fellow Miamian Carlos Jaime found the end zone three times.”
On Aug. 17, Quarterback Cascudo was named the All-Tournament Team’s Offensive MVP, guiding the U.S. team to a gold medal and an undefeated record by throwing 34 touchdowns as the U.S scored a total of 213 points, allowing only 75 points to lead all other competing nations with four first-team selections.
The USA team took the title over Denmark (second) and Italy (third), followed by Canada, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Japan, Israel, Korea and Sweden.
“Jack Reed of Boston, who was in charge of recruiting the USA team, went to Orlando last January and saw me play in a tournament there,” said Cascudo, who wasn’t fazed by the absence of sports page headlines both before and after the Canadian tournament.
“My family is really proud of that gold medal,” grinned the world’s best quarterback among 50 countries on five continents, according to IFFA offices in Paris, France.
A 1990 graduate of Miami High, Cascudo won a baseball scholarship to Florida Memorial College (now University) where he received his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education in May 1996, then joined the Parkway school faculty.
Married and father of three with wife Lisset, his family resides in Fontainebleau Park at the Southwinds community with a younger Jorge, 6; Kevin, 4, and 11-month-old Samantha.
Teammate Jaime, a native of Nicaragua, also is a Stingaree, graduating from Miami High in 2002 after displaying similar sport skills on both the basketball court and baseball diamond.
Like so many Miami youngsters, flag football whetted Cascudo’s appetite for the tackle game but after playing baseball, he only took up “grabbing cloth flags” during his teaching career because “I’ve always loved football but never played while growing up.”
Cascudo credits an uncle, Raymond Reyes, who lives in the Sunset area of Kendall, for convincing him to try flag football as an adult sport, and together in 1995 they originated and played with “The Sting,” honoring their mutual alma mater.
As time went by, “The Sting” lost some of its original players to become “Sting City,” and carve out a new countywide reputation just four months ago by winning a championship in Amarillo, TX, worth $7,000 to the team.
“Right now, the kids flag football is in its off season, but adults play the year around. It’s very competitive with over 100 teams in different divisions in Miami,” Cascudo said. “A world title is a great experience, something you don’t forget, no matter what age.”