SPORTS & MORE: JAGUARS MOVE SARGENT TO PRACTICE SQUAD

Key West’s own Mekhi Sargent hosts a free football clinic in June for Key West kids. BERT BUDDE/Keys Weekly

Key West High’s all-time leading rusher, Mekhi Sargent, is again just hanging on in the National Football League.

Sargent, who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars during the offseason, was one of the final cuts as the league’s 32 teams each narrowed their rosters to 53 players on Aug, 30. However, two days later, on Sept. 1, the Jags signed Sargent to their practice squad, which means he’s eligible to be claimed by another team while practicing, but not playing with the Jaguars.

After graduating from Key West, Sargent played first at Iowa Western, a junior college, then at the University of Iowa. Undrafted, he signed with and got playing time with the Tennessee Titans before being dropped and picked up by the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams dropped him last Christmas but the Jaguars subsequently signed him.

ONE OF THE U.S. OPEN tennis announcers (I think it was John McEnroe, although it might have been Chris Fowler) said that millions worldwide were watching as Serena Williams played out her retirement. 

Yes, I watched all three nights as Williams perhaps bid farewell to her professional career. And, yes, it was very exciting, even down to Williams’ outfit of black with sparkles, a motif she wore all three nights. Three big matches. All televised. All under the lights.

First, with a lot of fanfare, on Monday, Aug. 29, Williams defeated unranked Danka Kovinic. While Williams’ fans were very excited, it was a match that did not have a surprise ending. She won 6-3, 6-3. Two nights later came the big match, against No. 2 Anett Kontaveit, an opponent who appeared much stronger than Williams. After winning the first set 7-6, Williams lost the second, 6-2, before overpowering Kontaveit, 6-2. What a match.

That set the stage for her third match of the tournament, against Ajla Tomljanovic initially from Croatia, now from Australia. It’s difficult to judge how good Williams is, now that she plays so rarely, but it turned out that on this night Tomljanovic held a slight edge, 7-5, 6-7, 6-1.

There were tears in the stands, but not on the court. Williams was gracious, as she spoke first, thanking everyone within distance, including her sister, saying, “Without Venus, there’s no Serena.” Williams is/was, of course, the greatest player of all time. When it was Tomljanovic’s turn to speak, even Serena’s conquering opponent acknowledged it was so.

THE FLORIDA BIG THREE, Miami, Florida and Florida State, all played on college football’s opening weekend. And all three won. Miami trounced in-state Bethune-Cookman, 70-13. It was a lot tougher for the other two.

Miami’s victory ushered in the Mario Cristobal era, which probably should have been initiated several years ago. Tyler Van Dyke passed for 193 yards on 13 of 16 attempts for the Canes. This Saturday, Sept. 10, Miami will host Southern Mississippi University at noon and at 9 p.m., the following Saturday, at a strong Texas A&M. That game will answer the questions.

There was also a new coach, Billy Napier, at the University of Florida, as the Gators upset No. 7 Utah, 29-26. Anthony Richardson ran for three touchdowns, including a 2-yard run with 1:25 left.

Amari Burney then intercepted a pass in the end zone with 17 seconds left. No. 20 Kentucky visits Florida at 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10.

LSU ran 99 yards down the field in the final seconds, scoring with one second left, but had the tying conversion blocked as Florida State won Saturday night at LSU, 24-23. FSU gets a week off, then plays at Louisville at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 16.

All games (except UM) were exciting, but the best player I saw all weekend was Shedeur Sanders, the coach’s son who completed his first 16 passes for three touchdowns as Jackson State whipped up on Florida A&M, 59-3. Deion Sanders’ son passed for five total TDs. 

I wanted to write about Ohio State rallying to beat Notre Dame, but I’ll save my favorite team, the Buckeyes of scarlet and gray, for another time.

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Veteran sports columnist Ralph Morrow says the only sport he doesn’t follow is cricket. That leaves plenty of others to fill his time.