The day started early for the 58 teams that came from all over the state to compete in the 7-on-7 passing tournament. The field was thick with talent from teams like Tampa-Plant, Dwyer, Venice, Tampa Catholic, Kathleen, Dr. Phillips, Hillsborough and many, many others.
The teams were broken into two groups with six teams playing in the small school bracket. All teams played the cross pool seeding on Saturday with Plant, Jefferson, Charlotte, Freedom, Pasco, Armwood, and Alonzo & Sebring drawling the top seeds and began the double elimination tournament at 8:00am on Sunday morning. The 250 kids in the big man challenge got to watch their teammates before they began their morning session shortly after 10:00 am.
The basic rules were as follows:
- The tourney is played on a field of sixty yards with a legal size end-zone.
- Playing field consist of three first down zones, 20 yards in length
- Each game is 30 minutes in length
- All applicable rules from the National Federation rule book apply
- The QB has 4 seconds from the snap to release the ball, or is sacked.
- There are no running plays.
- No throw backs to QB's are allowed
- 6 points for a TD, 1 pt conversion from the 5, or 2 pts from the 10
- An interception is a dead ball with 3-points awarded to the defense.
The teams began the double elimination tournament early Sunday with Plant, Jefferson, Charlotte, Freedom, Pasco, Armwood, Alonzo & Sebring drawling the top seeds and the competition was fierce as the field reduced with every round of play. There were great games that drew large crowds and several upsets as the teams played through the rain and whittled down to the final four that consisted of Hillsborough vs. Jefferson, and Charlotte vs. Sebring.
To get to the semi finals Sebring played great through the tournament and were led by rising juniors Devin Clarke and QB Matt Grub, but lost to Charlotte, with strong performances from 2011 RB Mike Bellamy, QB Kyle Midget and the entire team.
In the other Semi match-up Hillsborough beat Jefferson with another air show by both teams, in what was probably the best game all day. This was one of those games that would be decided by whoever had the ball last, and it did come down to the very end. Jefferson was led by rising junior sensation WR Andre Davis and QB Quentin Williams. While Hillsborough was without star athlete Terrence Mitchell, who injured his ankle earlier, but QB Tarean Austin, WR Charles Lovett, and company proved too much as they had the ball last and won 24-23.
Finally after a long day of football under the hot sun and rain, the championship game was played shortly after 7 pm Sunday, and out of the 58 teams it was down to Hillsborough and Charlotte to play for the title. Hillsborough began the game undefeated and the injured Terrence Mitchell returned to help the Terriers stay perfect as they beat Charlotte 20-6 and were crowned Tourney champs.
"I had to come back for the final, and do what I can to help my team" said Mitchell who played sparingly in the final game, but had a great performance over the two days.
Hillsborough opened the scoring on the first drive with a touchdown strike to WR Antonio Chow. On the next possession the Hillsborough defense came up big with an interception. Later Chow caught another TD from Tarean Austin and the defense intercepted Charlotte again for A 20-0 Hillsborough lead before Charlotte scored late to make in 20-6.
During the trophy presentation, Hillsborough Head Coach Earl Garcia thanked Coach Mike Canales who did an incredible job of organizing the event, and added, "We've now won the premier passing camp in the state of Florida."
In the small school division Carrollwood Day School won the title with a 13-12 come from behind victory over the Plant 2 team. Quarterback Billy Embody hit running back Darius Bing for the game-tying touchdown and Deuce Gruden, the son of football analyst and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer coach Jon Gruden, caught the game-winning extra-point conversion pass to win it for Carrollwood Day.
Overall the two day camp was a huge success, with plenty of talent, competition, and loads of fun for everyone involved.
Stay tuned for loads of observations, player evaluations, photos and video from the weekend.