The first USF Sling & Shoot with Coach Skip Holtz is officially in the books.
Once again hundreds of players, with families and coaches invaded the Bull's campus for the annual USF Sling & Shoot and Big Man challenge. Once again they played through the heat while participating in what has become an annual fixture in Tampa.
This year's sling & shoot and Big Man challenge was a bit different as the camp has been broken into two installments this summer, with one camp in June and the other slated for the end of July.
The field consisted of 18 mostly local teams, but some that came from all over the state to compete in the 7-on-7 passing tournament, while several hundred kids participated in the Big Man challenge where they got to learn some great tips from line coaches Kevin Patrick, Steve Shankweiler, and Larry Scott.
All teams played the cross pool seeding on Saturday with Armwood, Winter Park, and Jesuit going 4-0. Robinson, Gaither, Charlotte, George Jenkins, Pasco all went 3-1 and Dr. Phillips went 2-2 as the top performers during the first day.
The basic rules were as follows:
- The tourney is played on a field of fifty yards with a legal size end-zone.
- Playing field consist of three first down zones, two 20-yards & one 10-yard
- Each game is 40 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 at 9:45am on Sunday morning with Armwood, Winter Park, Jesuit, Robinson, Gaither, Charlotte, George Jenkins, Pasco, Dr. Phillips, Charlotte, Pasco, and Bradenton Prep, drawling the top seeds and a first round bye. The competition was fierce from the onset 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 heat and whittled down to eight teams with Armwood, Winter Park, Jesuit, and Bradenton Prep undefeated and Robinson, Dr. Phillips, Pasco, and Gulliver prep each with one loss fighting out of the loser bracket in the double elimination tourney.
Robinson led by strong performances by Ruben Gonzales and Frankie Williams had a great showing all weekend going 6-1 before bowing out to Dr. Phillips. Armwood was 6-0 before losing to Bradenton Prep by 1 point, than beat Pasco to stay alive. Jesuit was an undefeated 6-0 before losing Winter Park, and then lost to Dr. Phillips to get to the final four that consisted of Armwood vs. Dr. Phillips, and Winter Park vs. Bradenton Prep.
To get to the championship game Winter Park who were led by rising senior QB Sam Richardson, and rising junior WR/S Devario Montgomery defeated Bradenton Prep to remain undefeated at 8-0, and then got to wait in the shade as the reaming three teams battled it out in the losers bracket.
In the other Semi match-up Armwood faced off against Dr. Phillips in a game loaded with talented players such as QB Josh Grady, RB Matt Jones (2012), and WR A.J. King for Armwood, and S Hasean Clinton Dix, LB/S LaQuentin Smith, RB Dee Hart, WR Chris Gallon, and FS Roderick Ryles. 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 with Dee Hart of Dr. Phillips catching the go ahead TD, with Armwood answering with a score, only to see the conversion attempt fail.
Dr. Phillips then dispatched Bradenton Prep to reach the championship game where they would have to beat Winter Park twice to win it all.
After a long day of football under the hot sun the Panthers ran out of gas against a well rested Winter Park team led by QB Sam Richardson, and rising junior WR/S Devario Montgomery who was outstanding as Winter Park won 28-14 to stay undefeated and take home the tournament crown.
During the trophy presentation, USF Coach Skip Holtz thanked all for participating and gave some encouraging words to all the athletes. As a nice touch the USF staff provided pizza for both teams and offered all of the players a chance to shower before making the drive back to Orlando.
Stay tuned for plyer observations and the top performers from the event.