Elite Teams In Nike 7-on-7

Long Beach Poly faced a familiar foe in the finals of the Nike 7-on-7 Passing Championships Friday, knocking off long-time nemesis Mater Dei to win the championship in the tournament held on their home field, Veterans Stadium. A number of UCLA prospects participated...

You can call them sleepers, no names, or unknowns but on Friday they were called champions.

Long Beach Poly proved to everyone that you don't need a bunch of stars to win as they upset Southern California's best to win the 5th Annual NIKE 7 on 7 Passing Championship at Long Beach's Veterans Stadium.

The Jackrabbits topped longtime foe Mater Dei 26-22 on a game-ending touchdown to take home the title, yet both teams had to work just to make it to the Championship game.


Matt Barkley
All three of Mater Dei's games were filled with drama and excitement. In the first game, they were able to beat Hart in overtime, 16-14. Mater Dei quarterback Matt Barkley completed a two-point conversation on a fade route to stun Hart.

Their second game was the most intense contest of the afternoon. They faced Orange County rivals Mission Viejo with the winner going to the finals. To say that this game had a playoff atmosphere would be an understatement. You had fans cheering, players trash talking and even coaches from opposite squads skirmishing. Mater Dei cruised to a 37-14 victory over Mission Viejo. After the contest, Bob Johnson ordered his Diablos not shake hands with the squad from Mater Dei! Is it fall yet?

Poly's road to the championship started off with controversy. In their first game, they beat Kevin Prince's Crespi team 36-34. When the game ended, Crespi was under the impression that the game was tied 34-34. With some help from a committee of officials, the score was actually 36-34. This created an uproar from the group from Crespi.

After shutting out Birmingham 26-0, Edison brought their explosive offense against Poly in a semi-final match-up. Edison quickly realized that they could not keep up with the Jackrabbits. Poly's go-to guy Kevin Norrell lead his Jackrabbits to a 28-14 victory over Edison.

In the championship game, everyone expected a tough match-up. The contest was even after the first half but in the second half a key interception by Kevin Norrell was the difference. Mater Dei was seeking to put the game out of reach but Norrell was able to make a leaping interception. Poly scored the winning touchdown with no time left to secure a 26-22 victory.


Kevin Norrell
Kevin Norrell, Patrick Walker, and Randall Cox led the Jackrabbits. These three wide receivers were virtually unstoppable. The self proclaimed "Troublesome Three," were a nuisance to defensive backs all afternoon. Norrell made some clutch catches and had the best day of the wideouts. On the other side of the ball, safety Vaughn Telemaque had a very impressive day. He was all over the field, making plays and breaking up passes the whole afternoon. Come October, these Jackrabbits will be household names.

Mater Dei's Matt Barkley showed why the offers just keep pouring in. He had a solid performance leading his team seconds away from winning the tournament.

Edison's Nick Crissman was one of the best quarterbacks on Friday afternoon. He displayed is superb arm but was plagued by drops costing the Chargers a spot in the finals.

UCLA commit E. J. Woods looked very explosive on offensive. He is slowing becoming a favorite target of Prince. Defensively, he was hampered by a foot injury causing him to mostly play offense in the late afternoon.


Kevin Prince
Kevin Prince was also impressive. Prince is having great summer. Shaking of the rust from an injury, his performance this summer is why many are thinking that Crespi will be a team that you might not want to face. 

We'll have a look at all the UCLA prospects that participated coming next...


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