Some things from Saturday's Sling-N-Shoot II that jumped out at me:
1. Plant and East Lake are probably the most popular picks to win the Sling-N-Shoot II, but I'm going out on a limb and taking Gaither. The Cowboys were the one team I saw Saturday that looked better with each passing game. And their defense was terrific. They destroyed Jesuit, with interceptions by Matthew Williams (his third of the event) and Amani Oruwariye, in their most impressive performance of the day.
2. Wharton should be a play in Sunday's tournament. Chase Litton was humming, hitting Deon Sampson for a long TD in a win over Dwyer, and despite my best efforts it was hard to get any video of cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, because no one was throwing his way in the two Wildcat games i watched.
3. Steinbrenner was the day's biggest surprise, going 6-0 behind Curtis Fitch. The Warriors beat Gibbs, and made it look surprisingly easy. They also picked up wins over Westwood, Tampa Bay Tech, Cardinal Mooney, Blake and Hardee. Things get much tougher on Sunday. I think a match-up against rival Strawberry Crest would be nice. The Chargers went 4-2.
4. Sickles had some bad luck, having a final-play two-point conversion waved off in a loss to Plant (as coach Brian Turner explained it to me) and then having the final whistle blow before Nate Mills hooked up with Dre Mathis on what would have been a 45-yard winning touchdown pass in a loss to Wiregrass.
On the play (and watch the video when we get it up), you can hear a faint whistle before the snap, but a real strong one as well as the horn blow after Mills already has the ball in his hands. (P.S. Mills and Mathis both got offers from Alcorn State a few days ago, as well. Throw in WR Bilal Silat and the Gryphons could have a really nice air attack this season.
The Gryphons were the best looking team that you wouldn't expect to be at a 7-on-7 event. Easily.
5. Lakewood was missing quarterback Tracy Johnson (vacation), wide receiver Rodney Adams (recovering from his Team USA experience) and the Griffin twins (Shaqill and Shaquem are preparing for a camp in West Virginia) but still looked decent. Jacquel Ellison, who will play wire receiver this year, is a pretty good QB as well.
6. Jefferson started out 4-0, but dropped it's last two games to Plant II and East Lake. They could be a sleeper on the Sling-n-Shoot's final day. (Note to self: Check out more of the Dragons)
7. I didn't see Countryside, but coach Jared Davis said I didn't miss much.
8. Carrollwood Day was a scrappy bunch, winning every game but its last, against Armwood. The Hawks didn't seem to take trhe game very seriously, and CDS -- probably the thinnest team there -- was running on fumes. But with the addition of quarterback Vidal Woodruff, the excellent Robert Davis and Andy Embody continuing to prove he can probably play for anyone, and mark my words: the Patriots are going to be a big roadblock for Admiral Farragut next season in 2A-5.
9. Jesuit coach James Harrell was wearing those toe shoes for men. You know the ones I'm talking about? Yeah, those. I'm not saying he didn't pull the look off, but....okay, fine, he didn't pull the look off. But he may have comvinced me to try them.
10. I still think Armwood's Darryl Richardson throws the most effortless deep ball in Tampa Bay. The ball just springs out of his hands. It's purty.
NOTE: The Sling-N-Shoot continues Sunday. They will continue pool play in the morning, wrap that up around lunchtime, seed for the single-elimination we're-not-fooling-around-anymore tournament, and start that in the early afternoon.
You can follow @JohnnyHometeam and @JoeyHometeam on Twitter for updates all day long Sunday.