Jefferson wins Sling 'n Shoot

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Sun. July 25, 2010 | Joey Knight | Email

This was one championship in which Jefferson coach Mike Fenton probably would've welcomed a chilling Gatorade bath.

But after two searing days of seven-on-seven supremacy at USF, Fenton had to settle for some free pizza, not to mention a ton of momentum heading into preseason drills.

With rangy Division I wideout prospect Chris Moore (hernia surgery) sidelined, the Dragons still outlasted more than 30 other prominent local teams to win the 'A' Division of the USF Sling 'n Shoot at the Bulls' campus.

"A lot of games," Fenton said when asked what his team got out of the weekend, which may be more aptly titled Heave and Hydrate. "It's just good competition. We're learning how to win."

Jefferson's division featured a plethora of area heavyweights including Plant, Land O'Lakes, Countryside, Tarpon Springs, Venice, Plant City and Kathleen.

Trailing by nine in the final, Jefferson rallied for a 28-18 win against Class 1A power Fort Meade. Quarterback Quentin Williams followed his second interception of the game with a 40-yard touchdown strike to Andre Davis down the right sideline to spark the comeback.

The Dragons' semifinal showdown with Plant -- a 17-13 Jefferson triumph -- went from highly anticipated to highly anticlimactic in a hurry when the Panthers lined up without quarterback Phillip Ely and tailback James Wilder Jr.

Wilder was on an unofficial visit to FSU. Ely was on hand, but sat out after spending the week at the ESPN Elite 11 Quarterback Camp in California, then participating at the University of Florida's "Friday Night Lights" camp.

But enough about those conspicuous by their absence. Here's what we did see (we'll call these Sling-shots):

* Land O'Lakes reached the semifinals -- where it fell to Fort Meade -- despite playing the whole tournament without quarterback Stevie Weatherford (broken hand).

* Left-hander Ryan Hatter made a solid case -- or as solid a case as one can make in glorified games of touch -- for Wharton's starting QB job. Hatter, who shared snaps with Tanner Stocker in 2009, was behind center all weekend and led the Wildcats to the semifinals. Look for Stocker, the more athletic of the two, to line up at safety.

* Chamberlain, despite no real size or experience at quarterback, reached the quarterfinals before falling to Jefferson. The Dragons topped Hollywood Hills and one of Tarpon Springs' two squads to reach the quarters.

* Plant appears to still have major issues in pass coverage, not the least of which is communication with one another. And while we're on Plant, senior Nick Sanders, who filled in for Ely, could start for several county teams.

* While we didn't get a chance to observe much in the small-school division, held on intramural fields about a quarter-mile away, we saw enough to believe Jesuit QB Patton Chillura has the size and arm to run the Tigers' offense. Oh, and that Harrell kid will be a nice addition to the middle of the Jesuit defense.

* Strawberry Crest, winner of one game in this tournament last season, won more than a half-dozen this time around, including a 20-14 triumph against Jesuit. The Chargers are high on rising freshman QB Ty Vandergrift.

* Blake, which suited up roughly two-dozen players in the spring jamboree, reached the finals in the small-school division, upsetting Spoto in a controversial semifinal matchup. The Yellow Jackets forced Spoto to go three-and-out on the game's first two series.

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