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LARGO — Marcus Paschal wore many hats Friday night. One minute he was jotting down scores and directing teams where to play. Then he started instructing Largo defensive players on how to cover certain routes.
It was the start of a busy two days for the former Packer standout, who was putting on his third annual Marcus Paschal Youth Weekend. The event kicked off with a 7-on-7 tournament featuring eight county football teams.
It continues today with a community cleanup in the Ridgecrest YMCA area, followed by a youth camp at Largo that will include former Seminole standout Lyndon Rowells (Carolina Panthers) and former Packer star Dexter McCluster (Kansas City Chiefs) as instructors.
“I wanted to find something where I can give back,” Paschal said. “That was the big motivation behind doing this. I get a lot of support in the community and a lot of help. We’re trying to make it bigger and better every year.”
Paschal played at Iowa and has spent five seasons in the NFL, mostly with the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens. He still wants to play and is mulling some offers but is content staying in the area and coaching.
“I’ve always wanted to coach when I’m done playing,” Paschal said. “I want to find something right in this area. I know a lot of these kids, and I know I can give so much back to them.
“So many have all the potential in the world, but they fall through the cracks because of some off-field things that come up. I want to show that I’m from the same area and that you can make it.”
Packers prevail: Largo won the 7-on-7 tournament, beating defending champion East Lake in overtime in the championship game.
Packers quarterback Juwan Brown, who started picking up offers in late spring, continued his stellar offseason by showing some flair for the dramatic. He threw a touchdown pass and a two-point conversion to Reggie Moore in overtime that won the game. Brown also came through in the semifinals, launching a 30-yard pass to Moore in the final seconds to beat Dixie Hollins.
“Juwan came out here with something to prove,” Largo coach Rick Rodriguez said. “He is a clutch player and that’s what clutch players do.”
But it was the Packers defense that saved the game — twice. Derrick Doss intercepted a pass in regulation that tied the game. And Frankie Hernandez broke up a two-point conversion in overtime.
East Lake quarterback Pete DiNovo was sharp and threw a touchdown pass to Artavis Scott, who leaped over two defenders in one of the tournament’s highlight plays.
Stingy defense: East Lake’s offense grabs the headlines because of its Division I playmakers at the skill positions. But the Eagles’ secondary was noteworthy in wins against Osceola and Seminole. East Lake recorded a combined four interceptions in both games, including two by Devin Abraham.
QB competition: The quarterback competition at Dixie Hollins is so tight new coach Shannon Brooks alternated Drew Boylson and Tyree Adams each series.
“It’s going to be like this all summer,” Brooks said. “It’s a tough one to decide.”
Both helped the Rebels cruise to a victory over Pinellas Park in the first and nearly pull off the upset against Largo in the semifinals.
Passing veterans: East Lake is experienced in 7-on-7 tournaments. Nearly every player participated last year when the Eagles won the Marcus Paschal tournament and reached the semifinals of the Sling-N-Shoot at USF. Two weeks ago, DiNovo led Team Tampa, a group of area all-stars, to the championship of the IMG Madden 7-on-7 Nationals and was named MVP.
East Lake will participate in another 7-on-7 tournament in Brandon today and the Sling-N-Shoot next week. Largo’s only appearance in a 7-on-7 tournament was Friday.
Recruiting update: Northeast coach Mike Jalazo said tight end/linebacker Auggie Sanchez has offers from Massachusetts and Ohio. Sanchez also was invited to Florida’s Friday Night Lights.
Vikings Ryan Davis and Keith Harrington also received notable offers in the past month. Davis, a quarterback and the younger brother of former SPC and FSU standout Chris, has offers from Arizona and FSU. Harrington, a running back, has an offer from Arizona.
The Vikings finished 2-1 in the tournament.