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Freedom stays hot, wins 7on7U event

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Sun. June 23, 2013 | John C. Cotey | Email

If 7-on-7 football translates at all to the real stuff, Freedom coach Todd Donohoe is going to like this upcoming football season.

The Patriots, who were one of the top teams in the county spring league, kept their non-padded roll going by capturing first place at the 7on7U tournament at the Otis Andrews Complex in Plant City on Saturday.

Donohoe said the Patriots won $500 and free entry into the 7on7U National Championships in Washington D.C. in July. He said he was unsure the Patriots would make the trip. 

Freedom went 7-1 in the event, beating Blake in the final. The lone Patriot loss came to Newsome in a 14-12 game.

"For us, it was all about team building,'' Donohoe said. "Everyone did a really good job."

Freedom quarterback D.J. Grant had a big day throwing to standouts Andre Folkes and Johnny Rodicio, while linebackers Josh Collazo, Bryce Crawford and cornerback Aaron Cox spearheaded the defense.

Grant, entering his first season as the full-time starter, is adapting to his receivers and a more wide-open offense implemented by offensve coordinator Donnie Mesick. 

"Getting on the same page and working on the chemistry is a big thing for us in these 7-on-7 events,'' Donohoe said.

The Patriots tuned up for the tournament at Skyway Park on Wednesday in the Hillsborough County summer league, beating Alonso, Tampa Catholic, Hillsborough and Leto.

Blake was a big surprise, going undefeated in pool play and entering bracket play as the No. 1 seed. Blake beat third-place King by one point in pool play.

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