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TAMPA – Jefferson fell just short of winning the NFL High School Player Development National 7-on-7 Tournament on its home field in an all-Florida final on Sunday.
Despite rallying from 10 down at the half, the Dragons lost to Belle Glade Glades Central 55-45 in the tournament’s “Super Bowl” game. Jefferson was driving for a tying score when an interception, which by 7-on-7 rules gives the opposing team three points, ended its hopes.
"It was one of those games where it seemed whoever had the ball last was going to win," Jefferson coach Mike Fenton said.
Each squad in the 22-team draw represented an NFL team – Jefferson wore red and represented the Bucs, while Glades Central represented the Dolphins. While the two Florida teams represented high school teams, most of the other teams were comprised of area all-stars from all over the country.
“I’m talking about some great talent,” Jefferson coach Mike Fenton said. “There were only four or five actual high school teams. It was great to have an all-Florida matchup.”
Over the past two days, the Dragons won eight of their 10 games, their only two losses coming to Glades Central, the event’s defending champ and a Class 2A state finalist last season.
“It was a great experience,” Jefferson quarterback Quentin Williams said. “Glades Central, they’re a good team. We got looks from really good teams from other states too. We just came up a bit short.”
In the Super Bowl matchup, Williams threw six touchdowns.
“Quentin was on fire the entire tournament,” Fenton said. “It was the usual cast of characters. He made some throws the whole weekend, that jaws were dropping.”
It capped a long week of 7-on-7 play for the Dragons. They went 9-0 earlier in the week in a regional qualifier.
“I saw on a daily basis how much better we were getting,” Fenton said. “It’s not real football, we know that, but it does help with your timing and your competition. The competition was fabulous. There wasn’t a bad team here.”
Jefferson athletic director Bob Morgan said the event, sponsored by the NFL and the U.S. National Guard, cost nearly a half-million dollars to put on.