Sun. July 22, 2012 |
TAMPA – As one might expect from a single-elimination format, tempers flared periodically Sunday at USF's Sling-N-Shoot II. In the end, so did the skies.
The longtime 7-on-7 tournament, featuring 48 teams from around Florida (and at least one from Georgia) was called off due to lightning during the quarterfinals.
East Lake, Jefferson, Daytona Beach Mainland, Palm Beach Central, Armwood, Lakeland Kathleen, Steinbrenner and Plant remained alive when action was stopped just before 4 p.m. It's not expected to be made up at a later date.
O’Brien back at Sickles: After two years in the frigid upper Midwest, former Sickles coach Pat O'Brien is back in the humid confines of his old home.
O'Brien has returned to the school after helping start the program at Division III Presentation College in Aberdeen, S.D.. He'll teach at Sickles and serve as linebackers coach/special teams coordinator for Brian Turner, who replaced him in 2010.
"Things just didn't work out up there," said O'Brien, who coordinated the defense at Aberdeen, which won three games in 2011.
O'Brien, on the sidelines for the Sling-N-Shoot, compiled a 40-72 mark in three separate stints in Hillsborough County, including two at Sickles. His '09 squad, widely considered the best in Gryphons history, went 8-3 and reached the Class 4A playoffs.
The O'Briens' move, while fortifying Turner's staff, could be a boon for Gryphons girls basketball as well. Cassidy O'Brien, a rising senior who played for Sickles as a freshman, returns after two seasons at Midwest power Aberdeen Central High.
Campbell vexes Wildcats, again: Just when 6-foot-4 East Lake rising sophomore George Campbell seemed to be slipping from the Wharton Wildcats' collective consciousness, he barged back in Sunday.
Campbell caught a 35-yard touchdown pass on a slant route from Pete DiNovo in the final minute, then caught the PAT pass, to lift the Eagles to a 27-26 triumph against Wharton in the quarterfinals.
Campbell was a key contributor (seven points, five boards) in East Lake's 64-63 upset of Wharton in the Wildcats' gym in last winter's Class 8A region basketball quarterfinals.
Only 7-on-7 but...: While no coach worth his whistle would dare suggest 7-on-7 is a replicate of the real thing, its psychological effects – in the right setting – can be lasting.
At least that's what second-year Tampa Bay Tech coach Jayson Roberts hopes. Roberts, whose 2011 team's season ended with a 17-14 playoff loss to Gaither, got a midsummer's measure of revenge Sunday with a 16-13 win in the second round.
Gaither, 2011 Sling-N-Shoot runnerup, watched lanky Titans receiver Justin Cobb essentially break its back when he took a short Deon Cain pass over the middle and ran untouched up the middle for a 30-plus-yard TD. Rising senior Justin Akins added an early pick for TBT.
"I think we got over a huge mental block," said Roberts, whose team fell to Mainland in the Round of 16."That's the last image burned into our memories, losing to them in the playoffs. And to see these guys and get past them in a tough game, in an event that they're always tough in, is big for us."
Odds and ends: The most notable Sling-N-Shoot absentee – Bulls coach Skip Holtz, who was competing in a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. ... Carrollwood Day, among the tiniest schools in the field, finished 6-2 for the weekend, its lone loss coming in the quarterfinals against Plant. Patriots coach Lane McLaughlin said cornerback/receiver Elias Earle broke his collarbone during Saturday's action and is expected to miss at least one game. ... Though only a rising sophomore, Campbell said he already has offers from Vanderbilt, USF and UCF.
More from Sling-N-Shoot II:
Joey Knight can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org