Area teams came up big in the weekend Sling N Shoot 7-on-7 tournament at USF, with three teams — Armwood, East Lake and Alonso — making the semifinals. Armwood eventually prevailed, beating East Lake 20-13 in the championship Sunday. Here are the players who caught our eye Sunday:
Top 10 standouts
CB Isaiah Cameron, Alonso: Though scolded by his coaches for several near interceptions — what would have been a three-point advantage for the Ravens — Cameron broke up passes all over the fields. Cameron, a transfer from Freedom, had four big plays in Alonso’s second-round matchup with Palm Beach Central, including a breakup in the end zone to help secure a 13-6 Ravens’ victory.
QB Jake Hudson, East Lake: The quarterback’s consistent play throughout the day helped carry the Eagles to the championship game. Four touchdowns against St. Petersburg Catholic were followed up by two more against Dunedin. Hudson shined in East Lake’s semifinal win over Alonso. The rising senior threw for three scores, including the winner with less than two minutes to play. Hudson also threw for two scores in the final.
QB Noah Johnson, Armwood: Armwood was 12-0 on the weekend, and Johnson made it look easy. The Hawks were always quick to score, taking a stranglehold on games early, and Johnson always delivered a touchdown whenever things got tight. In the championship game, East Lake tied the score at 13 as time dwindled, but Johnson fired right back, throwing a quick winner to Dennis Harris.
WR Trevor Laurent, Armwood: After the kind of season Laurent had last year, we weren’t surprised that the 5-foot-7 wide receiver stood out Sunday. Johnson had many targets to choose from, but Laurent seemed to be his favorite during the championship run, as he snagged huge touchdowns in wins against University and East Lake.
WR Bryce Miller, East Lake: Miller shined while lining up in the slot Sunday. The rising sophomore reeled in eight touchdowns in elimination contests. His best game came against Alonso in the semifinals where he caught a 40-yard strike from Hudson that sealed a win. Miller’s big day carried over into the final, where he caught three passes and a touchdown.
QB Chris Oladokun, Alonso: The way Oladokun has performed in 7-on-7s this summer, we can’t wait to see this kid in pads. Just three weeks after leading the Ravens to the Battle of the Bay championship, Oladokun wowed again at USF, looking poised in the pocket and just piling points on opponents in the early rounds. Alonso finished 5-2 after pool play, but Oladokun’s ability to get the ball to his handful of weapons sent the Ravens on a final four run.
QB Keshaun Peters, Gulf: Peters couldn’t participate in spring practices because of academic ineligibility, but by the way he played Sunday, you’d never know he’d missed much playing time. He looked sharp on offense and even had a couple interceptions on defense as he led the Bucs to a 6-1 record after pool play; their lone loss was 8-7 to Plant. Peters and the Bucs fought till the end, taking a 13-7 lead against Alonso before falling to the Ravens in the third round.
WR Cordell Pimienta, Armwood: The rising junior had just 11 receiving yards in three Armwood games last season, but by the looks of things, he could make an impact in the Hawks’ upcoming season. Pimienta came up with some big receptions down the stretch Sunday, including a touchdown in a close 16-13 win against Oak Ridge in the semifinal.
WR Ethan Weilant, Land O’Lakes: After a slow start to Weilant’s day during pool play, the rising senior stepped up in the Gators’ first-round game against Cardinal Mooney. Despite the loss, Weilant caught four passes, including a 40-yard touchdown strike.
WR Mitchell Wilcox, Tarpon Springs: Tarpon Springs didn’t last very long in the playoffs Sunday, falling in the second round to Countryside. But Wilcox’s dominance in the Spongers’ lone victory earns him a spot on the list. The USF commit scored two touchdowns in Tarpon Springs’ 24-0 win against Countryside 2, including perhaps the most jaw-dropping, one-handed touchdown grab of the day.
WR Patrick Brooks, Plant: Coach Robert Weiner has always praised Brooks’ catch-and-run ability, and the rising senior put that on display Sunday with some big receptions followed by fancy footwork to deliver big gains to the Panthers.
QB Trent Chmelik, Countryside: The highlight of Chmelik’s day came in the Cougars’ second-round win over Tarpon Springs. The rising junior led Countryside to touchdowns on all four of its drives. He opened the game with a 40-yard touchdown strike on the first play and followed that up with three straight scores to Chris Ryan.
CB Aaron Covington, Armwood: A quick Covington starred on defense for the champion Hawks, keeping Armwood in close games. As the final minutes ticked away in a tied semifinal matchup against Oak Ridge, Covington came up with a huge interception to give Armwood the last-minute points it needed to slip by.
RB Christopher Garza-McLean, Seminole: The 5-foot-5 running back from Seminole caught five passes out of the backfield in the Warhawks’ first-round loss to Estero. Small and quick, Garza-McLean will provide the Seminole offense with an added weapon this fall.
QB James Pensyl, Land O’Lakes: Pensyl played well in the team’s final pool play game against Seminole, completing eight passes, two for touchdowns. A tipped pass led to interceptions in the Gators’ first-round loss to Cardinal Mooney. Pensyl, however, responded with touchdown to Ethan Weilant that kept Land O’Lakes in the game.
S Justin Strnad, East Lake: The Wake Forest commit picked off only one pass during elimination play, but he still had a big day. Strnad defended several passes and led a defense that allowed only eight touchdowns all day.
WR Derrick Walker, Alonso: Walker made some incredible grabs throughout the day, breaking out with a go-ahead, 50-yard touchdown reception in the Ravens’ second-round win against Palm Beach Central. Walker struck again in Alonso’s quarterfinal victory against Mainland, scoring yet another 50-yard touchdown to seal a 15-12 win.
Photo: Armwood's Noah Johnson