Sunday, June 24, 2018
Sports

Alonso wins Battle of the Bay 7-on-7 tourney

TAMPA — Three weeks ago, Alonso beat Armwood at UCF's 7-on-7 tournament on a Hail Mary pass.

Saturday, the teams met again in the final of the Battle of the Bay tournament.

Once more, the Ravens prevailed, knocking off the defending champion Hawks 28-15.

"Sure, it's 7-on-7 but this is still competition," Alonso coach Brian Emanuel said. "We wanted to face (Armwood) again. They're a tremendous program and we aspire to become what they are."

Ravens quarterback Chris Oladokun, the Battle of the Bay MVP, was efficient, throwing just one interception in seven games. In the championship game, Oladokun threw three touchdown passes.

This is the second straight week Oladokun has guided a 7-on-7 team to a final. He quarterbacked Unsigned Preps in the IMG 7v7 tournament, throwing just four interceptions in 12 games last weekend.

"I played pretty well last week, too," Oladokun said. "But this is the best we've probably played as an Alonso team at a 7-on-7 tournament. It was big to not only play Armwood again in the final, but to beat them. We wanted to prove that the last time wasn't a fluke."

The first time the Ravens beat Armwood, Oladokun completed his Hail Mary pass to Terryl Scott. Saturday, Scott played well despite hyperextending his knee in the second game, which forced him to miss the final.

"Terryl kept playing but the pain was a little too much by the time the final came around," Emanuel said. "He probably was one of our MVPs up to that point."

But the two biggest plays for the Ravens in the tournament came on defense. In the semifinals against Zephyrhills, Roosevelt Lawrence recorded an interception in the end zone to seal a win. And Chase Owens picked off Armwood's Noah Johnson in the final, which was the turning point.

Coming up short: Though his Hawks didn't defend their title, Armwood coach Sean Callahan used the opportunity to develop his team.

"We're not worried about winning this sort of thing," Callahan said. "Did we get better as a team? We sure did and that's the important thing for us.

"This game here was dominated by a quarterback," Callahan said of Oladokun. "They clearly had the best quarterback here and the kid did a good job and that really made the difference for them."

Callahan has laid out an impressive workload for his players over the summer. This was their fourth 7-on-7 this summer.

Also of note for Armwood was their B team. The squad, made up primarily of junior varsity players and underclassmen, put together an impressive effort Saturday.

After a 2-2 record in pool play, the Hawks defeated Gaither and Chamberlain before being eliminated by the Hawks' A team in the semifinals.

"This year we had a lot of kids and a lot of young ones too," Callahan said. "The right thing for me to do was to continue to evaluate everyone, so that's why we fielded two teams."

Johnson was named the tournament's top offensive player after leading the team to an average of more than 20 points a game.

Trading places: Former Berkeley Prep quarterback Cade Weldon, who appeared destined to play wide receiver in the fall while backing up Brad Mayes at QB, made his 7-on-7 debut with his new team. In his first team competition since transferring to Jefferson, the quarterback led the Dragons to the quarterfinals.

For Weldon, this summer has been all about getting comfortable at a new position and in a different environment. Weldon made the decision to transfer looking to get three full years of play at Jefferson.

"Just having three years starting at another school with the athletes I have here really played into the decision," Weldon said.

The decision to transfer was only made at the beginning of the summer and Weldon's time since has been about getting to know his new team and playbook.

"We've had about three weeks of lifting and coming out to get ready for 7-on-7," Weldon said.

Weldon will take over the reigns of a program on the rise. After a 6-4 season in 2012, the Dragons went 10-2 last year.

Making a statement: Despite reeling in only six receptions for 55 yards last year, DJ Daniel will look to be a much bigger weapon for Chamberlain.

The rising senior will play on both sides of the ball, at receiver and free safety, as the Chiefs look to improve on a 4-6 record.

"Last year we had three pretty close games that we didn't finish in the end," Daniel said. "That's our biggest thing we're working on this summer, finishing games."

Surprise showing: Zephyrhills, 0-4 in pool play, reached the semifinals with wins over Wharton and Largo. The Bulldogs were without quarterback Ty Tanner, who was on vacation. Tyler Kirby, normally a receiver, filled in at quarterback and played well in the preliminaries and quarterfinals. Jaylen Pickett, who came up with several big stops, was named the tournament defensive MVP.

Notable no shows: Largo was without quarterback Donavan Hale, who is playing in basketball showcases and tournaments this summer. Isaiah Thomas, who filled in when Hale was hurt last season, quarterbacked the Packers to the quarterfinals. Wharton receiver Auden Tate was on an unofficial recruiting trip along with Armwood's Byron Cowart, East Lake's George Campbell, Lakewood's Ryan Davis and Sickles' Ray Ray McCloud.

ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM

(Selected by Times staffers John C. Cotey, Bob Putnam and Jacob Lynn with input from coaches)

QB: Chris Oladokun, Alonso

QB: Noah Johnson, Armwood

WR: Deon Cain, Tampa Bay Tech

WR: Kelvin Clemons, Alonso

WR: Vonte Williams, Wharton

WR: D.J. Daniels, Chamberlain

DB: Roosevelt Lawrence, Alonso

DB: Jaylen Pickett, Zephyrhills

DB: Taj Taylor, Largo

DB: Aaron Covington, Armwood

Honorable mention: Jonathan Crawford, Largo; Tavon Jones, Northeast; Chris Ryan, Countryside; Jackie Tucker, Zephyrhills.

Times staff writers John C. Cotey and Jacob Lynn contributed to this report.

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