Set to undergo hernia surgery in less than a week, Jefferson receiver Chris Moore fought through the discomfort Wednesday with pain medication, adrenalin and a hearty dose of jubilation.
"I'm too excited to be tired," the coveted college prospect said at midfield of Dr. Sam Horton Stadium, moments after the Dragons clinched a berth in this weekend's NFL 7-on-7 National Tournament.
On a searing day at Jefferson High, the Dragons won nine 20-minute contests in a one-day national qualifier that began at 9 a.m. and ended more than eight hours later. Tampa Catholic, Robinson, Alonso, Middleton, Steinbrenner and Carrollwood Day also competed.
After going 7-0 in round-robin play, Jefferson rolled past Tampa Catholic 49-14 in the single-elimination semifinals before a 38-28 triumph against a collection of Lee County all-stars in the title game. Lee County topped Robinson 37-10 in the other semifinal.
Moore had two of quarterback Quentin Williams' five touchdown passes in the final.
"It felt like our chemistry was high," Moore said. "Quentin, me, all of our receivers, it felt like we were on point."
Jefferson will host teams representing more than 20 NFL clubs from around the country in the national tournament, a two-day event starting Saturday morning. Jefferson, naturally, will represent the Bucs.
COWBOY CLOSING IN ON TITLE: Barring a meltdown in today's final round, Tampa's Jimmy Stanger appears poised to win Florida's most prestigious junior golf championship.
Stanger, who led Gaither to a fourth-place region finish as a freshman last fall, shot 4-under-par 68 at Orlando's Grand Cypress Golf Club to take a five-stroke lead in the 13-15 age division of the Florida State Golf Association's Boys Junior Championship.
Playing on the New course, a virtual replicate of St. Andrews in Scotland known for its merciless rough and bunkers in the center of the fairway, Stanger collected three birdies on the back nine to enter today's final round 7-under 137 after 36 holes.
"Lately (if) I'm within 100 yards, I put the ball within 10 feet and I'm making most of my putts," said Stanger, 15. "I've been struggling my entire life with my wedge game ... and I've been working on that a lot lately."
CONEY TO MONTANA, VIA MAUI: Bennie Coney can't wait to show what he learned this summer.
The Plant City junior quarterback just returned from the Steve Clarkson Dreammaker Maui Super Seven Camp last weekend in Hawaii, one of seven high school signal callers selected from across the nation to learn from some of the best to play the position.
When Coney competed in the region event in Orlando in April, he didn't think it would end with Hall of Fame quarterbackJoe Montana giving him some hands-on tutelage.
Coney, who emerged from about 500 participants across the nation, was one of only two juniors to attend the camp. But he proved to be one of the quickest learners.
"I went into the experience knowing I'd learn a lot, and I did," Coney said. "I met a lot of new people and was able to compete with the other six guys and show I belonged there with the rest of them."
Coney, who operates mostly from the shotgun in Plant City's spread offense, learned most about taking snaps under center. ESPN recruiting expert Tom Luginbill said Coney "may have made the biggest improvement from Day 1 to Day 3 in terms of footwork while dropping from center."
Coney said Montana, the winner of four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, helped him the most with playing under center.
JAGS AD STEPS DOWN: Academy of the Holy Names athletic director Pete Young announced he has resigned after six years at the private all-girls academy to take an administrative position at Carrollwood Day.
Young, a former Times sports reporter, said his new job isn't related to athletics. The move will keep him closer to his North Tampa home and allow him to spend more time with his family, which includes an 81/2-month-old daughter.
"I'm definitely excited about it," Young said. "I hope it works out well."
Young's departure leaves AHN, which won district titles in five sports in the 2009-10 school year, without an athletic director or assistant AD. Matt Dryden, who held the latter role the past five years, resigned to go to law school.