Northwest High School Bruins

July 16, 2013

Southeastern 7-on-7 Championship a boost to local teams

For the local high school football teams that competed in the Southeastern 7-on-7 Championship this past weekend in Whitfield County, the third installment of The Daily Citizen’s annual tournament was an unqualified success.

Despite a larger pool of competition at this year’s tournament — there were 40 teams, up from 32 a year ago and 20 in the inaugural event — four of the six schools from Murray or Whitfield counties that participated advanced from Saturday’s pool play to Sunday’s championship bracket. The top four finishers in each of the six seven-team pools advanced to the championship bracket, while the other three moved on to the consolation bracket.

This was the first year a local school had advanced to championship bracket play. Dalton finished as the consolation bracket champion in 2012 — only pool winners advanced to bracket play in 2011 — but this year the Catamounts, Christian Heritage, North Murray and Northwest Whitfield all played against the best competition the tournament had to offer during the second day.

And the number of local teams in the championship bracket might have been higher if Southeast Whitfield didn’t take a different approach to the tournament, electing to split its talent pool equally among its A and B squads.

Still, all of the local coaches were pleased with their team’s performances against top competition from a field that included schools from 10 states.

“We faced a very high level of competition against teams like Bowling Green (Ky.) and Cartersville and Fletcher (Neptune Beach, Fla.),” Northwest coach Josh Robinson said. “We got a real good gauge of where we are at, and we are pleased with the way we competed with these teams. I am real pleased with where we are at.”

Northwest had the highest seed among local teams after pool play, entering the championship bracket as the No. 8 seed. The Bruins beat Jackson (Mo.) 37-21 and edged No. 1 seed Bowling Green 26-25 before falling to Cartersville 39-30 in the winners’ bracket semifinal. Northwest’s defensive backs were beaten on fade routes against Fletcher and the Bruins lost.

“Three times we got beat on the deep ball,” Robinson said. “But you live and you learn. That is what this is for. Now when we go over prevent coverages and the mistakes you can make, our players will be paying attention when we tell them to remember what happened in these losses.”

Bruins junior Caleb Shiflett will be starting at quarterback for the first time this season, but he looked more than ready to guide offensive coordinator David Crane’s system. This wasn’t the first seven-on-seven competition of the summer for Northwest, but Shiflett is still new to his role and so that only added to Robinson’s enthusiasm for the quarterback’s performance.

“Caleb Shiflett threw with a lot of confidence, and Tevin McDaniel and Andy Whisenant are proving to be go-to receivers,” Robinson said. “... We had a lot of success offensively this weekend because our receivers ran some really good routes. You can’t complain about where we are offensively, seeing as how this is probably the sixth day of competition like this for Caleb. It is nice to see him have a little rhythm between those skill players.”

Dalton went 3-2 on Sunday as the No. 15 seed, beating Lake Cormorant (Miss.) and second-seeded Jeffersonville (Ind.) before losing to eventual tournament champion Colquitt County. In the losers’ bracket, the Cats beat Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.) before their run ended — like Northwest, at the hands of the Fletcher Senators.

“We came into this with realistic expectations,” Dalton coach Matt Land said. “We wanted to see improvement game by game, and I think we saw that. The most valuable experience came from seeing who could step up and play to the level of this competition and help us. We found some of those guys and I am perfectly comfortable with those guys going forward.”

North Murray was the No. 16 seed, and the Mountaineers lost to Scotlandville and Jeffersonville. Christian Heritage had a two-and-done Sunday, falling to Fletcher and Atlanta’s Pace Academy.

Of the 14 teams competing in the consolation bracket, Southeast fielded two of them, with both reaching the final five. One reason it wasn’t the final four, three or even two is because the two Raiders teams faced each other in the loser-gets-fifth matchup.

Instead of having one team as a true A squad and the other as the lower-level B team, coach Sean Gray said he divided the teams fairly evenly. That was evident when the Southeast B team beat the A team. Instead of playing a full 22-minute game, they used overtime rules in which each side had one possession. Southeast B scored, while Southeast A didn’t.

Then the Southeast B team faced Victory Christian (Charlotte, N.C.) in the loser-gets-fourth matchup and won 9-8. The Raiders’ Damien Manning, a senior, intercepted a pass on the first Victory Christian possession, a play worth three points for the defense in seven-on-seven competition. A goal-line stand by Southeast’s defense preceded a Will Swantic-to-Chaz Payne touchdown pass for a 9-0 advantage, and Victory Christian scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion but never saw the ball again.

“It’s a huge encouragement,” Gray said.

In the next game, versus eventual consolation bracket champion Cedar Shoals, Southeast lost 30-19. Swantic, a sophomore, threw two touchdown passes to senior Abram Stanley and one to junior Corey Barnes.

However, the Raiders never led. Trailing 14-13, Southeast allowed Cedar Shoals to convert a fourth down and eventually score. Trailing 20-19, the same happened, except the conversion was a 35-yard touchdown pass.

“My biggest concern from that game was giving up the deep ball,” Gray said. “We gave up three deep balls. It’s tough to judge that type of speed without seeing it on a regular basis.”

Still, after the Southeast B team went 2-4 in Saturday’s pool play and Southeast’s A team went 1-4-1, winning a combined seven games on Sunday was a pleasant sight for Gray.

Southeast finished 2-8 last fall, Gray’s first season leading the program, but the Raiders showed signs of improvement down the stretch. They nearly upset Dalton in the second-to-last game of the season and in the season finale lost 19-17 to Cedartown, a team they fell to 47-27 earlier in the year.

“We had a great day (Sunday) and we will continue to improve going into this season,” Gray said. “We just need to keep on improving.”

Coahulla Creek played four games in the consolation bracket as well on Sunday. The Colts won a pair of games and lost a pair of games, beating Brainerd (from Chattanooga) 7-6 in the opening game of the morning. The Colts followed with a loss to the Southeast B team before a 25-13 win over Cherokee (N.C.). West (Knoxville, Tenn.) ended the tournament for the Colts.

1
Text Only
Northwest High School Bruins
  • NW at DHS baseball (g3) 1 mlh.jpg Whatever it takes

    Northwest Whitfield High School’s baseball team has been successful this season. But at the same time, no one said success would be easy.
    Several times this year, the Bruins have fallen behind early in the first few innings before answering with a rally to ensure the wins keep coming. On Friday, that formula delivered a Sub-region 7B-4A championship for the second year in a row.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • DHS at SE soccer 7 mlh.jpg Prep Roundup: Unbeaten streak rolls on for Cats

    Replicating the start of last year’s Class 4A state title match, Dalton High School’s boys soccer team needed just four minutes to score its first goal at Southeast Whitfield on Friday.
    The Catamounts scored five more — and again defended their crown of dominance in the sport.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup: Bruins power past Cats for key victory at home

    TUNNEL HILL — Similar to Wednesday’s Sub-region 7B-4A baseball series opener at Dalton High School, Northwest Whitfield fell behind early Thursday versus the Catamounts.

    April 11, 2014

  • NW at SE baseball 7   mlh.jpg Prep Baseball: Looking for a leader

    Dalton High School baseball coach Shane Ramsey only needed one word to sum up what he expects from this week’s three-game series with Sub-region 7B-4A foe and intracounty rival Northwest Whitfield.
    “Intensity,” he said. “If you can’t get up for this series, then why are you playing?”

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup: Dalton golf teams in form at Fields Ferry

    Even in wet and muddy conditions, both the Dalton High School boys and girls golf teams are sharpening their games at the right time.
    With the Region 7-4A tournament scheduled in two weeks, both the Catamounts and the Lady Cats finished second during play at the Fields Ferry Invitational in Calhoun on Monday. Despite the soggy conditions, Dalton’s Jacob Brown tied for medalist honors with a 2-over par 74 to lead the Cats to a 313 combined score in the six-play, four-score format. Dalton finished three strokes behind tournament winner LaFayette.

    April 8, 2014

  • Wrestler of the year 2014 2 mlh.jpg All-Area Wrestling Team and Wrestler of the Year: Winning another title was the only goal for Wheeler

    When Dalton High School wrestler Sidney Wheeler won a state title for the first time two years ago as a sophomore, he admitted he became a little complacent about what it would take to replicate the feat — perhaps not noticeably so to most observers, but enough to take success for granted. Wheeler believed it a matter of course that he would win state again, and he thought the second title would simply be the middle child in a high school three-peat.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup: SE offense hot again, rolls 16-0

    Southeast Whitfield’s baseball team is back to scoring a lot of runs and winning consecutive games.

    March 27, 2014

  • Prep soccer: Morris boys earn Class 2A ranking

    It’s nothing new for a local high school boys soccer team to be among those in the eurosportscoreboard.com state rankings.
    It is new for that team to be Morris Innovative.

    March 18, 2014

  • Prep roundup: SE offense keeps foot on throttle

    As long as Southeast Whitfield High School’s baseball team continues to hit the ball and score runs the way it has so far this season, it really won’t matter what the defense does.
    Coach Brad Lofton still likes how the Raiders’ fielding is improving.

    March 11, 2014

  • NM at DHS baseball   1  mlh.jpg Prep Roundup: A little bit of momentum

    Neither Dalton High School baseball coach Shane Ramsey nor North Murray coach David Redmond has had much reason to complain about their offensive production this season.
    Defense is another matter.

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo