July 15, 2013

Southeastern 7-on-7: Not twice you don’t

Jags bounce back to win consolation bracket title

By Devin Golden

— Cedar Shoals High School lost to Villa Rica earlier Sunday.

The Jaguars got revenge on the football field when it mattered.

Cedar Shoals topped Villa Rica 13-6 to win the Southeastern 7-on-7 Championship consolation bracket title at the Mack Gaston Community Center in Dalton. This was the third year for The Daily Citizen’s two-day tournament, sponsored by AstroTurf, and the second straight year with a consolation bracket to provide all competing teams two days of seven-on-seven action.

The two Georgia schools faced one another in the final of the winners’ bracket half of the consolation bracket, and the Wildcats earned a victory in that meeting.

However, the Jaguars’ defense stepped up in the rematch after Cedar Shoals beat Southeast Whitfield’s B team 30-19 to advance to the championship. Bracket play used the double-elimination format up to the overall final, which was one winner-take-all game.

“I’m real proud of our defense,” said Cedar Shoals coach Chris Davis, whose team made the trip to Dalton from Athens. “It is a quarterback’s game, but our defense played outstanding.”

Darius Jordan, who will be a senior this school year, threw a touchdown pass to complete Cedar Shoals’ first possession and give the Jaguars a 7-0 lead. Villa Rica responded when Kevin Martin, who will also be a senior, threw a touchdown pass, but the extra-point conversion was unsuccessful. Jordan answered with another touchdown pass, and Cedar Shoals held a 13-6 lead after an unsuccessful extra-point attempt.

Villa Rica moved the ball inside the 10-yard line, but couldn’t get into the end zone. The Wildcats’ defense held at the goal line, allowing one last possession, but the Jaguars didn’t give.

The first two plays ended in “sacks” — in seven-on-seven play, during which there is no contact, the quarterback has four seconds to throw the ball or the play is over — and third and fourth downs were incompletions.

“I’m proud of the guys’ effort,” Davis said. “We played better today than we did Saturday.”

Cedar Shoals only won two of its six games in Saturday’s pool play, which determined who went to the championship bracket and who moved on to the consolation bracket. The top four teams in each of the six pools advanced to the 24-team championship bracket, while the rest were in the consolation group.

“We won two games we should’ve won and lost two games we should’ve lost,” Davis said. “Then there were two games we lost that we probably should’ve won. So there were some positives but also some reminders to get better. This is a weekend-long practice. We saw what could happen when we practice poorly, like on Saturday. But I’m proud of the guys for responding today.”

Villa Rica had even less success on Saturday, winning just once, but won four straight games in bracket play. The Wildcats beat Dalton’s B team, West (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Southeast’s B team before playing Cedar Shoals the first time.

“We came out of Saturday with four of our five losses being close losses,” said Wildcats coach Chad Frazier, who’s preparing for his first season at Villa Rica. “I felt like we were competitive, and to come into today and reel off four straight wins was key for our guys. We need smaller successes to build up to a larger success.

“We just came up a little short.”

Both of Southeast’s teams competed in the consolation bracket, and both were among the final five teams remaining. The two squads faced one another in the losers’ bracket quarterfinals and opted to use overtime rules instead of a full 22-minute game to save energy. The Southeast B team scored, while the Raiders’ A squad didn’t in a 6-0 win. The Southeast B team then defeated Victory Christian (Charlotte, N.C.) 9-8 in the loser’s bracket semifinals before losing to Cedar Shoals to finish third in the consolation bracket.

Coahulla Creek, Dalton’s B team, North Murray’s B team and Northwest Whitfield’s B team were also in the consolation bracket. The Colts were among the final six squads before losing to West. Dalton’s B team was eliminated 24-6 by Southeast’s A squad in the second round of the loser’s bracket, while Northwest’s B team was eliminated by West in the same round. North Murray’s B team was ousted 30-20 by Cherokee (N.C.) in the first round of the losers’ bracket.