Spruce Creek wins FHS 7-on-7 state championship; SAHS finishes third

Few things can elicit effort from a teenager more than a chance to snag a free T-shirt.

 

Saturday’s FHS 7-on-7 state championships featured an opportunity to not only earn a T-shirt, but compete in the middle of the summer. The seven-team tournament was held at St. Augustine High School and was decided in the waning seconds.

Port Orange Spruce Creek held on to beat South Broward 21-19 to win. South Broward wide receiver Wayne Parrish caught a two-point conversion attempt with 13 seconds remaining, but the ball did not cross the plane of the goal.

“We started off kind of slow and persevered,” noted Spruce Creek assistant coach Marc Campbell. “It was a complete team effort. Everyone came up big.”

Spruce Creek finished 7-4 last year and won District 1-8A, a district that included Mandarin and Sandalwood. Mandarin, the 2016 FHS 7-on-7 champion, did not compete in the tournament this year. Sandalwood was one of the participants at Saturday’s state championships, but the Saints were eliminated by Melbourne Central Catholic in the quarterfinals.

Of the seven schools at St. Augustine High School, six were playoff teams in 2016.

No. 1 seed South Broward — the only team who did not taste the postseason last fall — beat St. Augustine 18-12 in the semifinals on a touchdown pass from Tyrese Smith to Allen Crawford with two seconds remaining.

The Yellow Jackets lost their first two games of pool play, but recovered to finish 3-3 in six contests on Saturday afternoon.

“You can always learn more from other teams and what they do and what they run,” said St. Augustine linebacker Josh Peterson. “Healthy competition is big for us. It helps us with every game and every play.”

Peterson, a rising senior, will be a strong side linebacker for the Yellow Jackets this fall. Though most of the teams St. Augustine faced Saturday did not play with someone lined up in the tight end position, there were times where the team could work on defensive coverages that may prove useful in the fall.

St. Augustine beat Tallahassee North Florida Christian 13-7 in a quarterfinal. Eagles quarterback Trey Fisher — whose father Jimbo and mother Candy were on the sidelines watching — threw a touchdown pass to Macho Arza with three minutes remaining, but the rising sophomore could not orchestrate another scoring drive.

Vacations, family commitments and injuries meant St. Augustine did not have four expected contributors in its defense on Saturday. But, the six contests the Yellow Jackets did play allowed for others to step up in a competitive environment.

“We played guys who don’t get a lot of snaps and they did a good job,” said St. Augustine football coach Brian Braddock. “It shows if you know your assignment and put in the work, then you’ll be prepared to play. Football is not magic.”

It’s not, but the game does provide magical moments for those who play it.

South Broward used its trip northward to not only prepare Tyrese Smith to receiving the ball under center, but exposing the Bulldogs to sights beyond their Hollywood homes.

South Broward visited the USF, UCF, Florida and Jacksonville University before arriving in St. Augustine. Afterward, head coach Keith Franklin planned to take his team by Fort Mose Historic State Park on Saturday afternoon and visit Bethune-Cookman University on Sunday before returning to Broward County.

“This is building a bond with their teammates,” Franklin said. “We have a new staff. We have a lot of new kids. We’re in St. Augustine, the oldest city in the country. This trip was not only a history trip, but a chance to show our kids something they haven’t seen.”

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