Miami Booker T. Washington coach Tim 'Ice' Harris knew coming in that defending the championship of the Battle at the Beach 7-on-7 tournament would be more difficult than last year’s inaugural victory.
A long, hot Saturday proved him right as the Tornadoes needed to defeat 8A state champion Tampa Plant twice to claim the championship and a $10,000 prize.
Tampa Plant sent Washington into the loser’s bracket with a 24-12 decision in the winner’s bracket final. Booker T.Washington then eliminated Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer and then posted victories of 14-13 and 16-7 over Plant.
“Second time is always tougher,” Harris said. “The reps against great teams made for great experience and help the players get ready for college ball. We showed heart and determination to be able to grind it out today.”
The Tornadoes got key defensive plays from FSU commitment Michael Johnson and highly-touted linebacker Matthew Thomas, but the final two games belonged to junior quarterback Treon Harris, son of Coach Harris and younger brother of Houston Texans defensive back Brandon Harris, who was on the sidelines Saturday.
Treon Harris posted a last-minute touchdown in the first Plant victory and helped the Tornadoes answer a Plant score in the hotly contested finale.
Coach Harris said that Treon, a Class of 2015 prospect, has already received offers from Florida State, Illinois and UCF to play quarterback.
“This shows he can play the position,” Coach Harris said. “He’s doing a good job of understanding to be a high-percentage passer and not always go deep. He showed patience to get the ball underneath.”
Tampa Plant, who received $5,000 for finishing second, was vying for its third 7-on-7 tournament victory of the summer.
Mount Dora's Bryant Mosher leads team to Final Four
Mount Dora not only provided the best Central Florida performance with its fourth-place finish, but also the feel-good storyline.
Down 15-13 in an elimination game, the Hurrricanes were only one play away from upsetting Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, but senior Jordan Porter dropped a pass over the middle in the final minute that could have gone for a touchdown. Head
Coach Chad Grawbowski had to reach deep down to deliver the “one play is not the reason we lost” speech afterwards.
“He’s our best receiver,” Grabowski said. “It kills him anytime something like this happens.”
Grabowski looked at the big picture. The 4A Hurricanes made it to the winner’s bracket final four with victories over Atlantic, Leesburg and John Leonard before losing to Tampa Plant, then remaining alive by knocking off Daytona Beach Seabreeze.
“This is big,” Grawbowski said. “We finally got a team, even though its young, that knows what it’s doing.”
Mt. Dora got solid reps from quarterback Bryant Mosher, a rising junior, and play at the end from Porter, Jonta Scott and Terrance Bynum, who is getting looks from FIU and Navy.
Michael Colubiale still producing
Spruce Creek’s Michael Colubiale is now on the radar for being under the radar.
The senior, who caught touchdown passes in the Hawks’ victory over crosstown Atlantic and elimination game to Carol City, is regarded as one of Volusia County’s top receivers, but has yet to receive an official college football offer. There’s interest from Western Kentucky and a slew of FCS schools, including a few Ivy League programs.
“It’s motivation for me to get better, Colubiale said. “I know I’m not heavily recruited, but it makes me work harder."
Colubiale’s 6-foot-3 frame and jumping ability make him a good target, but his speed (4.6 in the 40) will have many programs putting him at tight end.
Creek’s offensive coordinator, Joe Giddens, is helping him deal with the recruiting drama.
“If he goes to the right program and the right system, he could be a sleeper,” Giddens said.
Jame Clark enjoys competition
Volusia County’s most sought-after player, New Smyrna Beach’s James Clark, liked being one of many this weekend.
The Barracudas took Booker T. Washington to the limit, falling by just two points and then were eliminated in overtime by Vero Beach, but Clark appreciated the opportunity to go up against other top-notched recruits.
“The talent level here this weekend was amazing,” said Clark, ranked 68th in the country at wide receiver by Rivals.com. “Going against a team like Booker T. was a great experience. They’re the best of the best and an all-around football team.
Clark enters his senior season with offers from 21 schools, including Auburn. Notre Dame, Penn State, Wake Forest and West Virginia. He’s handling the attention in stride.
“The thing to do is don’t get too cocky about it,” Clark said. “I’m not going around showboating …”
“Twenty-one? Someone the other day told me 31,” Clark kidded. “We’ll take things as they come.“Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun