Last year, Carol City High missed its chance to play in Indianapolis for the National 7-on-7 High School Football Championship on a heartbreaking interception in the 5th annual Miami Dolphins 7-on-7 High School Tournament.
This year, they avenged that loss, edging Miami Jackson 28-21 at the 6th annual Dolphins 7-on-7 Tournament and booking their ticket to the 2013 HSPD National Championship in Cleveland, Ohio on July 11-14.
Carol City’s loss last year came on a final play interception. Maybe by pure coincidence, or perhaps, fate, the Chiefs came up with a fourth down defensive stop with 47 seconds remaining in the game to prevent Miami Jackson from tying the game, and ultimately allowing the Chiefs to represent South Florida and the Miami Dolphins in the National Tournament.
“You talk about a 4th down play, just seconds on the clock and a chance to go to Cleveland. You probably had 3 or 4 guys giving a great effort trying to knock the ball down,” first-year Carol City head coach Aubrey Hill said. “Great effort is going to give you a chance to win games, and that was an example on that play.”
Not only did Carol City avenge last year’s defeat, they also got payback against a Miami Jackson squad that beat them just one week ago at the Santana Moss/Bryant McFadden Dade vs. Broward 7-on-7 Tournament.
“Last week we wanted to beat these guys; they’re a very good team, but it’s hard to beat a team twice,” Hill said. We played a good first half, but more importantly we played a second half that was good enough to win.”
Chiefs quarterback Trayon Gray connected with wide receiver Theodore Hammonds on three touchdown passes and was able to out-duel his friend, Miami Jackson QB Quinton Flowers, in a hotly contested game.
“He’s a real good friend and it was a real good battle. My adrenaline was up going head-to-head with him, but it feels good to come out on top,” Gray said.
The championship game was the conclusion of the three-day event, which began on Friday, June 14 with the mandatory HSPD symposium. The symposium featured guest speakers, such as Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland, Dolphins Youth Programs Director Twan Russell, Dolphins long snapper
The tournament got underway on Saturday with Round Robin games and the first rounds of the playoffs. The final eight teams competed on Sunday, with Carol City beating Boyd Anderson in the quarterfinals, Miramar in the semifinals and ultimately prevailing against Miami Jackson in the finals.
“Overall, it was a successful weekend. I felt the kids learned a lot from our guest speakers about life skills and lessons that will benefit their future,” Russell said. “The weekend ended on a great note with an excellent game. I am happy for Carol City, and I look forward to them representing us and South Florida in the National Championship in Cleveland.”
The Dolphins and South Florida have had great success in past National Championships. Most recently, Booker T. Washington won the 2012 National Tournament to become the fourth team to represent the Dolphins and win the tournament.