On a hot and humid day in the bustling city of Frisco, two Texas teams from the Interstate 20 corridor - the John Tyler Lions and Mesquite Poteet Pirates - earned the finals in the USA Football 7on7 National Championship tournament.
Poteet held off JT 24-13 to capture the national championship at B.F. Phillips Park. The Lions were shooting for their second title in five years.
JT, seeded No. 3, won three games on Saturday to reach the finals - 30-6 over No. 14 Frisco Independence; 29-4 over No. 11 Bryant (Arkansas) and 25-24 over No. 2 Pulaski Academy (Arkansas).
“It was an honor and privilege to represent East Texas and John Tyler,” JT 7on7 coach Vertrick Jordan said. “Our players were tested and proved themselves. They put in the hard work and it showed. I’m proud of them.
“This tournament had the best teams from their respective states.”
Along with the Texas teams, schools were from Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana in the 16-team tournament.
Jordan noted the play of his entire team, but mentioned wide receiver Ke’Andre Street, quarterback Devlen Woods and cornerback Nicholas Thompson.
JT won its pool on Friday, going 6-1. That only loss was to Bryant and the Lions avenged that loss on Saturday. The bracket play was single elimination.
Jordan said the effort by the Lions will show up in the coming season.
“The fall is all about chemistry,” Jordan said. “Chemistry is about everyone doing their job and not worrying about doing someone else’s job.”
Poteet, the No. 4 seed, reached the finals by defeating No. 13 Oologah (Oklahoma), 38-4; No. 5 Evangel Christian (Louisiana), 24-13; and No. 1 Landry Walker (Louisiana), 26-16.
Jordan added, “I think we represented the community, East Texas and John Tyler well. We want to thank all our donors and everyone that helped us. Two nights and three days there, it gets expensive. We couldn’t have done it without our supporters.”
The Lions open their season Sept. 1 against Plano West in Plano. Their home opener is Sept. 8 against Ennis in the Christus Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic.