John Tyler ran through ice water and Gatorade almost as flawlessly as the Lions powered past opponents on the first day of play Friday in the USA Football 7on7 National Championship tournament at B.F. Phillips Park in Frisco.
The heat and humidity were intense throughout as JT began its day with a matchup against Cedar Hill and ended it against Shreveport Evangel (Louisiana). The Lions played seven games total in Pool B, finishing first with a 6-1 record.
As for the Gatorade and water …
“You can’t believe the number of cases of water and Gatorade we went through,” said JT 7on7 coach Vertrick Jordan. “We finished off 23 cases of water and 12 cases of Gatorade.”
The Lions defeated the Longhorns (31-12), Mill Valley, Kansas (19-18), Union, Oklahoma (22-15), Frisco Lone Star (23-13), Houston Westbury (24-4) and Shreveport Evangel, Louisiana (28-18). JT’s lone blemish came in a 19-11 loss to Bryant Arkansas.
“”They came to play,” Jordan said of his team. “We put in a lot of hard work and it paid off.”
John Tyler, the No. 3 seed, will square off against 14-seed Independence in the first round at 9:30 a.m. today.
John Tyler won Pool B with a 6-1 record, but enters the tournament bracket as the No. 3 seed due to Pool A winner Landry Walker (Louisiana) going 7-0 while scoring 146 points and allowing 63 for a +83 point differential. Second seeded Pulaski Academy (Arkansas) went 6-1 to tie JT, but had a better point differential to get the second spot.
“The best teams in the nation were on display today, that’s for sure,” Jordan said. “We played three teams that won (11-man) state titles last year. I was real impressed with the competition.”
Jordan praised the play of quarterback Devlen Woods, who he said, “he has matured so much throughout the summer.”
Coach Jordan also said Rod Hawkins made “an awesome one-handed catch” against Shreveport Evangel and “we needed it.”
The Lions face an Independence team in bracket play that went 1-6 to finish last in Pool A. Independence scored 76 points and allowed 144.
If JT wins that game, the Lions get the winner of Bryant Arkansas and Cedar Hill, which means either way it would be a rematch against a team JT defeated Friday.
“We don’t need a let-down,” Jordan said. “We were one game away from the championship at the state tournament last year and (let it slip away) and these guys remember that.”
On Friday, the Lions began with a showdown with Cedar Hill. Jordan said it was critical for JT to win that opening game.
“That first one was the most important,” Jordan said. “It set the tone for the rest of the tournament.”
The Lions were able to get past more opponents, but Jordan said the scoring system of this tournament makes it very difficult to be comfortable.
“You get two points for a defensive stop and three points for an interception. And the clock stops on an incompletion in the last minute,” Jordan said. “You can’t just stall like you do at the state tournament. You need to have a big enough lead because all it takes in the final minute is a stop and touchdown for a 9-point swing.”
Notes: For complete tournament results, download the Tourney app and search for USA Football 7on7 tournament.