Rain halts Lassiter 7-on-7 tournament in semifinal round
by John Bednarowski
sportseditor@mdjonline.com
July 21, 2013 01:05 AM | 3035 views | 8 8 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
North Cobb quarterback Tyler Queen passes for an open teammate in Saturday’s bracket play of the Georgia Invitational. The Warriors made it into the semifinal round, when the foreboding forecast forced play to be suspended and left North Cobb with a No. 3 seed.
<BR>Staff photo by Todd Hull
North Cobb quarterback Tyler Queen passes for an open teammate in Saturday’s bracket play of the Georgia Invitational. The Warriors made it into the semifinal round, when the foreboding forecast forced play to be suspended and left North Cobb with a No. 3 seed.
Staff photo by Todd Hull
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MARIETTA — North Gwinnett earned the No. 1 seed from the Georgia Invitational 7-on-7 tournament Saturday at Lassiter, but the host Trojans, North Cobb and Alpharetta may have arguments as to which team won the weather-shortened event.

Regardless, all four teams advanced to the National Select 7-on-7 Championships next weekend in Hoover, Ala.

After already having to wait out one rain delay earlier in the day, the coaches of the four remaining teams decided it was best to end the event early when lightning flashed and rain started again late in the afternoon.

“The kids had already had two long days in the heat,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “(After looking at the forecast), it was best not to hang around all night, and we didn’t want to take the chance of the kids suffering any injuries. It was better safe than sorry.”

Lassiter coach Jep Irwin echoed Queen’s sentiments.

“The decision was made for the safety of the players,” he said. “It was a great tournament up until the weather hit (Saturday), but in late July, that will happen. I think this was the most competitive tournament we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

When play was stopped, North Gwinnett had an 18-16 lead on Lassiter in the final game of the championship bracket. North Cobb, which had already beaten Alpharetta once, was beating the Raiders 23-16 in the third-place game.

That’s how the seeds were decided. North Gwinnett, behind quarterback and tournament offensive MVP Hayden Sphire, got the No. 1 seed, Lassiter No. 2, North Cobb No. 3 and Alpharetta No. 4.

Organizers were fortunate the event finished that way.

With North Gwinnett, Lassiter and North Cobb having already earned invites to Hoover — North Cobb and Lassiter as qualifier hosts, North Cobb based on its performance from last year’s 7-on-7 events — the decision to end the Georgia Invitational was an easy one once bracket play reached the semifinals.

That could have changed if Kell had won one more game.

The third-seeded Longhorns finished pool play 5-0 on Friday and won their first three games Saturday — beating Northview, North Paulding and Shiloh — before suffering a 19-16 setback to Lassiter in the semifinals of the winners’ bracket. The loss sent Kell into an elimination game against North Cobb, which it eventually lost 21-19.

A win by the Longhorns in either game would likely have forced the teams to wait out the weather and complete the event.

Duluth finished sixth, while Jonesboro and Dutchtown tied for seventh. Wheeler, Lovejoy, Cartersville and Shiloh tied for ninth.

North Gwinnett’s road to the top seed came with blowout wins over Lassiter’s “B” team and Duluth, but the Bulldogs also won a pair of one-point contests — beating Walton 13-12 and Jonesboro 26-25.

Sixth-seeded North Cobb’s road to the semifinals was a long one. After beating Eastside (S.C.) to begin bracket play, North Cobb was upset by Shiloh and dropped into the losers’ bracket. From there, however, the Warriors rolled off victories against Hillgrove’s “B” team, Flowery Branch, Wheeler, Jonesboro and Kell.

The surprise of the day may have been Lassiter’s “A” team.

The Trojans went 2-3 in pool play Friday and was the No. 18 seed for bracket play. But four straight victories Saturday against Rabun County, Lovejoy, Alpharetta and Kell — behind the tournament’s defensive MVP, defensive back Chris Murphy —allowed the Trojans to nearly reach the championship game.

“It was a play here and a play there that cost us (Friday),” Irwin said. “We were competing with more consistency, and it helped us win some close games. “We came together as a team (Saturday).”

Tenth-seeded Alpharetta started with wins over Glenn Hills and Mays before it dropped a one-point loss to Lassiter. Once in the losers’ bracket, the Raiders beat Cartersville, Dutchtown and Duluth to secure its trip to Hoover.

Wheeler beat Eagle’s Landing and Shaw in the championship bracket before being eliminated after consecutive losses to Duluth and North Cobb.

Walton and the Hillgrove “A” team each won one game in the bracket, while the Lassiter and Hillgrove “B” teams each went 0-2.

Comments
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Sad Sam
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July 22, 2013
Wheeler is a total embarrassment to Cobb County. They started a fight with Eagles Landing in early round play and had players ejected. I guess they are so desperate for a few wins they sacrifice character. -1
7on7ispractice
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July 22, 2013
What sport are you talking about, Sad Sam? A scuffle against Eagles Landing at a 7 on 7? Big deal. That stuff happens in almost every one of the match ups during 7 on 7's. Their football program has made tremendous strides after Paul Lombardo left it in shambles. Coach Michael Collins has worked tirelessly to make things better and Wheeler has a good shot at winning the region this fall.
David C
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July 22, 2013
Now I know why players leave Wheeler and go to Hillgrove, Lassiter and Walton. Heck, I heard the HC wouldn't bring his son to Wheeler.
7on7ispractice
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July 22, 2013
Sad Sam, I just talked to several of the Lassiter coaches who witnessed the situation you're talking about. They said it was actually a minor scuffle between a Wheeler player and an Eagles Landing player. The Eagles Landing player ultimately shoved the other guy and the EL players all left the sideline and THEY were the ones ejected. No Wheeler players were ejected. I'm sorry you were misinformed.
NC Fan
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July 26, 2013
@7on7ispractice so you are saying that the Lassiter coaches who were playing the same time the Wheeler team was playing downplayed the thugery? All I know is when Wheeler played NorthCobb they tried to start fights. NC just whooped them and sent them home.
Timus
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July 22, 2013
My son plays for Hillgrove but I was very impressed by the arm and the accuracy to North Cobbs Tyler Queen. Those guys are gonna challenge some secondaries this year!!
slim065
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July 22, 2013
Couldn't get up there to watch yesterday's action. -Can Anyone report om kids who stood out?

-Any names to keep an eye on that could have impacts this season or next?

Any big, known transfers out there...from where to where?

A couple of the transfer we know have been at high profile positions. Gotta dig deep and find out new starters from inside the program and outside. Many of those outside players will be the legal transfer rule; but interested how far people moved for the betterment of this family.
LH Dad
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July 22, 2013
I watched the games on day 2. I was impressed with North Cobb. Athletes and good play calling. Defense is fast to the ball. N Gwinnett and Lovejoy looked like the best two teams out there. Lassiter got a lot of home cooked calls and advanced. Kell and Wheeler have some top athletes. Duluth looked like they could have a good season.
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