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Magna Vista tops area teams at Border Bash 7-on-7 tournament
Bassett's Eddie Bowman (33) stiff-arms a Magna Vista defender during the Border Bash 7-on-7 football tournament Tuesday at the Smith River Sports Complex. (Bulletin photo by David Reynolds)
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
By MARK THOMPSON - Bulletin Sports Writer
When it came to its Piedmont District competition, Magna Vista High School’s football team played like a reigning district champion should in Tuesday’s 7-on-7 action at the Smith River Sports Complex’s Border Bash.
The Warriors beat Bassett High School in the 7-on-7 tournament’s semifinals, then finished as runner-up to Northside High School.
But it was the win against Bassett High School that was the most emotionally charged. More than anything, Magna Vista head coach Joe Favero thought it was just a good win.
“That’s a pressure game. Any time those two teams play together, you know it’s going to be a battle,” Favero said. “Those two teams want to win. I was glad with the way our kids responded and didn’t put their heads down and kept on battling.”
The Warriors gave up a touchdown to the Bengals on the opening drive of that matchup, but Magna Vista responded with a touchdown of its own on its way to winning the game 25-22. Bassett was playing without its starting quarterback Dashaun Valentine after Valentine got into a scuffle with a Tunstall player earlier in the day and swiped at his face mask.
Bassett was undefeated prior to its loss to Magna Vista. There was quite a bit of trash talk in that game, but the Bengals first lost some ground in the game when their backup quarterback threw an interception at the goal line. After that Bassett’s talk was directed more amongst team members and not at its opposition.
“We played well getting up to that one game,” Bassett head coach Jay Gilbert said. “We just have to get over the hump of being able to convert talking trash to playing. Right now we talk a good game, but we have yet to back it up. Until our players step up and back it up, we’re going to continue to play like we did in that last game.
“And the other games leading up to that one meant nothing after that. We want to win it all. … I was a little disappointed in that one.”
There were six teams involved in the 7-on-7 tournament, four from the Piedmont District — Magna Vista, Bassett, Patrick County and Tunstall.
Magna Vista lost to Northside in the finals 37-26. The Warriors brought the score closer near the end with two jump-ball touchdown catches from Calin Jamison to JaiQuan Hairston.
Favero said it’s too early to read into the tournament that much.
“It’s not football,” he said. “You can’t really confuse 7-on-7 with football. I like where we are.”
Probably the biggest task facing Magna Vista this offseason is finding a replacement at quarterback for Harvey Taylor.
Jamison and Basil Mott are competing for the job, and Favero said that will sort itself out by the time August rolls around.
“Both of them I thought played very well today,” Favero said. “I think they’re getting better. … We’re going to need to see guys in pads. I imagine it won’t be sorted out until after the second scrimmage.”
Tunstall finished fourth in the tournament after losing to Northside in the semifinals. The Trojans beat Hidden Valley in the quarterfinals 27-23.
At one point, Tunstall was trailing Northside 41-10 in the semifinals, but the Trojans put together 26 unanswered points before the game ended.
“We fought back against a pretty good squad,” Tunstall head coach Buddy Brown said. “That’s what I like to see. In the past, some things didn’t go the way we wanted them to go, and we’d see some heads drop and then maybe your effort’s not what it needs to be. But I thought we did some nice things and I thought the kids played hard. That’s all you can ask.”
Evan Huffman is returning for the Trojans, but not necessarily to the quarterback position. He was lined up in the slot Tuesday because he separated his shoulder playing basketball and then re-injured it sliding in baseball.
“What do they say, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention?’ He needs to be on the field somewhere,” Brown said. “We know he’s an athlete. I’m not saying you won’t see him at quarterback some. You will. But I think we may be a better football team with him somewhere else. “
Patrick County was knocked out in the quarterfinals by Bassett 44-18. Cougars head coach Kenneth Perry Jr. said he was looking for improvement from his team, and he thought his team was competitive in each of the matchups it faced.
He also saw some of that in his team’s loss to Bassett.
“They were mentally tough,” Perry said. “We got hit with some good plays at the beginning, but they didn’t give up and they kept fighting. We tried some things and they were able to execute. So no matter the score or the situation, they played hard, and I was happy about that.”