Phoebus wins the Battlefield Shootout (Photo: Joe Barnes/recruit757)
Jaylen White, Phantoms offense leads Phoebus to back-to-back Battlefield Shootout titles
by Brandon Mitchell, recruit757
If you’ve lived in Hampton Roads long enough, you’ve learned to realize that this region is prone to precipitation regardless of what the forecast states. Friday was a complete washout and threatened to shut down the Battlefield Shootout 7-on-7 set for Saturday morning. After assessing the damage done on Friday evening, York head coach Doug Pereira made the decision to give it a go on Saturday morning to see what would become of his tournament. Not only was the field able to beat out the rain for yet another successful Battlefield Shootout, Deep Creek was a late add to the field which brought the total of teams to 12.
This year’s field was one of the lower fields in recent memory, but it didn’t stop teams like Phoebus, Heritage, and York from putting on a dominant display in 7-on-7 action. Last year the Phantoms were able to walk away as Battlefield Shootout champions after knocking off Highland Springs. This year the Phantoms blew through the field winning all three of their matchups during round-robin play and both of their Gold Bracket games to win the Battlefield Shootout for the second-consecutive year.
“There were some really good teams out here and guys have been working really hard in the weight room since about January,” Coach Jeremy Blunt explained. “Anytime you can get your guys mixed up with some other guys and get into some pressure situations it’s always fun. We were able to do that and the last game was fun. I liked the competition all the way through.
Phoebus exploded on offense from the start of the day and never looked back. There Phantoms offense put up 27 points against Western Branch, 31 points against Smithfield, and then another 31 points against Lakeland all before lunch. Phoebus held a very efficient schedule having all of its round-robin contests finished before 11:30 a.m.
Tournament play in the afternoon started shortly before 1:00 p.m. The Gold Bracket consisted of Phoebus, Warhill, York and Bethel. The Silver Bracket consisted of Deep Creek, Western Branch, Tabb, and Heritage. The Bronze Bracket consisted of Lakeland, Denbigh, Smithfield and Grafton. Bronze Bracket contests were played up near the front of the school while Gold and Silver Bracket teams shared Bailey Field switching games every 30 minutes until 3:00 p.m.
Deep Creek knocked off Western Branch in the first-round of the Silver Bracket while Tabb took out Heritage. In the final round, Deep Creek knocked off Tabb winning the Silver Bracket. In the Gold Bracket, Phoebus was able to make short work of Warhill in the first-round while York knocked off Bethel. In the final round, Phoebus was able to get the better of York putting up over 20 points on the Falcons defense. York and Phoebus have grown very familiar with one another facing off in the playoffs in the 2015 and 2018. Both contests went to Phoebus by a combined score of 54-19. On Saturday, both teams played with a chip on their shoulder that mimicked both of their most recent playoff contests.
“I reminded the boys it was a tough fought game last year in the playoffs,” Coach Blunt stated. “We’ve seen those guys a couple of times in the last few years so we’re very familiar with one another. Coach Pereira runs a great program with those guys over there and those guys are excited because that have a lot of good guys coming back. “
Phoebus plays their first regular season contest on August 31 against Lake Taylor at 4:00 p.m. which will be played at Darling Stadium. Since these two teams started playing against one another in 1986, Phoebus holds a 7-3 advantage over the Titans. While Coach Blunt and the Phantoms will enjoy their Battlefield Shootout title for the second-consecutive year, they haven’t lost connection with what their main goal is for the season; to bring a state championship back to the Peninsula.
“We try to stay humble in these moments because at the end of the day it’s just 7-on-7,” Coach Blunt said. “Its great work mixing it up, but it’s not what we do and it’s not Friday night. The biggest thing is to stay focused. This is a component that we do on Friday night, but it is not ‘the’ component or the total focus.”
– Brandon Mitchell