Lake Braddock WR Maxwell James elevates for a catch at the Falls Church 7-on-7 (Photo: Andy Hilton/recruit757)
Top teams shined at the Falls Church 7-on-7 tourney
by Jim McGrath, recruitNoVA
With near-perfect weather conditions setting the stage, this year’s version of the Falls Church 7-on-7 Passing League was a rousing success.
The league, which again hosted 24 teams to Falls Church High last Saturday, has had little trouble drawing participants, at least in the ten years that tournament director and Jaguar head coach Eleas Aziz has been involved with the day.
“We had four teams on stand-by this year,” said Aziz, who spent a good chunk of the day motoring on a golf cart among the six fields to update scores and keep a running tab on the team records. “I think we benefit because I have a good relationship with most of the coaches around here, we are centrally located (first right turn off the Capital Beltway and Rte. 50 East), and the weather is usually good.”
Aziz’s own team won its first four games, including a barn burner win against tourney newcomer George Mason that was settled on a long bomb touchdown to Quinn Padavoni.
For the players, the tournament offers a chance to get in some extra reps against players not on their own team. Said Aziz, “Guys get a chance to work on their playbook, and get their timing down.”
From the spectator’s vantage point, there are opportunities to see some of the best players that Northern Virginia has to offer in action. One game – Lake Braddock vs. Yorktown, featured top quarterbacks Billy Edwards of the Bruins against Grant Wilson from the Patriots, and was decided by Lake Braddock on the final drive. In that game, Bruin tight end Matthew Hibner caught several key passes.
After the tournament, Hibner flew to Ann Arbor, MI to visit with the University of Michigan football team and on Sunday, he verbally committed to the Wolverines.
The teams were broken into two twelve-team divisions, with the top teams in each division playing in a modified playoff. The final game featured a rematch of last year’s Region 5A final of Stone Bridge against Broad Run. In the playoffs, the Bulldogs stunned the Spartans on the road, but this time, it was Broad Run who exacted revenge, topping Stone Bridge 24-17.
Lake Braddock, as well as W.T. Woodson, also made it to the Final Four.
Aziz feels the excitement of the wins will be short-lived.
“By the time August rolls around, nobody will remember these games.”
– Jim McGrath