Team Mass Elite 7-on-7 Tournament
For Release + photos by Mass Prep Stars
SPRINGFIELD, MA -- Fred Berte Field was the center of the Northeast High School Football Universe, as representatives from the US Army All American Bowl Selection Committee, The Process, Mass Prep Stars and other various Prep Football Recruiting media were on hand to watch teams from Connecticut, Long Island NY, Massachusetts and Rochester NY.
Background: Rosters were loaded rosters with future FCS and FBS underclassmen prospects, all hungry to establish themselves and hopefully progress their future football fortunes. All the prospects came to compete in the 1st annual Massachusetts Spring ball 7v7 Tournament hosted by 1st STRING PERFORMANCE Owner and TEAM MASS ELITE 7V7 Program Founder/Head Coach Will Croom.
If this environment was not competitive enough, a little bit of spice along with regional bragging rights was added, as the top four teams earned their way to the first ever 7v7 AAU games hosted by Pylon in Houston Texas this July. The tournament Champion would also qualify for the Pylon Elite Camps 7v7 National Championship at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX. The National Pylon brand was created by former University of New Hampshire alum Baron Felonry.
“I have been trying, for about 3 years, to get this off the ground,” Croom said. “I always had this idea in the back on my mind. I played every sport under the sun growing up but I was always a 365 day a year football player. I yearned for something like this and always felt like a Southern kid born in the wrong region when it came to my desire to play and always be around football as a kid. I started the Team Mass Elite program last in January 2015 with only 17 top prospects from predominately Eastern Mass Communities. We had great success and this year I have 36-40 kids in the program from Connecticut, Rhode Island and as far as Springfield.”
Croom felt that with the lack of High School Spring ball in Massachusetts and other points in New England, athletes with NCAA hopes are at a major recruiting disadvantage.
“This is the underclassmen evaluation period for college programs, with their Spring ball practices and games finished. Coaches are back on the road recruiting and evaluating underclassmen, extending camp invites and offers. This is a good opportunity for kids to see how good they are and to get exposure.”
Games: Next Level Bats from Rochester, NY rose to the challenge on several occasions on Saturday. They fought off strong attacks from the potent offenses of CT 5 Star Elite and Team Mass Elite. The Bats demeanor stayed cool in pressure, however, much like their head coach Zane Howard. Under adversity, riding the strong arm of Wayne High School (NY) QB Braeden Zenelovic ’18, they outlasted Mass Elite Gray in Overtime 18-12. The Bats top performers on the day were Brockport’s (NY) Corey Gross and defensive standout Rayshuaid Smith.
The Bats went 8- 0 on the day, highlighted by a 22-12 victory in the Championship game over PST NY.
PST NY, out of the Long Island, NY, showed exceptional fortitude and grinded all afternoon. They defeated Team Mass Elite Blue, 12-6, and followed that win up with a 14-12 win over CT 5 Star Elite in the semifinals.
PST NY would end the day with a 4-3 record.
Both Team Mass Elite’s Blue and Gray Squads got off to a flat starts in the morning games, but battled back and earned the 3rd and 5th seeds, respectively, heading in to the playoffs. The Gray Squad was led by incoming Lawrence Academy freshman signal caller Brady Martin ’20. Martin made several impressive plays, hooking up with Preston Parsons ’18 (Hotchkiss School, CT), Leominster’s Noah Gray ‘17 of Leominster High School, and Lawrence Academy’s Sherron Dailey-Harris ’17 (pictured below right)
Tea Mass Gray went 5-3 on the day. Their day ended with a 21-7 loss in to the eventual champion, Next Level BATS , in the second round of the playoffs.
The Team Mass Elite Blue squad was snake bitten all afternoon, they battled low roster numbers, dropped balls and tight games. Their record was not indicative of their fight and how close each game was. Leominster’s Angel Colina ’17 was a real bright spot on Saturday, as he continues to prove week after week that he is a very elusive running and receiving threat out the backfield. Springfield Central’s Chauncey Cogell ‘17, looked at home on his home field venue and made several fancy catches and drive saving plays. Young rising underclassmen Myles Bradly ’19 of Springfield Central High School also ran several crisp routes and displayed his ability to separate from defenders. Former Cushing Academy and future Salisbury School (CT) standout Zach Banks ‘18 was a stalwart in the middle for the defense.
CT 5 Star Elite featured a litter of talented prospects in Cheshire Academys (CT) All-American Tarik Black ’17 and CJ Holmes ‘17 Cheshire Academy (above left photo). They also featured Boston College commit Brandon Sebastian ‘17 and Justin Brown ’17 from St. Luke’s Academy. The team also had a rich stable of quarterbacks in Patrick Conte ‘17 (Fairfield Prep), CJ Lewis ‘17 (Cheshire Academ and Josh Comune ’19 (Cheshire Academy).
Team CT Elite went 7- 1 on the day, with their only loss coming to the eventual runner-ups, PST NY, by a score of 14-12 in the semifinal round two.
Team 1st String Performance, which was a team made up various area all-stars from CT, NH and MA, went toe-to-toe with perennial club team powers. Players who stood out were Eddie Scannapieco ‘17 of Franklin High School, Jio Pierre ‘18 of Somerville High School, Kevin Deree ’17 of Thayer Academy 2017, Ryan Barry ’17 Algonquin Regional and soon to be postgrad signal caller Seamus Leary ’16 of St Peter Marian.
Team 1st String Performance went 6- 2 on the day and lost in the first round of the playoffs, 36-8, to Team Mass Elite Gray.
Lastly, team Sky was the youngest of teams at the one-day tournament. With a roster filled with top talent from the classes of 2019 and 2020, they were in the mix and challenging higher seeded teams all afternoon. They will be a team to keep in mind as the years come.
SCORES: 2016 MASS SPRING BALL GAME SCORES:
CT 5 STAR ELITE 20 VS. PST NY 19
MASS ELITE BLUE 18 VS. SKY 12
CT 5 STAR ELITE 22 VS. MASS ELITE GREY 16
BATS 14 VS. MASS ELITE BLUE 0
BATS 18 VS. MASS ELITE GREY 12 (OVERTIME.)
CT 5 STAR ELITE 22 VS. 1ST STRING PRO 6
CT 5 STAR ELITE 12 VS. SKY 6
PST NY 34 VS. 1ST STRING PRO 6
MASS ELITE GREY 24 VS. PST NY 8
MASS ELITE GREY 20 VS. MASS ELITE BLUE 14
PST NY 18 VS. SKY 12
MASS ELITE GREY 16 VS. SKY 0
CT 5 STAR ELITE 28 VS. SKY 6
BATS 32 VS. 1ST STRING PRO 6
MASS ELITE GREY 22 VS. 1ST STRING PRO 6
CT 5 STAR ELITE 12 VS. MASS ELITE BLUE 6
1ST STRING PRO 18 VS. MASS ELITE BLUE 16
PLAYOFFS ROUND 1 #SEED BATS ROUND 1 BYE
MASS ELITE GREY 36 VS. 1ST STRING PRO
PST NY 12 VS. MA ELITE BLUE 6
CT 5 STAR ELITE 28 VS. SKY 6
BATS 21 VS. MASS ELITE GREY 7
PST NY 14 VS. CT 5 STAR ELITE 12
BATS 22 VS. PSY NY 12
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