Mass Elite 7v7 Program Turns in Strong Performance at Pylon’s 7v7 Northeast Regional Tournament
New Jersey - Sixteen of the top high school football players in Massachusetts traveled to Woodbridge High School in New Jersey on the weekend of May 9th and 10th for the Pylon Football’s 7v7 Northeast Regional tournament, as part of the Mass Elite 7v7 program presented by 1st String Performance.
The event marked Mass Elite’s second tournament since the program was launched earlier this year and was held less than a week after the team won their first event, the NUC 7v7 tournament on May 3 at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts.
Led by tournament MVP and linebacker Matt Johnson ’16 (BC High) and quarterbacks Austin Burton ’17 (Newton South HS), Noah Gray ’17 (Leominster HS) and Marco King ’16 (BC High), Mass Elite earned the No. 1 overall seed after pool play by defeating The Pack of Brooklyn, NY (27-13), Pylon Top 25 nationally ranked 412 Elite of Pittsburgh, PA (13-0) and 412 Elite BSH of Pittsburgh, PA (20-12), before losing 13-8 to PST Black of Long Island, NY in the single-elimination playoff.
“I am really proud of the way our kids represented the program and Mass high school football at this tournament”, Mass Elite head coach and program director Will Croom said. “They played hard, and as a team, and demonstrated that the best high school players in Mass can compete with the best in the Mid-Atlantic region. We beat a nationally ranked top 25 team and will continue to build on this performance”.
Mass Elite will travel to Washington, D.C., May 29-31 for Pylon Football’s Nation’s Capital Regional Tournament and will be holding tryouts later this summer for players interested in the 2016 program (class of 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 players eligible for 2016 program).
Game Recap #1 vs. The Pack (Brooklyn, NY) - Win 27-13
Burton led the team with two touchdown passes and tight end Sean McKeon ’16 (Shepherd Hill HS) reeled in two spectacular receiving touchdowns to lead Mass Elite over The Pack 27-13 in the opening game of the tournament.
Trailing 7-0 early in the game, Burton found receiver Max Bochman ‘16, Brookline HS) in the endzone for the team’s first score. The extra point failed and Mass Elite trailed 7-6.
After a defensive stop, King fired a beautiful pass to McKeon in the endzone who managed to keep his feet inbounds and give Mass Elite their first lead. King found the 6-foot-5 tight end again for the extra point and a 13-7 lead.
The Pack tied the game on their next possession but running back Doug Santos ’16 (Peabody HS) outran the defense on a sensational 21-yard touchdown rush and quarterback Gray connected with Bochman for the extra point and a 20-13 Mass Elite lead.
Linebacker Johnson reeled in his first of three interceptions on the day and Mass Elite added another touchdown as McKeon went over a defender in the endzone on a beautiful pass from Burton. Burton ended the game the same way he started by finding Bochman for the extra point and a 27-13 win to begin pool play.
Game Recap #2 vs. 412 Elite (Pittsburgh, PA) - Win 13-0
The Mass Elite defense collected four interceptions on their way to blanking 412 Elite, Pylon’s #25 nationally ranked 7v7 team in the nation, 13-0.
Led by interceptions from BC High linebackers Johnson (two) and Isaiah Miranda ‘16, and safety Fabian Thames ’16 (Randolph HS), and strong play from a trio of Leominster High School defensive backs - cornerbacks and twin brothers Keith Jackson ‘16 and Kyle Jackson ‘16 and safety Travis Storm ’17 , as well as linebacker Brett Mazur ’16 (King Philip HS), the Mass Elite defense provided all of the support the offense would need in the shutout victory.
Running back Shawn Noel ‘17, (Bridgewater-Raynham HS) powered the Mass Elite offense with a sensational 22-yard catch and run followed by a first down rush to the 9-yard line. Burton hit Bochman over the middle of the endzone for a 9-yard touchdown and the game’s first score. Burton punctuated the score with a strike to Derek Franks (‘16, Leominster HS) for the extra point and a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing possession, Johnson collected his first interception of the game and the Mass Elite offense went to work as Bochman was on the receiving end of a 32-yard pass from Marco King to set up an 8-yd touchdown pass from King to Franks. The extra point was incomplete and Mass Elite lead 13-0.
Johnson continued his stellar play with another interception, this time with an assist from Miranda who deflected the intended pass before teammate Johnson collected it for his second of the game and third of the tournament.
Miranda wouldn’t be denied as he recorded his first interception on the next defensive series and Thames capped the dominating defensive performance with an interception to seal the game.
Game Recap #3 vs. 412 Elite BSH (Pittsburgh, PA) - Win 20-12
Peabody High School star running back Santos powered Mass Elite with two touchdowns and Gray connected with Leominster High School teammate Franks for another score as Mass Elite finished pool play undefeated with a 20-12 victory over 412 Elite BSH.
Facing 3rd and goal from the one-yard line (only 3 downs in 7v7 rules), Santos juked a defender at the line of scrimmage and outran another one for his second rushing touchdown of the tournament.
After 412 Elite BSH tied the game at six, Gray found Franks for a 25-yard gain before hooking up again for a 10-yard score. Gray hit Bochman for the extra point and a 13-6 lead.
412 Elite BSH responded again with a touchdown, but Leominster cornerback Kyle Jackson preserved the lead with an interception on the extra point try.
Santos continued his explosive play by getting behind the defense and reeling in a 40-yard bomb from BC High’s King. King padded the Mass Elite lead by hitting BC High teammate Will Johnson ‘16 for the extra point.
With the 20-12 victory, Mass Elite won the pool and secured the #1 overall seed in the single elimination playoff.
Game Recap #4 (Quarterfinals) vs. PST Black (Long Island, NY) - Loss 13-8
An early deficit and costly penalties proved too much as a last minute Mass Elite rally fell short in a 13-8 loss to PST Black of Brooklyn, NY.
With less than eight minutes left in the game and down 13-0, Burton found Santos wheeling out of the backfield for a 39-yard gain to the one-yard line. On the next play, Burton hit Will Johnson for a 5-yard touchdown reception and cut the deficit to five by finding Franks from 10 yards out for the two point conversion. Trailing 13-8, King Philip High School linebacker Mazur deflected two passes before Leominster’s Storm gave the offense the ball with a third down interception.
After a three and out from the Mass Elite offense and less than two minutes remaining in the game, Leominster High School cornerback Keith Jackson gave the offense another chance with his first interception of the day.
Burton drove the team to the 20-yard line before his last second pass intended for McKeon was batted away at the last second and Mass Elite fell 13-8, ending their tournament run with a 3-1 record.
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