Last year in the Pylon 7-on-7 national tournament in Las Vegas, Ford Sports Performance (Washington) and Barton Football Academy (Oregon) each made the Final Four, putting Northwest 7-on-7 football on the map.
On Sunday, Tracy Ford’s elite 7-on-7 program and EForce Football (Oregon) clashed in a series of tune-ups at Madison High School before this year’s Pylon 7-on-7 showcase (early March).
The final game of the evening pitted Ford Sports Performance’s Bluechip against EForce Football’s Oregon Breed, the top two 7-on-7 teams in the Northwest, in a matchup that featured more than a dozen FBS college football prospects.
By the time the dust settled, Bluechip had bested Oregon Breed 46-20 and looked poised to make a run at a national championship in Las Vegas.
It may have been just a tune-up, but the signs were encouraging.
“I was pleased with the level of competition and intensity that the kids played at,” Ford said. “(EForce Football) has good athletes. They are another elite team and a well-organized program. It was good for us to see where we stack up.”
Bluechip quarterback Zach Lewis (Eastside Catholic, 2018) went 11-of-14 with four touchdown passes, Rivals four-star tight end (and Oregon State target) Hunter Bryant caught two touchdown passes and Washington Huskies commit Connor Wedington collected two of his camp-high eight interceptions to highlight Bluechip’s effort in the marquee game.
For Oregon Breed, Wilsonville quarterback Connor Neville (Washington State, Boise State offers) threw three touchdown passes, two to brother Jonny Neville, and three interceptions.
Part of the lopsided showing was due to the level of experience of both teams. Ford Sports Performance competes in a 7-on-7 league in Seattle, while Oregon Breed was playing its first real games of the spring.
“We certainly didn’t play to the potential that we could, based on the talent level that we have,” EForce Football coach Alex Brink said. “I think a lot of that is us just kind of learning to work together. More than anything, I would describe it as a learning experience.”
The showing was reminiscent of Oregon’s effort last year, as the elite squad was “slapped,” according to Brink, on the first day of the Pylon 7-on-7 tournament only to rally in tournament play to reach the semifinals.
“It was very similar to the way we started in Vegas last year,” he said. “It kind of woke everybody up and we came out and played well the second day. These guys are all high-level athletes, they want to win and I think they are going to bounce back and respond to this.”
The contest featured several Pac-12 prospects, including Madison linebacker Daniel Green (Oregon, Oregon State interest), Jesuit cornerback Demetrius Douglas (Oregon offer), Sherwood linebacker David Morris (Oregon State offer), Tigard athlete Braden Lenzy (2018), Kamiakin defensive back Darreon Moore, Neville, Bryant, Wedington and many others.
Despite that collection of talent, the game took a hit with the loss of Rivals four-star talents Salvon Ahmed (Washington) and Elijah Molden (Oregon), both of whom are considered national recruits and missed the game due to injury.
– It’s way too early to project eighth-grade talent, silly even, but some of the nation’s best were on display for that age group.
Ford Sports Performance wide receiver “G” Scott looked like a future star and drew praise from several older players at the event.
EForce Football two-way standouts Silas Starr and Elijah Elliott were equally impressive, especially considering Elliott came in with the hype of having recently competed for a Grant team that won the national championship.
Oregon City quarterback Cade Knighton will be another one to watch over the coming years.
Ford Sports Performance
– Willie Patterson (Franklin Pierce High School, Tacoma) and Joey Sinclair (Lincoln High School, Tacoma) both play quarterback for their respective high schools, but were impressive at wide receiver Sunday. Both project there in college.
– Hunter Bryant, a Rivals four-star tight end, has offers from Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State, and it was easy to see why.
At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Bryant was fluid with deceptive speed and quickness coming out of his breaks.
That level of athleticism allowed him to line up out wide Sunday, but could make him a valuable slot/fullback/tight end (H-back) in college.
– Four-star athlete Salvon Ahmed, who was unable to participate Sunday, gets a lot of hype and it’s well deserved, but Connor Wedington (Sumer High School) was the most dominant active player.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound safety had eight interceptions on the day and showed an elite ability to read, react and break on balls thrown within his wide striking distance.
– Alex Indelicato did this:
— Art Edgerly (@ArtEdgerlyFSP) February 22, 2016
– Get ready for Central Catholic sophomore Eli’Jah Winston, the younger brother of Oregon commit La’Mar Winston.
The linebacker/wide receiver played varsity football for the Rams last season and flashed a high-level skill-set.
It’s coming together and he’s a no-doubt future major FBS prospect.
– True middle linebackers struggle a bit in the pass-dominant 7-on-7 leagues, but Madison linebacker Daniel Green managed to showcase another attractive feature to his game… his fearlessness.
After falling behind by three scores early, Oregon Breed started to back down a bit from Bluechip’s aggressive, in-your-face style of football (and smack talk). The 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker dished it out right back, never letting the scoreboard effect his level of toughness or physicality on the field.
It’s a little thing, but it’s meaningful. Green was a presence.