From the mixer to the championship round, the 2020 Endzone 7v7 tournament was a first class event. Day 1 was action packed with teams from North Carolina, California, Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Colorado & of course, Texas. True Buzz (TX) definitely stood out, not just because of their vibrant uniforms, but mainly due to their big play ability. With arguably the best quarterback duo in the tournament, Kaidon Salter and Jalen Kitna, both 4 star athletes, made sure their squad was never out of a game. Kameron Allen, who is listed as a Tight End but showed off wideout skill. Standing 6’5, a the three star player will be one to watch. As electric as the offense was, the defense wasn’t too shabby. Stud athletes such as 4 star DB Jantzen Dunn, OLB Jaydon Williams and young Jamel Johnson, made plays consistently all over the field.
The Pro Way (CA) proved why Cali players are amongst the elite in high school football. I spoke with one of the receivers on the team, Malachi Riley, the night before the tournament at the media mixer and he seemed unquestionably comfortable about what he was about to do. He’s currently a freshman and already have an offer from Oregon. Let’s not forget about Jeremy Naborne – this kid is a star in the making. A DB that can play both ways is a true gift. One of the best plays all weekend was when Naborne snagged a one handed interception away from the WR on day two. The Pro Way made it all the way to the semifinals before being eliminated but undoubtedly left a mark in the Endzone tournament.
Hall of fame legend Deion Sanders and Prime Truth put everybody on notice from the moment they walked in the gate that they were not there for show and tell. They came to play! The whole vibe was just different, you can feel the energy from the parking lot. The irony of it all, Deion coach the offense, led by his son, Shedeur Sanders. This offense was a machine, it felt like they were snapping the ball every 10 seconds. When Shedeur was out, QB Alex Orji of Bishop Dunne had no problem moving the ball. There were many great athletes on the field but one that caught my attention was Manny Ruiz, who is also a Texas state champion at La Vega. Ruiz typically plays safety for his school but got his hands dirty in the reciever spot. A good route runner with exceptional hands. Look for big things from Manny next season. The overall conduct behavior of this team deserves all the praise. Prime Truth displayed professionalism and respect towards everyone they came in contact with, including their adversaries. Although they were bounced from the tournament in the semifinals, they’ll make plenty of noise this 7v7 season.
Championship games are the best of the best and Texas Flex and South Florida Express proved why they were the last two teams standing. Some can make a case that this was the best game of tournament. In the semifinal round, Texas Flex defeated The Pro Way and South Florida Express took down Prime Truth to advance to the 2020 Endzone Championship bout. Four star gunslinger Garrett Nussmeier of Texas Flex got them off to an early start. According to 247 Sports, Nussmeier is the 7th ranked pro-style quarterback. Perhaps the brightest spot on this team is the secondary, one of the best in 7v7. Deuce Harmon is one of the smaller corners in his class but you’ll never know by his play – he sticks to his man, never grab and rely on his ball skills, you can tell he’s been taught well. The same can be said for 2022 Jalon Peoples who also have his share of collegiate offers. Much respect to Coach Flight and Coach O for putting together a formidable squad.
Unfortunately for every other team in the dance, there can only be one left standing and the 2020 Endzone crown went to South Florida Express. 2021 pocket passer Nick Vattiato was dealing out dimes the whole weekend but he really shined when the title was on the line – connecting with what seems like his favorite receiver, Mario Williams, on many occasions. When things broke down, he was the go-to guy. Williams is the top ranked WR on ESPN’s 300 list. The 2021 recruit have great hand-eye coordination, can catch in traffic and a great release off of his routes. However, he wasn’t out there alone. With the help of Malik Rutherford and Trevonte Rucker, you probably had the best wide receivers versus the best secondary (Texas Flex) in the final game. DB Tyson Russell of powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas took home the defensive MVP award. South Florida Express got behind early but it went down to the wire and they prevailed with a 30-26 win to earn the Endzone 7v7 championship trophy. Great weekend for high school football, special shout out to Coach Gordon and the rest of the crew for an incredible event.