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Larry Blustein

FRIDAY FOCUS: South Florida Express Sweep 7-on-7 Event In Cali

Larry Blustein
April 13, 2018 - 8:15 am

Whether or not you like 7-on-7 football, you have to appreciate the levels these companies are going to for this not-so-offseason competition.

What has happened, and please close your eyes for a second football purists – is 7-on-7 football (in some circles) is more popular than the real game.

It hurts for someone like me, who has been around for a few off-seasons, to acknowledge where we have come. But it’s true and money is being made – more an more each year, at every level of the “season”.

For the past two years, athletes – not at winning programs – but still football players – asking me when 7-on-7 tryouts start. Really!

This 7-on-7 all-star circuit is not just a Florida thing. Houston has one of the best teams around, and other parts of the country send their quality athletes to tournaments. But where South Florida separates itself is they have three and four teams that are ultra competitive with each other – from a talent standpoint.

Remember, the Fire, Hard Knocks, Nghtmr and the South Florida Express have all been among the best in the country – along with others.

When the Fire went to Nashville, the competition was fierce and they won it all. SFE won two titles at IMG.

To really say who the best program is down in South Florida comes down to what day it is. The Fire have dominated nationally the past four years. SFE has done very well this year.

CALIFORNIA IS NO DREAM

What happened during a recent trip to Los Angeles for the Adidas National Championship, is that Brett Goetz and his team came away with the title – but this three day blur of a trip to the west coast – was much more than that.

From Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles to In & Out Burger, a Laker game and even the Stars Walk of Fame, players and coaches had the chance to spread a little Florida sunshine in California.

In winning this tournament, many players were continued to watch the world unfold one trip at a time.

“Unlike many people who live for 7-on-7, it is only an enhancement for our athletes to stay sharp and focused,” Goetz said. “The life lessons are amazing. We never had anything like this back in our day.”

In addition to playing football, the athletes watched the stars come out with Snoop Dogg, (Miami Beach High’s) Chad Johnson and former Rams safety Kayvon Webster (Monsignor Pace) were on hand to add to this impressive event.

“What a great time we had,” said University School 2019 running back Kenny McIntosh explained. “It was really a great trip – and to check out LA was great.”

In addition to McIntosh, the South Florida Express had quarterback Nik Scalzo (Cardinal Gibbons), receivers Jacorey Brooks (Miami Booker T. Washinton) , Jamal Cooney (St. Thomas Aquinas), John Dunmore (Chaminade-Madonna), and recent Class of 2020 standout transfer Marcus Fleming, who is now at the growing powerhouse, Miami Southridge.

In addition, Baron Grant (Doral Academy), Frank Ladson (South Dade), Malik Rutherford (Champagnat Catholic) and Jaylin Young (Delray American Heritage) – and Cardinal Gibbons’ tight end Nik Ognenovic.

The defense was also impressive in California – with Miami Carol City defensive back Jarvis Brownlee stealing the show.

Brownlee and St. Thomas Aquinas standouts Jaden Davis, Semar Melvin, Derek Wingo and Jordan Battle – along with 2020 standout Henry Gray (Miami Central).

Shutting down some of the nation’s top receivers, he secondary also featured elite prospects such as Tyrique Stevenson, who recently transferred to Southridge – Josh Sanguinetti (University School), and Chaminade-Madonna major prospects Keontra Smith and Te’Cory Couch.  

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each week on WQAM (560AM). For the past 11 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot about football recruiting!

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