On a hot and humid July Saturday morning hundreds of athletes descended on McArthur Football field to compete for the coveted Elite 7v7 Championship Cup & Lineman Challenge team championship.
The morning started unlike any other sports event in the nation. It began by student athletes learning the value of giving back. They each were required to bring one canned food item to feed the homeless through our Keeping Dreams Alive Foundation Food Drive. They brought hundreds of cans of food that will be donated to the local food bank. A lesson in gratitude that we hope will become a daily habit.
In a time in our nation’s history when unity and love are so desperately needed, these group of young men came, showed their gratitude, fought hard on the playing field and left with experiences that they will never forget. And one team, the Western Wildcats, went undefeated and took home the coveted Elite 7v7 NFA High School Championship Cup. Another team, the Douglas Eagles lineman, took home the Lineman Championship Cup.
As each of the 7v7 teams competed in their pool play, looking to put a lot of points on the board to get a high seed in the Championship round their ‘Big Men’ were competing in their own competition. The first of it’s kind in the State of Florida. The ‘Big Man’ Lineman Challenge Team Championship. The challenge was lead by legendary offensive line coach, with 5 National Championships at the University of Miami, Coach Art Kehoe. Coach Kehoe put those lineman through the most grueling challenges these lineman have competed in and their high school coaches had ever seen. They were competing for the Offensive and Defensive MVP Trophies in the morning round and the coveted Team Championship Cup in the afternoon round.
The morning round started with 10 high school teams competing and by the afternoon Team Challenge there were only 5 left to compete for the title. There’s no way you were going to come to this challenge not in great shape. It was a test of their will and attitude and the strong survived. All 5 teams that competed were winners, but only one was crowned champion and that was the Douglas Eagles ‘Big Men’. Like Coach May, head coach of the Douglas Eagles stated,”All games are won in the trenches, and I knew my guys had what it took. I’m not surprised at all that they won this competition.”
There were also 2 MVP awards given out after the morning event. Both athletes that won play for the Piper Bengals. Coach Coleman had his young men in shape and ready to compete to win too. Joshua Pierre-Louise won the Defensive Lineman MVP and Wilbermane Louima won the Offensive Lineman MVP.
The Elite 7v7 event started the morning session with pool play with some high flying action as the teams battled for points to get the highest seed possible for the afternoon single elimination Championship Rounds. Western High School finished the morning pool play with a perfect record and weren’t going to be denied to win the coveted Championship Cup. They played the Championship game against Archbishop McCarthy and won the Championship soundly. The MVP’s for the Elite 7v7 Championship were Harrison Story QB, Western Offensive MVP and Robert Ruble DB, Western Defensive MVP.
There were close to 500 student athletes that came to compete in this 6th Annual Elite 7v7 NFA High School Championship & Lineman Challenge. Congratulations to all who competed, you are all winners. And congratulations to the Western Wildcats for winning the coveted Championship Cup. The Cup will have a nameplate with their name that will forever be placed on the Cup and they will keep it at their school for everyone to see until returning it next year to defend their title.
A special thanks all of the participating high school coaches that made this event such a huge success. And a special thanks to Coach Willis May for bringing 4 superstar freshmen football players that volunteered for the event. These young men were an integral part in the success of the event as well. Also, a huge thanks to Ryan Stoutt and Bob Webster for keeping the event running smooth and making sure the athletes and fans were fed and hydrated. And all of these fantastic photos from the event would not have been available had it not been for our HSPN Sports Journalists Jason Beede and Kyle Wood. As well as the our strategic partner Florida High School Football for covering and promoting the event. It goes without saying, thank you McArthur High School for allowing the Keeping Dreams Alive Foundation the opportunity to have such great events at such a great facility.
And a special thanks to the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau for you continued underwriting support for the 2nd year in a row! Thanks for supporting our kids… Make sure to visit Hello Sunny.
See you next July for the 7th Annual Elite 7v7 Championship & Lineman Challenge!