By Brandon Speck
HOOVER, Ala. – Oxford didn’t get the championship it wanted, but the Chargers got plenty of what they needed during the weekend’s National Select 7-on-7 National Championships.
After a drowsy effort and 3-4 record in Friday’s pool play, Oxford went 3-2 in tournament play on Saturday at Hoover High and Hoover Met.
“It’s like two different teams from yesterday to today,” Oxford coach Johnny Hill said. “(Friday) I just don’t think we played hard and didn’t compete, had our lip poked out all day long. That’s not what we’re about. Today, we fought hard. We played well.”
Warren Easton, from New Orleans, went 12-1 overall to win the tournament.
Oxford drew a No. 17 seed after pool play and won its opener Saturday to draw top seed and then-unbeaten Brandon, and a 30-23 loss that sent the Chargers to the loser’s bracket. They reeled off back-to-back wins against Nequa Valley (Ill.) and Dutch Fork (S.C.) before losing 20-12 to host Hoover for the second time on the weekend.
“Brandon made two plays that were really unbelievable. Our defensive guys, you can’t cover a guy better than that. They just made a play,” Hill said. “All in all, I was pleased with today’s performance. I think we learned something. I think we grew up down here. Hopefully we can transition that over to the season.”
Last season’s Class 5A runner-up, Oxford hosts a jamboree at Ole Miss on Aug. 15-16 before it opens the season on Aug. 22 at Jackson Prep. Hoover wrapped up Oxford’s seventh 7-on-7 tournament of the summer.
The Chargers played without three guys – linebacker Mike McGee after injuring his thumb Friday, starting 6-foot-5 junior inside receiver Zach Cousar and linebacker J.R. Anderson got hurt against Brandon.
A lot of opposing defensive attention goes to Ole Miss-committed junior D.K. Metcalf, but junior Kyree White is an x-factor who’ll have to be accounted for by opponents, too.
White had a solid weekend. He caught three touchdown passes against Dutch Fork – one against safety Stephen Davis, son of former NFL running back Stephen Davis, whose offers include Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia and Missouri.
“I think mentally our guys grew up today and showed what it takes to win,” Hill said.