Gulf High has been turning heads during 7-on-7 games, and in last weekend’s USF Sling-N-Shoot tournament, it was more of the same.
Gulf coach Jason Messamore said his team went 7-2 despite having only 10 players in the two-day tournament. The Buccaneers lost in the third round to Hillsborough County power Alonso, 20-16. Before facing the Ravens, Gulf defeated Tallahassee Rickards, Pierce County and Strawberry Crest.
“It’s a little bit different from year one when we competed in 7-on-7,” Messamore said. “This being the second year, they understand a lot more of what we’re doing and the players play with great effort. We got a lot of compliments from other coaches on how hard the guys played. Something we didn’t do a lot of last year was play hard and it’s good to see that we compete on every play.”
With both Avery Welch and Keshaun Peters, who has primarily played quarterback this summer, now eligible, the Buccaneers could be a contender in Class 5A-District 7. But Messamore wants the team to remember that there are no guarantees that 7-on-7 success will translate to 11-on-11 play.
“It’s encouraging to see our guys can play full 7-on-7 games, but it’s nothing like a real game,” Messamore said. “As far as 7-on-7 goes, we usually match up very well with most teams. Keshaun played very well at quarterback. All of our receivers caught at least one pass in every game.
“We played a couple teams that physically, they could probably handle us in 11-on-11 because they got linebackers that are 220 pounds and ours are about 160 or so. It is all about learning to win for us. We start worrying about what’s written about us, that could slow us down.”
Hernandez sees improvement
Wesley Chapel was among the three Pasco schools, along with Gulf and Land O’ Lakes, that took part in USF’s annual passing tournament. Wildcats coach Tico Hernandez said the Wildcats went 4-4 with three close losses.
“The competition at USF is only going to play a huge part for us this fall,” Hernandez said. “Hopefully these 2,000-plus reps in 7-on-7 will go a long way.’’
The Wildcats are hosting a youth camp next week for grades 3 through 6 that will run from July 28-July 30. Hernandez hopes being active in the community, will pay dividends for the program in the future.
“When you have a community football camp, the kids have fun with it,” Hernandez said. “It’s just a fun way to show the community we’re here to help them.”
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.