The Cedar Shoals Jaguars went 4-6 last season under first-year head coach Chris Davis. Coming up on his first full year of taking over the program, Davis is taking the Jaguars into new territory as they attended the Auburn University High School 7-on-7 event this past week. Cedar Shoals has taken part in FCA 7-on-7’s in the past yet this level of competition was different with the likes of Prattville (AL), Brynes (SC) and DeSoto Central (MS) among others.
“We had a terrible first day,” Cedar Shoals head coach Chris Davis said.
The Jaguars went 2-5 during pool play on the first day but rebounded on the second day defeating Prattville (AL), Jefferson Davis (AL), Callaway (Hogansville, GA) and DeSoto Central (MS) in the tournament portion of the event before losing to Callaway in the B Flight Finals. When it was all said and done Cedar Shoals finished 6-6 overall at the event.
Rising senior Quvntay Burdette and rising Breon Mitchell held their own at their receiver spots while rising freshman Ryan Huff- who led his 8th grade team in INTs last season and Trevor Burgess stood out with solid showings in the secondary. Cedar lineman Frank Wilson won the Most Improved Lineman Award at the event.
“Our receivers got better and our secondary improved for the most part,” Davis stated. “It was a great start to the summer. We need to get more consistent. The guys had fun and saw what it takes to be a big time program.”
Byrnes just keeps improving while continuing to win. After losing head coach Chris Miller to Spartanburg (SC), the Rebels promoted offensive coordinator and offensive guru Bobby Bentley to head coach to lead the program again. It is Bentley’s second stint as head coach of the Rebels. If that were not enough, the Rebels went into the state of Georgia and hired North Gwinnett’s defensive coordinator Mo Dixon to run their defense. During his time at North Gwinnett under head coach Bob Sphire, all Dixon did was garner rave reviews from Sphire while helping the Bulldogs to seven 10-plus winning seasons and three region crowns in the hotbed of high school football talent that is Gwinnett County (GA).
During pool play Cedar Shoals went up against nationally known and respected Byrnes out of nearby Duncan, SC. The Rebels got the best of the Jaguars enroute to winning two titles. Shuler Bentley (ODU) and Shaedon Meadors shined for the Byrnes “A” championship team while rising freshman Jake Bentley (verbal to Auburn) and Micah Young carried the “B” team.
“They have big time swagger,” Davis said of Byrnes. “This could be one of their best teams particularly depth wise, they are loaded and [Shuler] Bentley (Byrnes QB who has passed for 8,200+ yards and 106 TD the past two seasons) is the real deal,” Davis added.
Byrnes will host the South Carolina Qualifier, also known as the Palmetto State Showdown, of the National Select 7-on-7 Championship Series next weekend (July 14th and 15th) in Duncan, SC. The Rebels have won three of the previous five tournaments. Brunswick (GA) will be in the field and are the only team from outside of South Carolina to win the event doing so in 2011. Wren (SC), located in the Greenville, SC is the only other team from South Carolina to win the event in the previous five years.
Byrnes was not ranked in the early Max Preps Xcellent Top 25 as Northwestern (SC) was the lone South Carolina team to land in the Top 25 however odds are they will finish there with Shuler Bentley & Co. looking to win another state title while Gaffney (SC) led by Shaq Davidson and Hyleck Foster along with several others, will be hot on their tails.