The IMG 7v7 National Championships came to a close on Sunday, as Team Tampa and Cartersville High School were crowned national champions of the club and high school divisions, respectively.
The first round of the tournament took place on Saturday evening, and it seemed as though parity would be a factor when the top-seeded Cam Newton All-Stars were upset by the 19th-seeded South Florida Express Pro squad. However, the competition only grew more intense, as every team played as though they came too far to go home empty handed. By day's end, two of the early favorites going into the tournament met again for a rematch of the 2011 National Championship.
Maximum Exposure Blue, led by star QB Shane Morris (De La Salle HS, Warren, Mich.), and Team Tampa, led by cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, III (Wharton HS, Tampa, Fla.), were on a collision course toward the tournament final. Max Ex, as they are more commonly known, had a disappointing performance during pool play, earning a 13th seed, but regrouped and caught fire when the tournament began. Max Ex cruised through the first three rounds behind the stellar play of Morris. However, their path to the championship was interrupted by Team Tampa, who sent the Detroit-based team to the playback bracket in a semi-final game. Max Ex, determined to repeat as national champs, earned their way back into the title game. There they faced Team Tampa, an experienced and talented squad, who had finished as the runners-up for the last time. With outstanding performances by QB Pete DiNovo (Eastlake HS, Tampa, Fla.), WR Travis Johnson (Jesuit HS, Tampa, Fla.) and Vernon Hargreaves, Team Tampa hoisted the trophy as the 2012 IMG 7v7 National Championship for the club division, defeating Max Ex Blue by the score of 28-17.
âWe had a great run,â commented Team Tampa Head Coach Woodrow Grady after the big win. âTo be honest, we came here with a little redemption in mind after losing in the championship [last year>. We had the mindset this year to make it to the championship game and win it.â
QB Pete DiNovo was named as the Offensive MVP of the final, and Vernon Hargreaves, III was named Defensive MVP. In addition to recognition as MVP, each player also earned invitations to the 2012 ALL-MADDEN Mini Camp, to be held July 27-29.
This year's competition saw the first crowning of a high school division national champion - the Cartersville High School Purple Hurricanes. The Purple Hurricanes were dominant, going undefeated during pool play and championship tournament, and defeated Atlanta's Martin Luther King High School in the final game by the score of 26-16.
Cartersville QB Brooks Barden and DB Christian "Hayes" Linn were named offensive and defensive MVPs, respectively. They also earned invitations to the ALL-MADDEN Mini Camp in addition to being named MVP.
IMG teamed up with UNation to capture action photos and footage of the event throughout the weekend. A replay of the championship game, photos and interviews can be accessed by visiting: http://live.unation.com/imgacademies/
Snapshots from the day:
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