Cleveland, OH - Carol City High School, representing the Miami Dolphins, reached the NFL High School Player Development National 7-on-7 Tournament’s championship game, but fell just short, 24-14, to the team representing the Detroit Lions. This was the fifth consecutive year that a team representing the Dolphins reached the championship game.
“The kids played the tournament with a lot of courage and a lot of heart and represented South Florida and the Dolphins really well,” Carol City Assistant Coach Andre Stafford said. “They fought until the end, but it’s a tough loss to deal with. It doesn’t feel too good, but it’s a good reminder how to continue to work hard and not give up.”
Carol City suffered only one loss throughout the tournament before being defeated by the Detroit Lions. The Chiefs went 4-1 on Day 1 of the tournament, and won their first six games on Day 2 before dropping the finale. Carol City outscored its opponents, 413-261, over both days of the tournament and won by an average margin of 16.3 points in victories.
Carol City quarterback Trayon Gray and wide receiver Theodore Hammonds led the way for the Chiefs. Gray threw 56 touchdowns over the two days of games, with many of them going to Hammonds. Hammonds also had six interceptions in the tournament.
Carol City began single elimination games with a narrow victory over the team representing the New York Jets, 28-21. They then defeated the team representing the New England Patriots, 28-21, to go undefeated in division play.
Carol City got its biggest test in the Elite 8 against the team representing the Pittsburgh Steelers, when they used a 44-yard touchdown in overtime to move on to the semi-finals. Carol City booked its ticket to the championship match by beating the team representing the Denver Broncos 38-21.
“Obviously, this is a tough loss to swallow for Carol City. The kids fought hard, and I admire their scrappy grit and competiveness,” Miami Dolphins Youth Programs Director Twan Russell said. “There was never a sign of quit in them and our organization cannot be more proud of them and Carol City High School. This experience in competing against other teams on a national level will give them great momentum heading into their season.”
Despite the disappointment, Carol City feels that the loss can be a learning lesson and build chemistry for their upcoming season.
“This builds momentum because we have chemistry now, and we are learning how to play together,” Gray said. “It’s going to have good impact on our season.”
For more information on the Miami Dolphins Youth Football Clinic, Youth Football Camps, or school visits, contact the Miami Dolphins Youth and Community Programs Department at (305) 943-7272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional photos of the tournament, visit the Dolphins Academy Facebook page.
(Photo Credit Miami Dolphins)