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Miami Westminster Christian rolls to USF title

In the 14 years that the University of South Florida has hosted the Sling & Shoot 7-on-7 tournament, there have been several south Florida teams who have competed and have done very well.

This past weekend, one of the emerging 3A programs in Florida finally had the chance to showcase some of the most underexposed athletes in the state when coach Sedric Irvin’s Miami Westminster Christian Warriors surprised a 44-team field to take home the team title.

In becoming the first program from south Florida to capture this quality event that is loaded with Hillsborough, Pinellas and gulf coast area teams, the Warriors won 11 of 12 games and gave the west coast fans a glimpse of what could be one of the real forces this coming season.

In a tournament that came down to a defensive battle – with the Warriors beating Tampa Bay Tech, 12-7, in the finale, it was actually the offense that clicked – and continued to click.

“We told this team during the spring that we would outwork any team on our schedule,” Irvin said. “I believe that after three years, they understand that you get out what you put in – to anything.”

Irvin watched his quarterback Hunter Boyett, one of the under the radar 2014 prospects, completely take over a stage that was filled with some of the state’s top passers. Boyett threw just one interception in two days and had 29 touchdown passes.

As Boyett continued to climb that publicity ladder, junior transfer Devonaire Clarington, who came from Miami Southridge, dominated, coming up with several key game-winning catches. His reception with time running out against Tampa Bay Tech was the difference maker.

Boyett’s performance may have come as a surprise to some, but to Irvin and this quality team, he did what he has been doing since being healthy.

“I have said all along that there are not too many quarterbacks who are even close to being at Hunter’s level,” Irvin said. “I think this weekend, he more than backed that up. He was the leader he’s been since I arrived here.”

In addition to Boyett and Clarington. 2015 standouts Jordan Cronkite and Tim Irvin, and Class of 2016 difference maker Tony Gaiter, Jr., the son of one-time University of Miami standout Tony Gaiter, Sr.

"There were so many key performers this weekend," Irvin said. "This is honestly a team effort."

Among the programs at this year’s event included Seffner Armwood, Tampa Wharton, Haines City, Jacksonville Lee, Jacksonville Ribault, St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins, Tampa Middleton, Sarasota, Naples, Fort Myers, Land O’Lakes, Palm Harbor University and Pierce County, Ga.), which handed Westminster Christian its only loss. Davie Western also made a great showing as well.