John Tyler decided not to pass up another opportunity to fine-tune its throwing attack.
JT accepted an at-large invitation to compete in the third annual Red Bull Game Breakers 7-on-7 national finals. The two-day event, slated to take place at Jesuit College Prep School in Dallas, features 22 teams from seven different states: Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas.
The Lions gained entry after failing to gain at automatic berth at the Fort Worth regional on June 26 in Arlington. JT posted a 1-2 record at the Fort Worth/Arlington qualifier after going unbeaten the first four weeks of summer.
The Lions bring a 17-2 record into the national tournament. JT went undefeated in practice league play at Lindale and Whitehouse during June, as well as at the Lufkin state qualifier and the Camp of Conquerors event in Cedar Hill before taking their first setbacks.
“The guys are real humble about the situation considering how we did at regionals,” JT coach Reginald Coleman said. “It left a bad taste in our mouth. We’re all about redemption and giving more effort.”
Two teams qualified from 10 regional sites in New Orleans, Tulsa, Okla., Overland Park, Kan., Denver, San Diego, Birmingham, Austin, Houston, Fort Worth (Arlington) and Dallas.
Defending champion Arlington Martin returns to highlight a field including Arlington, Arlington Seguin, Clairton (Pa.), Blue Valley North (Overland Park, Kan.), Cedar Hill, Columbus (Miami, Fla.), Cypress-Fairbanks, Denver South (Colo.), DeSoto, Edison (Tulsa, Okla.), Georgetown, Houston Kashmere, JT, Lewisville Hebron, Manvel, McMain (New Orleans, La.), Midwest City (Okla.), Round Rock Stony Point, San Antonio Warren, Shreveport Evangel Christian (La.) and Temple.
JT competes at the Texas Division I 7-on-7 state championship next week in College Station. They focused on nationals during the week, however, and making the most of the passing league season.
The 2011 Lions totaled 3,547 yards passing with 32 touchdowns. The JT defense interested 18 passes last year.
“Our mindset is take care of business at nationals, carry it over to state and leave the summer on good note,” Coleman said. “The kids want to win regardless. They’re not ready for it to be over. They’re looking at it we’re going to take it one game at a time.”
NOTES: JT will open up pool play in the 64-team Texas Division I state tournament Friday, July 20 in College Station. JT is grouped in Pool F with Lewisville Hebron, El Paso Montwood and Katy Taylor. JT plays at 1 p.m. (Hebron), 3 p.m. (Taylor) and 5 p.m. (Montwood). The top two finishers in each pool advances to the championship bracket on Saturday. Area teams qualifying for state in are: (Division I) John Tyler, Longview, Robert E. Lee and Whitehouse; and (Division II) Bullard, Canton and Grace Community …TRU BLU 2016, a team made up mainly of incoming John Tyler freshmen, went 0-3 last week at the PrimeTime Sports Tournament of Championship 7-on-7 state event. The Tyler team competed in the ninth-grade division.