Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bentonville Brings Home Elite Championship

The Bentonville Tigers finished 10-0 en route to the Southwest Elite 7-on-7 Showcase Championship.  Controversy surrounded Bentonville coming into the tournament as they had planned to use 8 defenders on defense and dropping one "blitzer" on a knee on the snap to help them work on their regular season coverages.  However, seven defenders were all they used and all they needed as they rolled through their pool play to grab the #1 seed in the tournament.  They disposed of #16 seeded Jonesboro, 40-24, in the second round of the tournament (they had a first round bye).  Against #8 seed Fayetteville in the quarterfinals, Fayetteville had the ball with the game tied, but were stopped with 25 seconds left, giving Bentonville the 2 point win (stops were worth 2 points in this tournament).  They defeated #4 seed Har-Ber in the semifinals, 31-15, before needing another heroic stop in the finals against El Dorado, forcing a 3rd down incomplete pass from the 1-yard line as time expired and escaping with a 22-16 championship victory.

This gave the Tigers their first 7-on-7 championship of any tournament that we have on record.  They generally only compete in one or two tournaments each summer and usually do not fare well.  However, they made a statement this weekend, and I'm sure it's a statement that their 7A foes received loud and clear.  Quarterback Dallas Hardison did what he had to do to win, and receiver Desi Smith was a playmaker all weekend.  That tandem will be tough to stop in that Bentonville offense this fall.

Here are some of our notes on the tournament:

  • First of all, kudos to Bentonville.  They've been ragged on about the way they play 7 on 7, but now they showed they can do it if they focus on it.  
  • El Dorado's talent at the Shootout of the South was evident, but they made too many mistakes in dropped passes and some bad decisions throwing the ball.  QB Lucas Reed is a very good quarterback with lots of weapons, and that combination was much more consistent this weekend.  The strength of their team, however, may be their secondary.
  • Our favorite going into the tournament was Fayetteville.  They had a rough day one, but had big wins over previously unbeaten Olive Branch and Bastrop on day 2 before their showdown with Bentonville.
  • Rogers Heritage had another great tournament, only losing to Midwest City in pool play and in the quarterfinals to Har-Ber in a controversial ending as they were stopped on the half yard line as time expired.
  • Har-Ber's only losses were to Bentonville, but we felt that Fayetteville, El Dorado, and Rogers Heritage may be the only ones to have a shot at them, but they were challenged in a few games.  And that was before we realized that Bentonville had other ideas.
  • I don't think you can help but notice Shiloh's performance.  Everyone knew this was going to be a rebuilding year, but we thought they would be much improved by this point in the summer. They finished the tournament at 4-5.  The only glaring loss was to Charleston, but we are used to seeing Shiloh take down or at least compete with the big boys, and that just didn't happen this weekend.
We will try to post results later, meanwhile, you can go to the tournament's website at for results and a completed tournament bracket.

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