Oakland captured its second straight Tennessee Titans 7-on-7 passing tournament title on Wednesday at Ted Rhodes Park, and the reigning Class 6A semifinalist Patriots did so without one of their star players in the championship game.
JaCoby Stevens, a 2015 Mr. Football finalist and one of just two five-star prospects in Tennessee, came up hobbling after hauling in an acrobatic touchdown reception in the semifinal win over East Nashville.
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“I know I came out with an injury, but it was nice to be able to sit on the sidelines and see my teammates shine,” said Stevens, who suffered a mild ankle sprain, according to second-year Patriots coach Kevin Creasy. “I came down and I felt my ankle kind of roll so I knew it was a sprain. I got back up and tried to walk on it but need some help off the field.”
“It’s kind of like real football,” Creasy added. “Somebody is going to get hurt and somebody is going to have to step up.”
Stevens’ replacement, senior receiver Shun Reed, made the most of his opportunity, pulling in the eventual game-winning touchdown grab in the Patriots’ 22-14 championship triumph over defending Division II-AA champion Brentwood Academy.
“In the season (Stevens) might have toughed it out and gone back in,” Creasy said. “But it gave another person an opportunity to step up, and I think Shun Reed did a great job going in for him. We know what JaCoby can do, and I think it helps our quarterback (Brendan Matthews) find some other guys that he can rely on.”
Oakland, which also captured a 30-0 quarterfinal win over Harpeth, will travel to Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday to compete in the Powerade 7-on-7 Invitational. Creasy said that he and his staff will “play it by ear” with regards to Stevens.
“I think I’ll be ready to roll,” Stevens said. “They made me stay out of (Wednesday’s) championship game, but I wanted to play.”
The Eagles, led by tournament MVP Camron Johnson, were without standout quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall, who was on a service trip to Uganda, Africa. But Brentwood Academy hardly missed a beat behind backup Gavin Schoenwald.
“He did great,” Eagles coach Cody White said of Schoenwald, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior. “We always have said that if he played at any other school in the state that he’d be the starter. That’s a nice thing to have.”
Other teams in Wednesday’s tournament included Clarksville, Northeast, Northwest, Ezell-Harding, Lipscomb, Page, Rossview and Wayne County.
“We’ve never wanted to be one-hand touch football champions, but if you worry about getting yourself better, especially with the football skills involved in 7-on-7, the winning will take care of itself,” Creasy said.