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Longhorn Commits Shine at 7-on-7

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. — Jaxon Shipley was unstoppable, Kendall Thompson looked as

good as ever, and several underclassmen made big waves. It was all a part of

the first day of the 2010 7-on-7 State Championships in College Station as the

64-team Division II tournament featuring schools from Class 3A on down through

the Texas private school ranks kicked off at Texas A&M’s Penberthy Fields.
Usually the weather in College Station in early July is brutal for spectators and players alike, but Thursday’s cloudy skies, steady breeze and lack of humidity made for good playing conditions and a comfortable setting for the state of the 14th edition of the Texas 7-on-7 State Tournament.

The two teams that stole the show on day one were Brownwood and Snyder as both Class 3A powerhouses went a combined 6-0 during pool play.

The Lions were led by Texas commit Jaxon Shipley, who was virtually un-coverable all day long and dominated from start to finish. Brownwood rolled in pool play defeating Rosebud-Lott (41-13), Jefferson (51-15), and Houston Kinkaid (47-21) with relative ease.

Led by 2011 sleeper Xavier Malone, a lockdown senior-to-be cornerback in Scott Smith and some steady passing from 2012 multi-faceted playmaker Keenon Ward, Snyder also cruised to a perfect 3-0 mark in pool play. The Tigers knocked off Aubrey (41-21), Iraan (60-12), Ingleside (35-18)to advance to the championship bracket tomorrow they will be one of the favorites to make a run at the state title.

FUTURE LONGHORNS SHINE

Jaxon Shipley was dominant on Thursday. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder stretched the field, ran precise routes and worked the middle of the field in traffic having his way with opposing defenses all day. It was a day where whatever Shipley wanted to do he did, and he did it very well.

Brownwood was knocked out by Celina is last year’s championship bracket, but with Shipley and the offense clicking on all cylinders the Lions have a great chance to win it all this time around.

“Our whole offseason is based on winning and teamwork,” Shipley said. “The offseason helped us get ready for this and we’re excited. We’re ready to get revenge on Celina.”

On the defensive side of the ball Carthage linebacker Kendall Thompson showed off his new physique as the 6-foot-3 ballhawk is now a trim 225 pounds and he’s quicker and faster than he was last year when he performed well at the state tournament. Thompson’s hips were fluid in pass coverage and his ability to read and react is now enhanced by his increased speed giving him added range.

The Bulldogs lost in the consolation bracket finals last year, but Thompson said this time around he and his teammates are focused on advancing in the championship bracket, which is where they will start on Friday morning.

“Really, we’re just trying to win it all,” Thompson said. “We don’t want to just get into the championship bracket – we want to win it all.”

Shipley and Brownwood will face a tough Gilmer team in the first round of championship bracket play while Thompson and Carthage will square off with Hitchcock next.

MISSING IN ACTION

There were actually a few big names missing from the state tournament on the first day – some expected, and some not expected.

Carthage 2012 two-way standout Edward Pope did not make the trip with Bulldogs as he’s still rehabbing a meniscus injury he suffered during track season. The 6-foot-3, 175-poumnd dynamic playmaker is expected to be at full strength when Carthage begins its quest for a third straight state championship next month.

Prosper was not expected to have 2012 defensive end/wide receiver Mario Edwards on hand since the 6-foot-3, 245-pounder is transferring to Denton Ryan for the 2010-11 school year. However, one notable name was missing from the Prosper lineup as 2013 prospect Torri Hunter, Jr., was listed on the roster but was not in action.

Hunter is the son of Los Angeles Angels All-Star outfielder Torri Hunter.

BEST ‘ON THE HOOF’

Here are three 2012 prospects from the Division I field who you would want getting off the bus first…

Justin Albritton, S, Anahuac – an ankle injury derailed his sophomore season, but the 5-foot-10, 182-pounder had 11 interceptions as freshman and has arms and legs that have already come close to filling out.

Dennis Smith, RB/S, Wimberley – the lone Texas A&M commit in the field has more than 3,000 career rushing yards but the 2012 standout looked smooth playing safety for Wimberley. He’s a man among boys at 6-foot-2, 205-pounds.

Keenon Ward, QB, Snyder – despite him being exclusively under center, there’s no denying that Ward is an impressive athlete. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder has already received interest from several Big 12 schools.

2012 TIGHT ENDS, QUARTERBACKS MAKE PRESENCE FELT

The tight end position in the 2012 class doesn’t look nearly like the 2011 crop of prospects, but a couple of names at the position emerged from the prospects on hand Thursday.

Marion’s Derek Pierce is a two-time All-District basketball player who is just now starting to warm up to the notion that he might have a bright future in football. The 6-foot-6, 215-pounder moves well and has a body that is a long way from physically developing. He showed that he isn’t afraid to be physical in the red zone and he’s got a solid skill set.

Waco Reicher’s Jordan Smith is an intriguing prospect at 6-foot-4, 190-pounds. Smith plays split end for the Cougars, but he looks like he’d be a good candidate to be an h-back type receiver because of his frame.

At the quarterback position perhaps the best-looking prospect on day one was Houston Second Baptist quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe. Already holding a Baylor offer, the 6-foot-4, 200-pounder displayed tremendous arm strength and with his combination of size and athletic ability (he was a top receiver for Texas freshman Connor Wood last year and as a freshman) could vault him into the first tier of quarterbacks in the 2012 class.

One name to keep an eye on is Houston Kinkaid’s Ford Childress. The 6-foot-5, 200-pounder displayed a strong, powerful arm and the 2012 passer certainly has genetics on his side. Childress’ father is former Houston Oilers defensive lineman Ray Childress.

Canyon Lake 2012 quarterback Jeff Nabors also had a good day throwing the football as did Sanger’s Dane Evans.

OTHER UNDERCLASSMEN WHO STOOD OUT

East Texas powerhouse Gilmer is making its first ever appearance in the state tournament, but the Buckeyes have has much talent as anyone in the field and advanced to Friday’s championship bracket.

The Buckeyes have several outstanding underclassmen including 2012 cornerback Trey Webb and receiver Darian Pollard. The best of the bunch for Gilmer however was 2013 cornerback Tray Washington. Look for Washington to spend a lot of tomorrow’s opening round game locked up one-on-one with Jaxon Shipley.

It was a rough day for West Orange-Stark but 2012 cornerback Justin Thomas looked good. Undersized at 5-foot-8, 165-pounds, Thomas is a tremendous competitor with quick feet and a sound ability to make plays on the football. His cousin is former Longhorn safety Earl Thomas.

Newton’s Brent Spikes (6-0, 185, 4.4) also had a good day. Spikes won the fastest man competition at Texas’ June 13 minicamp.

ACTION RESUMES FRIDAY MORNING

The Division II tournament resumes at 8 a.m. with single elimination bracket play. The consolation bracket begins play at 8 a.m. while the championship bracket games starts at 9 a.m.

The championship games in both brackets will be played at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field.

The Division I (5A/4A) tournament begins pool play at 1 p.m.