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It’s finally here football season is upon us, we at Generation NexXt are proud to bring you the 2017 National Preseason Playoff series as part of the Youth National Championship series. This past weekend in Orlando were over 60 teams from as far as Colorado, Maryland, Georgia, Alabama all vying for a chance to win the National Preseason Kickoff Classic and put themselves square in position to be ranked high when the very first rankings are out. It was a playoff atmosphere with some of thee very best teams in the country with some very memorable Championship match ups that will prepare any team for whatever their regular season throws at them. With over 4,000 spectators in attendance these teams left it all on the field and put on a show that will set the tone for the 2017 season. So, with that being said if you weren’t in attendance that won’t be a problem because we at GenNexXt aim to please with a recap of this weekend’s Champions & teams to keep an eye out for during the year.
The beauty of this past weekend event was the programs coming out to compete on a National level, the Daytona Cowboys were a 1st year program looking to give their kids a taste of what to expect from there program. Worth mentioning the Daytona Cowboys brought four teams and even though they didn’t win anything they competed and never gave up, letting their kids know this is what they can expect playing for the Cowboys program competing on the big stage. Speaking of big stage another program that also was fresh to the National scene was the Tampa Bay Area Jags who brought home the 7u National Preseason Kickoff championship with a 7-0 victory over National Powerhouse program the Atlanta Ducks Elite in a nail biter. The Jags 11u were also making noise being a thorn in the nationally ranked Miami Gardens Chiefs side in two match ups that they loss by a combined 12 points. You can also throw a third Jags team that earned respect this past weekend which was their 10u who’s only loss was to the Atlanta Ducks Elite on an errant snap that resulted in the games only score. The thing that was most impressive about the Jags program from Tampa was this program is out of a weighted league competing with unlimited team’s kudos to that program that earned its respect by competing with whoever they drew in this tournament.
One of the toughest brackets to start things out was the 8u division which had three 1# teams in their respective states Deerfield Packer Rattlers (FL), Georgia Seminoles (Ga), 8 Mile Giants (AL). While those were odds out favorites to bring home the 8u Championship the first blow was struck when the Lauderhill Lions played the Georgia Seminoles to a tie which had spectators doubting would the Seminoles make it the Championship game. With the Seminoles tying the Lions, in stepped the Packer Rattlers who were 2 and a half minutes short of knocking off the number 1# ranked 8u team in the nation the 8 miles Giants out of Alabama. With Deerfield playing lights out defense and making every tackle smothering the Giants offense it was looking as if the Giants run was over, but football is a game of momentum which went in the Giants favor when the Packer Rattlers fumbled in their own territory. With a little over 2 minutes left the Giants lead by athlete 1# Zy Wilson would score from 23 yards out in two plays and add the extra point for the victory in a thriller. On Championship Sunday, the 8 Mile Giants would clash with Georgia Seminoles in a much anticipated match up that resulted in the 8 Mile Giants repeating as National Preseason Playoff Series Champs with a 12-6 victory lead by Mvp performance from 1# Zay Wilson.
The Lauderhill Lions start their season off with a bang capturing the 9u National Preseason Playoff series Championship with a tightly contested victory over the Atlanta Ducks Elite.
In a bracket loaded with 3 Georgia Powers in the Atlanta Ducks Elite, Welcome All Panthers & Frank Callen you knew you would get your monies worth when you add South Florida’s Miramar Wolverines as well as the Maryland Seahawks. The Wolverines started strong but would run into Savannah Georgia’s Frank Callen who proved to be too much for the Wolverines bouncing them out of the final four. Another team that would have a tough go at things was the Maryland Seahawks who would lose two close match ups to Welcome All Roc Boys and the Atlanta Ducks Elite, which is nothing to hang your head about since both of those teams are Nationally ranked. So, the final four was set the rematch of last year’s National Championship Frank Callen vs Welcome All & Tampa Bay Area Jags vs Atlanta Ducks Elite. In the National Title rematch, the Roc boys jumped out early behind a strong run game putting Frank Callen on their heels, but being in this position before Frank Callen would fight back and make a game of this playoff game but eventually come up short. With the Roc boys punching their ticket in the Championship game it was only fitting the Ducks Elite out duel previously undefeated Tampa Jags who gave the game away on a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Hometown rivals & league rivals now battle for early bragging rights in Atlanta you would think it was late November how tense & electric this atmosphere was. In a game that was closely matched the Roc Boys simply made more plays behind Alonzo Jackson Jr. who is a spark plug with tons of speed this kid scored every game and he makes you hold your breath each time he touches the ball. The Roc Boys earned the 1st win in this 2017 rivalry versus the Ducks Elite earning a Preseason Championship as well as hometown bragging rights till these two powerhouses collide during regular season.
The 11u was long hyped before this season started, when the Welcome All Panthers 10u team last year didn’t make the trip to face off with the Miami Gardens Chiefs in a National Championship game the trash talk started after the season. But before we could get that match up both teams would have to handle business going thru the likes of Rockledge Raiders (FL), Hilltop Hawks (OH), Tampa Bay Area Jags just to name a few teams standing in the way of two Nationally ranked teams who both have a claim for the 1# National ranking in the 11u age group. The Hilltop Hawks traveled from Ohio with their single wing offense looking to make some noise which they did on the 1st day behind a bruising running game, but Championship day wasn’t kind to the Hawks at all. The Hawks drew top seed Welcome All Panthers who were looking like they were in midseason form already with the display of dominance they showed on the offensive & defensive side of the ball destroying the Hilltop Hawks 35-0. Now with the Panthers stamping their spot in the championship game it was the Chiefs turn to meet the Panthers in the ship. Things sound all so easy when you’re saying it but it’s another story to prove it and facing the Jags for the 2nd time, let’s just say the Jags would make their job oh so hard, but the Chiefs wouldn’t be denied edging out the Jags 6-0 placing them in a much-anticipated Championship game. The very first thing you notice about the Welcome All Panthers 11u is their size but don’t be fool they can run with anyone which is what the Chiefs would find out in the Championship game. The Panthers are led by speedster C.J Penn and the Chiefs by young field general Antonio Smith the match up we’ve all been waiting 8 months to see was happening. Welcome All Panthers Head Coach P predicted the Chiefs wouldn’t score and his team followed suit behind Quarterback Prentiss “Air” Noland leading his team throwing darts and directing 3 scoring drives putting the game out of reach. The Panthers made good on that prediction imposing their will on the Chiefs settling things between the lines and winning the National Preseason Kickoff Classic in dominating fashion 18-0 over the Miami Gardens Chiefs. The Panthers won round 1 will it be a round 2? I don’t know but that rest solely on the shoulders of the Miami Gardens Chiefs after all they still have an entire regular season in front of them.
Melbourne Hurricanes, East Boynton Wildcats, Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes, Daytona Cowboys, Tucker Lions plus the Plantation Wildcats had their work cut out for them trying to knock off the mighty Atlanta Ducks Elite. If you are unaware of who the Ducks Elite are they’re the team that hasn’t lost a regular season game in over 6 years with players like Terrance Love, Travis Booker, Horace Lockett, Jelani “Tank” Thurman no secret why they’ve been nearly unbeatable. Enough about the Ducks already, we will shift our focus on the upset that took some by surprise which was the Melbourne Hurricanes knocking off South Florida power Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes holding them scoreless with a 7-0 victory in a defensive battle. With Melbourne Hurricanes upset that put the Plantation Wildcats in the driver’s seat as the biggest threat to beat the Ducks, when you have a Quarterback like Blake Murphy and a two-headed monster in the backfield in Mark Fletcher Jr. & Reggie Foster you can play with anybody. As expected the collision course happen the Ducks versus Wildcats was going down and it was must see tv. In a defense battle with both teams seeming to be evenly matched Atlanta Ducks Elite Terrance Love raised his game to another level showing the poise of a seasoned vet, Love connected with Thurman for a 31-yard pass over the middle setting up the games 1st score when Love found Booker on an 8 yard slant for the 6-0 lead. Plantation could never sustain a long enough drive to get back in the game but one thing that isn’t to be left out is the Wildcats Reggie Foster who showed without a doubt he is one of the top players in the country no doubt about it. The game was tight until the Ducks sealed the deal with 27-yard interception return for a touchdown to put the game away. The Atlanta Ducks Elite missing arguably their best player showed why their considered the pound for pound number 1# ranked team in the country when you have players like Travis Booker Jr. scoring on offense and defense that kid is a lethal weapon to have against any opponent.
13u / 8th Grade Bracket
The grand finale the big boy 8th grade division promised to be action packed. Out the gate the Gainesville Rattlers who features three very special defensive players in Tavares Williams Jr., Ryan Nolan, Jahari Clemons with impact players on every level of their defense, the Rattlers gave the Atlanta Ducks Elite all they can handle in a hard-hitting game. A couple things is certain the Rattlers earned their opponents respect with the physicality they play with those guys flew around to the ball laying that wood or anything moving. On the flipside, the Rattlers two head monster in the backfield Kendrick Wooden & Ja’Quan Lee provided the offensive spark, Lee versatility is what stood out he was a big play waiting to happen. The Rattlers may have fell short of winning it all but I fully expect the Gainesville natives to be ranked by seasons end and in the hunt for a National title.
Creek Red Nation (COL)
Another team with things to build on for their season was Creek Red Nation who traveled from Colorado to put in work, Red Nation drew the 1# ranked 13u in the country the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes. Creek seemed over-matched early on when the Canes quickly jumped out to an 13-0 lead, but the Red Nation weathered the storm buckled down and held the Canes scoreless for the remaining of the game. When you’re facing the level of competition Red Nation faced early out the gate it’s nothing but a confidence builder that your team can play with anybody. Folks remember it’s only preseason and these kids have faced their toughest battle until Nationals roll around.
Miami Gardens Bulldogs Aka Foreign Boyz
With so much attention centered around the 1# ranked Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes the Miami Gardens Bulldogs Aka Foreign Boys came to Orlando to take on all challengers to show the nation their just as good and in the conversation for the 1# ranking in the country. One thing that is for certain the Foreign Boys are loaded with studs at every position on the field starting with Quarterback Zion Turner who put on a passing clinic this past weekend connecting with targets like Brian Dilworth Jr. & Zaylen Reese for over 8 touchdown passes this weekend. The game that propelled the Foreign Boys into the spotlight was their 5-overtime win over the Atlanta Ducks Elite, these Bulldogs persevered thru the controversy of being down early. When you say big-time players make big time plays in big games defensive tackle Kymani Williams turned it up a notch collecting 3 sacks and a host of tackles for loss living in the Ducks backfield. But if you want to mention the biggest play of the game Jai Ayviayunn-Celestine made a spectacular juggling catch on 4th down & 12, that play breathed new life in the Foreign Boys who pulled out the win over the Atlanta Ducks Elite 19-13. Another unsung hero for the Bulldogs was Alfonzo Allen this kid is a defensive playmaker rather it’s forced fumbles, sacks or interceptions this kid just always managed to make a play when his team needed him the most. Back to Bulldogs Quarterback Zion Turner he closed out the tournament with a sizzling three touchdown strikes versus the tough Gainesville Rattlers 18-0 victory. After an undefeated Tournament, the Miami Gardens Bulldogs have positioned themselves as contenders with so many good things to build on.
Atlanta Ducks Elite 13u
Central Virginia Hurricanes, Miami Gardens Bulldogs, Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes, Gainesville Rattlers what do all those teams have in common? I’ll tell you, the Atlanta Ducks Elite 13u have faced them all. If were doing strength of schedule this wouldn’t be close Atlanta Ducks preseason schedule is by far tougher than 93% of youth football teams. Yes, the Ducks Elite suffered two loses out of four but nothing to be down about, but so much to build on because these kids were in every match up and left it all on the field. With players like Drake Hatcher, Latavius Johnson, Janiran Bonner you can fully expect this group of kids to take in what they learned and bounce back. The beauty of preseason is it really doesn’t count when the regular season starts but does wonders for evaluating your team & personnel. I wouldn’t be being honest if I didn’t fully expect the Atlanta Ducks Elite to be in the mix for a National title run after all what haven’t they seen yet with that preseason schedule.
Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes
Last but not least the 1# Ranked Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes defending National Champions who has at least 8-10 top 100 athletes on their team so there is no drop off in talent, matter of fact I’d boldly say their deeper this year. I myself was interested to see how would the Canes Quarterback would fair since last year he was in more of a run oriented offense, the second question I had was how fast the team would gel with so many new pieces. Right out the gate my concerns of chemistry was seeming as if it would be an issue against Red nation after the Canes jumped out early but couldn’t get things going. Just maybe I was overreacting a bit because when it came time to play versus their social media rival the Atlanta Ducks Elite their toughest competition in the tournament so far, the Canes put it all together. Oh, and my Quarterback concern went away A.J Johnson made some big-time throws & reads to the top receiving core in the country, when you have Kesean Brown, Jacolby Spells, Decarlo Donaldson, Nevar Maine it’s safe to say you don’t have enough Db’s to contain them. I can go on all day about the skill players the Canes have but let’s be honest the Canes trenches came to play versus the Ducks and imposed their will. When you have Alton Tarber & Big Justin Fevrier anchoring your offensive line you can bet it will be a long day for your defensive line these kids were moving guys around. With a great team effort, the Canes played their best game versus their toughest opponent knocking off the Atlanta Ducks Elite 13-0 and holding all their opponents scoreless. Scary part about the Canes is it’s still early so they’re only going to get better with team leaders like Jamari “Dread” Dukes who quietly had a beastmode tournament with his backfield mate Terrance Miller who came thru with some huge longs runs which means pick your poison. With a start to the season like this you can bet Nationals will be epic and like no other so sit back watch what unravels during the 2017 season.