August 9,2018 Stockbridge, Ga
The build up was epic for the 2018 YNC Preseason Playoffs kickoff weekend powered by Battle Sports. The first weekend of August was set from the East to the West Coast the match ups were set. None being bigger than the Miami Gardens Ravens 12u the Battle National Champions versus, the Ayf back to back National Champions the Wilmington Pilots. All the trash talk thru out the offseason would come to a head as the Ravens traveled to California to settle the score once and for all. The question we would all ask was will the Pilots protect home and continue their winning ways or would the Ravens end their reign?
Not to be out done was YNC Preseason K.O.C in Atlanta hosted 1# Youth Football Media Outlet our very own GenNexXt. Shaking things up for the first time our event took place in Stockbridge, Georgia for the first time in 2 years our event wasn’t in Florida. With no shortage of dominate programs our event treated spectators to a glimpse at the 2018 version of 4 defending Battle National Champions. With a tournament setting and Preseason hardware at stack we had the honor of seeing who starts their year off with a bang.
With such an action-packed weekend I’ve decided to breakdown this past weekend biggest winners. But in no shape or form will I get carried away with so much more football left to play. Now that doesn’t mean that I haven’t witnessed the biggest Preseason weekend in Youth Football history. This is my list of the most impressive teams from this past weekend.
YNC Preseason Weekend Biggest Winners
Team: Miami Gardens Ravens (Fla)
Age Group: 12u
Standout Players: (QB) Cedric Bailey Jr., (ATH) Joshisa Trader, (DB) Ryan Mack. (WR) Jeremiah Smith, (DL) Jayden Harris, (LB/DL) Anthony Mattison, (RB/LB) Davion Gauze, (ATH) Denzel Johnson, (ATH) Vincent Shavers ,(DL) Derrius Jackson
The Miami Gardens Ravens rise to a National power was 2 years in the making lead by visionary & team architect Head Coach Rod Mack. In my eyes Coach Mack is a Youth Football coaching legend with his glowing resume of building some of the best teams, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. The former University of Miami local star will never take the credit he deserves he would rather give it to his staff & players. Coach has coached multiple NFL players in his coaching career leaving a lasting impression on those guys, which is a big reason those same players comeback to offer words of encouragement to the next generation. With a wealth of knowledge and experience to pass on to his players it’s not a surprise Coach Mack is so successful developing & building a National Powerhouse.
When you’re looking to run a high octane spread offense the main ingredient you need is a big time Quarterback, in steps Cedric Bailey Jr. With an elite QB you need an elite Offensive line unit, not a problem the Ravens has one of the best in the business. Facing the toughest competition of his career versus the Wilmington Pilots and their relentless pressure from their defensive front. The game started as a defensive slugfest between the two teams. Which meant the team with the right adjustments would gain the advantage first. That team would be the Ravens lead by the powerful running of Davion Gause aka “Bullet” who would lift his team to a 7-0 lead. I’d have to say even with the Ravens up a score the Pilots defense still managed to make plays. Taking a couple sacks early Ravens QB Cedric Bailey Jr. would find his rhythm connecting with playmaker Jeremiah Smith for his first Touchdown pass on his third read. Bailey seem to settle down after his first touchdown pass, he would later find Lawayne McCoy his favorite target on the night for two more scores. One thing I can say is the score read 26-0 but the game didn’t seem that lopsided, the Ravens earned every point on the board.
Not to be outdone was the Ravens big athletic defense lead by Jayden Harris one of top players in the country in his graduating class. It seems like the Ravens have different leaders who play different roles on the team. Like for instance Ryan Mack is the Ed Reed type vocal leader. Davion Gauze is the team’s emotional leader he sets the tone with his physical play. Not to be forgotten is the defense utility man Anthony Mattison no matter where you put this kid he makes plays, his fumble recovery versus the Pilots gave his team a comfortable lead. Enough about the Ravens regulars two key additions also made their presence felt, Vincent Shavers provided a change of pace on offense and defense. Another addition Denzel Johnson made some huge tackles on defense making the Ravens that much more deeper. When were talking about that 1# ranking in Preseason look no further than the Ravens, their statement spoke volumes of what this team is capable of.
Team: Maryland Seahawks (MD)
Age Group: 11
Standout Players: (DL/RB) Anthony Chuman, (ATH) Khalil Kirby, (QB) Kianoa Winston, (RB) Amari Scribner, (ATH) Kenneth Ford
If you’re a fan of Youth Football and National Championship tournaments. Then Maryland Seahawks Head Coach Jarvis Thomas resume is that of legends. Coach is on a run of 6 straight National Championships in the UYFL on the 14u level. Last year Jarvis took on a new challenge of building up a 10u team. Just like in typical Jarvis fashion who always challenged the best and never backed down from any team in his way is his motto. The biggest obstacle Jarvis faced was Coaching two teams, while I saw all the potential in the Seahawks 10u I felt coach spread himself thin. Now a year later Preseason 2018 with Coach Jarvis sole focus being the 11u Seahawks you saw the difference in what a year makes in this system. As a 10u last year the Seahawks was a team on the rise, 2018 they’ve made themselves National Championship contenders.
J.P Mosley facilities YNC Preseason K.O.C in Stockbridge, Ga is where the Seahawks 11u put on a clinic. One thing Jarvis is known for is his trenches physical style of play here are those guys by name starting with Stephan Francois, Nathaniel Hampton, Pejah Turner, Kyle Warrington, Wayne Henderson, Jalen Hackney. The Seahawks Offensive line imposed their will on their opponents play after play opening up gaping holes for the offense to be the highest scoring offense in the tournament. Kianoa Watson ran the single wing offense to perfection with a huge contribution from the running-backs by committee Khalil Kirby, Anthony Chuman, Amari Scrivner & Ken Ford.
In the Championship game the Seahawks was a well oil machined shutting out and dominating the previously number 1# ranked Georgia Seminoles 26-0. The biggest difference in this group of young Seahawks is their dominance on the defensive side of the ball. They can not only outscore, they can also shut you down. Khalil Kirby is the leader of the defense this kid is a physical presence, one I’m sure to be talking about for years to come. Kirby is fast, strong with a high football iq he makes plays all over the field that the rest of the defense feeds off of. Without a doubt the Seahawks made the biggest statement on the east coast dominating the deepest division this past weekend. The season is still young but with Coach Jarvis championship experience you know this Seahawks team is in it for the long haul.
Team: Eight Mile Giants (AL)
Age Group: 9u
Standout Players: (QB) Zy’Karious Wilson, (DL/OL) Zion Bowie, (RB) Jhi Brown, (OL) Jesus Glover
Eight Mile Giants now 9u have been a fixture on this National scene since these kids were 7u. The Giants were on a historic run of capturing a 2nd straight National Title. But those hopes were derailed by the Georgia Seminoles who dethroned the Giants in the Battle National Championships. When you mention this Eight Mile program make sure you give this program out of Alabama it’s proper respect, because they’ve earned showing up everywhere earning their respect. Me being so excited all offseason I had a list of teams I was itching to see, the Giants 9u was on that list. Simply because I wanted to see was their reign over or would they comeback bigger, stronger & hungry. It was only one way to find out which was the YNC Preseason Playoffs K.O.C was where my questions would be answered.
Zy’Karious Wilson aka Sweet Feet has earned his reputation as one of the most exciting & electric playmakers in the country in the 9u division. Sweet feet lead the Giants charge back to the top with a sensational tournament bringing home tourney MVP honors. This Giant team seemed fresh, focused and most importantly hungry in the trenches Zion Bowie & Jesus Glover set the tone bullying opponents. I’d have to say this was a road to redemption for the Giants they pretty much avenged their lose to the Seminoles holding a 13-0 lead for most of the Championship game. The Seminoles would add a score but the weekend belonged to the Eight Mile Giants who pretty much regained their 1# ranking. I don’t expect the Giants the overlook anybody knowing they will see those same Georgia Seminoles down the line but for now the 1# ranking belongs to the Pritchard, Alabama natives Eight Mile Giants.
Team: Mississippi Wolfpack
Age Group: 14u
Standout Players: (ATH) Keuntay Littleton, (ATH) Christopher Jones, (LB) Zaviion Shaw, (DE) Eric Thomas Jr., (DL) Kazarius Bowie, (DB) Daniel Smith, (OL) Landon Graves
When you’re in the line of business of featuring Youth Football teams & players, their always questions you want answers to. One question I always had was how good were players & teams on the youth level from Mississippi? The Mississippi Wolfpack 13u made their way on my radar a year ago which peaked my interest. The Wolfpack would lose a game to eventual Battle National Champion the Atlanta Ducks Elite 13u in their first taste of National competition. But, never the one to back down from a challenge Coach Ryan brought the gang back for 14u with the mindset of competing on the National level. It’s always a beautiful thing to motive the smaller market kids, it only makes Youth Football that much better.
Mississippi Wolfpack set its sights on their first ever National Tourney the YNC Preseason K.O.C. You would think the Wolfpack would have some butterflies being this their first taste of a National tourney. But it was the total opposite the pack was dripping with confidence and their style of play reflected just that. On the offense side of the ball the pack had speed to burn 1# Tay Littleton & 4# Chris Jones seemed to be moving on another gear than the competition. Very explosive with a huge line lead by the youngster Landon Graves the pack scored early and often. Judging from what I witnessed first hand offensively, I’d have to say this team is in the mix to make a name from themselves and their City & State.
If defense wins championships, then the Wolfpack boasts one of the best lead by Zavion Shaw. Before I get to Shaw and his impact on the field let me start with the defensive line. Eric Thomas Jr. & Kazarius Bowie are two unblockable forces who make a living in a offense backfield, rather it’s disrupting a running play or harassing your Quarterback they make plays. If your fortunate enough to slow down the defensive line Zavion Shaw is their to clean up plays, it’s no running from this kid he hunts his prey and is the best at it. Mississippi has the right name the Wolfpack because that’s exactly how they play, like a hungry pack of wolves with everybody to the ball on every play. It’s a pleasure to feature these kids because they earned it soundly defeating National Power Central VA Hurricanes 12-0, to capture our 14u YNC Preseason Playoff K.O:C Championship. The Wolfpack message to the rest of the country is “They want all the smoke