FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Chelmsford was on the cusp of back-to-back championships on back-to-back weekends at the New England Patriots Under Armour 7v7.
The Lions rode the momentum from last week's Northeast 7v7 victory into the final of Saturday's event at Gillette Stadium, facing off against Swampscott. While there was no resolution after regulation, Big Blue spoiled Chelmsford's designs when quarterback Mike Walsh found A.J. Baker in the end zone for the game-winner in overtime.
After a disappointing performance at the Northeast 7v7 last week, Walsh was glad to his team's hard work pay off.
"We put a lot of preparation into this," said the rising senior who recently committed to Brown. "We have workouts every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 6 a.m. All throughout the summer, we go through a ton of 7-on-7's and I think this is our sixth major tournament of the summer, plus the passing league were in every Sunday."
Walsh found his favorite target and lifelong friend -- Baker said they've been best friends since the first grade -- in the back of the end zone off of a crossing mesh route. Baker's responsibility on the play was actually as a decoy, setting a screen to allow another receiver to become open underneath. However, instead of setting that pick, Baker found open turf. When he turned around the ball was there and Big Blue walked away winners.
"We have a good chemistry," Baker said of his quarterback. "We played together in Pop Warner and on and on. He's really smart and he knows what he's doing back there. He makes his read and he throws wherever he wants to because he has a cannon of an arm, so he just launches off and finds the open man."
After the graduation of a couple of couple of his top receivers from 2010, including Peter Yasi and Zach Beerman, Walsh has been using the summer period to better acquaint himself with a new crop of wideouts.
"We have a lot of first-year kids who are stepping up big time," Walsh said. "We have a couple of juniors who played JV last year. Joe DeSalvo had a huge day today, offensively and defensively. A.J. [Baker] does his thing out there, too. He's going to be my go-to guy, but Aidan Lang's been running great routes and been doing real well. He's going to take the H-receiver role and I've been happy with all of those guys. Nick Meninno's been doing a great job on the outside, too. He's another JV guy from last year that's stepping up big."
The first-year event hosted eight of Massachusetts' top football programs with BB&N, Boston Cathedral, Catholic Memorial, Duxbury, North Andover and St. John's Prep joining the fray.
Among the breakout performers was Cathedral wide receiver Geeavontie Griffith who tallied nine touchdowns in four games.