Commentary

Vapor Trail puts on show on Day 1

Updated: July 17, 2009, 10:55 AM ET
By Ronnie Flores, Brian Stumpf and Mark Tennis | ESPNRISE.com

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The second annual Nike 7ON passing championship kicked off with pool play Thursday at Nike World Headquarters. The first half of pool play kicked off Thursday morning for the Zoom Division, which consisted of Team Zoom Blade (Duncan, S.C.), Team Vapor Trail (Miami), Team Zoom Fly (Dallas) and Team Land Sharks (Gardena, Calif.). In the afternoon, the Speed Division took the field, with Vapor Jets (Pahokee, Fla.), Super Speed (DeSoto, Texas), Field Generals (Lakewood, Calif.) and Merciless (Gainesville, Ga.) competing.

Vapor Trail (Miami Northwestern) impressed with a 3-0 record and is the top seed going into Friday's bracket-style championships.

[+] EnlargeRobert Woods
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comRobert Woods put on a show for the Land Sharks on Thursday.

Zoom Division

Zoom Blade 26, Zoom Fly 20
Chas Dodd passed for 375 yards and four touchdowns as Zoom Blade jumped out to a 20-0 first-half lead and held on in the second half for the narrow win. Dodd completed 21 of 36 passes, spreading the ball around to his talented receiving corps and finding three different receivers on scoring passes. Nick Jones led the pass-catchers for Zoom Blade with seven receptions for 120 yards and two scores, while Jazz King opened the scoring with an 80-yard bomb on the tournament's first play from scrimmage. Javia Hall hit 21 of 31 for 371 yards and three touchdowns in a losing effort for Zoom Fly, while Mike Davis starred at wideout with nine catches for 161 yards and scores from 20 and 40 yards out.

Vapor Trail 28, Team Land Sharks 6
Vapor Trail jumped on the Californians and cruised to an easy victory. Vapor Trail quarterback Teddy Bridgewater finished the game with 370 yards and four touchdowns on 21 of 31 completions to six receivers. Land Sharks quarterback Connor Preston struggled at the onset but found his groove later in the game as he hit All-American wide receiver Robert Woods on a 1-yard touchdown pass for the Land Sharks' only score. Preston finished the game 14-of-29 for 258 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Woods caught eight passes for 174 yards and the score.

Vapor Trail 22, Zoom Blade 14
Teddy Bridgewater continued his impressive early showing at quarterback. The junior-to-be, who already has offers from the likes of Miami, FSU and others, completed 23 of 32 passes for 325 yards and three scores, throwing zero interceptions as Vapor Trail took what a sagging Zoom Blade secondary gave them and controlled the clock for most of the game. Bridgewater completed passes to six different receivers, with Lorenzo Shinholster and Michaelee Harris leading the charge with seven catches for 130 yards and two scores and six receptions for 81 yards and a TD, respectively. The Vapor Trail secondary held Chas Dodd to just 20-of-39 passing and intercepted him twice, including Jahrie Level's interception in the end zone on the final play of the first half to preserve a 14-6 lead. All-American running back Marcus Lattimore led the Zoom Blade offense with 110 yards and a touchdown reception.

[+] EnlargeJesse Scroggins
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comJesse Scroggins displayed the athleticism and talent that made him an Elite 11 quarterback.

Land Sharks 26, Zoom Fly 15
Land Sharks quarterback Connor Preston picked up his confidence in his second game after some early jitters in his first outing. He got his team off to a good start with a touchdown on the Lands Sharks' first drive, a 12-yard post from Preston to Paul Richardson. The Land Sharks jumped out to a 20-0 lead after two touchdown catches by Robert Woods. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound dynamo scored on a spectacular 60-yard reception, splitting two defenders at midfield and outracing a third into the end zone. Zoom Fly finally got on the board with 40 seconds remaining in the first half on an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Javia Hall to LSU commit Mike Davis. Zoom Fly cut into the lead further on its first possession of the second half, as Joseph Powell scored on an 11-yard touchdown reception with 20:56 remaining in the game. Preston finished 20-of-29 for 314 yards and four touchdowns. Hall finished 18-of-28 for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Woods had another spectacular game, catching seven passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

Land Sharks 35, Zoom Blade 27
George Farmer and Robert Woods put on an absolute show in Game 3 on Field 1, leading the Land Sharks of Southern California past Zoom Blade of South Carolina in a high-scoring affair. The Land Sharks jumped out to a 28-8 halftime lead on the strength of three first-half touchdowns from Farmer and a Woods interception. Farmer finished with five catches for a whopping 160 yards and scored on passes of 25, 40 and 40 yards as Zoom Blade had a lot of trouble containing the Land Sharks' deep passing game. Woods intercepted a pass early, one of three first-half interceptions of Chas Dodd, and chipped in four catches for 113 yards as Land Sharks' QB Conner Preston finished 19-of-25 for 357 yards with five touchdown passes. Marcus Lattimore again led Zoom Blade, catching nine passes for 119 yards, while Nike Jones totaled six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Vapor Trail 28, Zoom Fly 6
Zoom Fly proved to be no match for the boys from Florida. Vapor Trail made one spectacular play after another on both sides of the ball. The team even got solid play from backup quarterback Khambrel McGee, an FIU commit who will likely play defensive back in college. Vapor Trail was able to get its second-stringer some playing time because of the accuracy and poise of starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He was simply spectacular, completing 15 of 21 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns. When "Bridge" subbed out, he moved to wideout and made one of the best catches of the afternoon, a Randy Moss-esque one-handed grab in the middle of the field. Zoom Fly got its only score of the game on a 20-yard touchdown toss from backup quarterback DaVonte Kincade to Rashad Samples. Zoom Fly starting quarterback Javia Hall completed 13 of 24 passes for 152 yards with an interception.

[+] EnlargeTheodore Bridgewater
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comTeddy Bridgewater led Vapor Trail to an undefeated start at the Nike 7ON Tournament.

Speed Division

Vapor Jets 34, Super Speed 28
De'Joshua Johnson caught an 80-yard touchdown pass and threw for a 60-yard score as the boys from Florida outlasted the team from Texas. Johnson played wide receiver in the first half, which is where he is expected to play at Florida State, the college he committed to last month. He had the longest play of the game when he hauled in a long pass from Emanuel Perez in the first half to help give his team a 12-8 lead. Johnson then switched to quarterback in the second half and hooked up with Chris Dunkley on a 60-yard bomb to cut a Super Speed lead to 21-18. Dunkley is a transfer to Pahokee from Royal Palm Beach and is regarded as one of Florida's top prospects. The go-ahead score for the Vapor Jets came on a 10-yard scoring completion from Johnson to Zachary Allen with 7:30 left. Led by QB Ryan Polite, Super Speed picked up one first down on its ensuing series but didn't score. The Floridians then ran out the clock for the win. Johnson and Perez divided 478 passing yards almost equally with Johnson going 12-of-15 for 231 yards and three TDs while Perez was 7-of-12 for 247 and two scores. The team's leading receivers were Fred Pickett with five catches for 112 yards and Kaalum Williams with four catches for 47 yards. Polite had four TD passes and no interceptions for Super Speed. He also completed 22 of 42 passes for 345 yards. David Porter was Polite's favorite target with nine catches for 122 yards.

Merciless 24, Field Generals 21
Merciless pulled out the come-from-behind victory over the Field Generals, who took a 14-0 lead after two touchdown passes from Elite 11 quarterback Jesse Scroggins (2010) to Kevin Anderson. But Merciless was able to turn the game's momentum on a 55-yard interception for a touchdown by Desmund Hamilton. In the second half, Merciless cut the Field Generals' lead to 14-12 on a 5-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Blake Sims to A.J. Johnson. Scroggins and company took a 21-12 lead on a 12-yard touchdown reception by Anderson, his third of the game. Merciless came storming back, however, as Stanford commit Tai-ler Jones caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Sims. The Georgia boys completed their comeback when Chris West split two defenders in the middle of the field against a tiring Field Generals defense. Sims completed 19 of 30 passes to eight different wide outs for 266 yards and four touchdowns. Scroggins finished 22-of-37 for 303 yards and three TDs.

Field Generals 20, Vapor Jets 18
The Field Generals' Brennen Kelly came up with a huge grab on defense with three minutes left in the game to seal the win over the boys from Pahokee, Fla. The Field Generals certainly have possibly the best field general of the event in 6-3, 190-pounder Jesse Scroggins. The senior Elite 11 quarterback hit on 20 of 35 passes for 360 yards and three TDs. He did have one interception, which came in the second half as his team was trying to build on a 13-12 lead. The Vapor Jets went with De'Joshua Johnson at quarterback for all but one series in this game. He finished with 20 completions in 27 attempts for 294 yards and three TDs. Pickett was his top target with seven receptions for 111 yards. In addition to Pickett, the other touchdowns were caught by Zachary Allen and Raheam Buxton. Scroggins spread it out among his receivers well with the top totals going to Kevin Anderson for catches (5 for 46 yards) and Dion Bailey for yardage (4 for 116).

Super Speed 44, Merciless 21
Super Speed of Texas showed no mercy to Merciless of Georgia in Game 2 of Speed Division play, as the Texans bounced back from a tough opening defeat to put up record-setting numbers. Ryan Polite led the onslaught with 501 yards and six touchdowns through the air as Super Speed became the first team in Nike 7ON history to top 40 points in a single game. Polite used the short passing game to shred the Merciless secondary, completing 21 of his first 22 passes and finishing 38-of-49 on the game. Darius Terrell and standout junior-to-be David Porter both caught two touchdown passes for Super Speed. Blake Sims passed for 263 yards and two scores while also scoring on a 60-yard catch, and Tai-ler Jones had another 100-yard receiving game in the loss for Merciless.

Vapor Jets 28, Merciless 22 (OT)
The Vapor Jets earned the win on a fourth-down 30-yard touchdown pass in overtime from De'Joshua Johnson to Chris Dunkley. They still had to stop Merciless, which they did by forcing QB Blake Sims to take too much time on his last throw in overtime. On the play, Merciless standout A.J. Johnson made a spectacular diving catch but it was nullified because of the four-second sack rule. Johnson, a 6-2, 217-pounder, could be one of the top junior linebackers in the nation, and looked the part in this outing. Trailing by 22-14 with three minutes left, the Vapor Jets tied the score with 50 seconds left on a five-yard toss from Johnson to Dunkley. They still needed to convert a two-point play to force overtime and did it on a pass from Johnson to Dennis Hall. Merciless took a 7-0 lead in the first half on an 87-yard interception return by Alberto Sanabria. Emanuel Perez, the Vapor Jets QB who gave up the interception, came back later in the half to throw two TD passes to Kaalum Williams. Williams and Hall both turned in strong games for the Vapor Jets. Williams had six catches for 58 yards and two TDs, while Hall had six for 113 and one score. Johnson and Perez both accounted for 200 yards or more with Johnson going 16-of-25 for 244 yards while Perez completed 12-of-16 for 200 yards. For Merciless, Sims went the distance and connected on 23 of 38 passes for 296 yards and three TDs. Johnson added four catches for 96 yards while Teryan Rucker had four catches for 56.

Super Speed 20, Field Generals 13
Super Speed looks like it will be a team to be reckoned with in tomorrow's Nike 7ON championship bracket after keeping its composure in dispatching the Field Generals. The final contest of the day had to be frustrating for Field Generals coach Thadd MacNeal, as his club once again built a lead only to see it wilt in the hot Oregon sun. The Field Generals got on the board first with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Elite 11 quarterback Jesse Scroggins to Chris Davis on its first offensive possession. Davis was Scroggins' main target in this game, catching six balls for 82 yards. Super Speed kept pace with its short passing game, taking what the defense gave it and hoping for a breakdown in coverage. Quarterback Ryan Polite capped a long drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Devin Sanders on fourth down. The two-point conversion was no good and the Field Generals led 7-6. Super Speed found a soft spot among the Field Generals' linebacking corps and exploited it by utilizing Texas commit Darius Terrell. As the Field Generals visibly tired in the second half, Terrell went to work, catching short passes up the middle and exploiting backers sucked too far inside for big yardage on the perimeter. With 8:45 remaining, Terrell caught the game-winning touchdown, a 7-yarder from Polite. Terrell finished with 10 receptions (eight in the second half) for 169 yards and the two scores. In Super Speed's short passing game, Polite completed 33 of 44 passes for 385 yards and three touchdowns. Scroggins finished the game 14-of-32 for 288 yards and two touchdowns, but he was only 6-of-15 for 114 yards after intermission.