The Frenship and Monterey 7-on-7 football teams had an opportunity to reach the semifinals of the Frenship state qualifying tournament early Saturday afternoon.
But neither did, and both the Tigers and the Plainsmen finished second in pool play.
The Tigers beat Estacado 21-14 in the first round of pool play to set up the semifinal-qualifying matchup with El Paso Chapin to decide the Pool A winner. Chapin took care of the Matadors, 27-12.
Frenship, which made it to the state 7-on-7 tournament last year, got an early stop on Chapin’s first drive, then an interception on the Huskies’ final possession of the first half. The Tigers held a 26-12 lead after Dalexae Johnson returned an interception for a touchdown on the first throw of the second half.
But Chapin chipped away at the Tigers, tying the game at 26 and at 33. Frenship led 39-33 with time winding down, and the Huskies scored on a catch and dive into the end zone as the final horn sounded. They then converted the extra-point pass for a 40-39 win to reach the semifinals.
“We had it the whole game,” said Frenship receiver Cade Davis, the lone returning starter from last year’s 7-on-7 squad. “Our offense was working better than it ever had and our defense stepped up the second game. Coming out in the second half and Dalexae picks it off and things are going good for us. Our offense is still working, but our defense might have been getting tired. They played hard the whole game but one play, and it happened to be a touchdown to win it.”
Monterey lost a 48-24 decision to Abilene in the final game of Pool D, sending the Eagles to the semifinals. But the Plainsmen were pleased to have finished the day with wins against El Paso Franklin and Cooper.
“This was the first time for a lot of us even being in this position, so it was good and gave us a lot of experience for what we need to do and need to work on,” Monterey quarterback Jacob Bartholomae said. “It’s a lot more fast-paced than I thought it would be and it will be good for us going into the next tournament.”
The upcoming District 2-5A had six of its nine member teams participating in the tournament — all except Tascosa, Midland and Midland Lee. San Angelo Central (Pool B), Odessa Permian (Pool C) and Abilene (Pool D) along with Pool A winner El Paso Chapin qualified for the semifinals.
In the semis, Permian beat Chapin 40-27, and Abilene beat Central 40-32, each victor earning a berth in the state 7-on-7 tournament July 19-21 in College Station.
Area teams will have one more chance to qualify for the state tournament at a local meet next weekend in Odessa.
Monterey was one of several South Plains teams in the tournament that will be breaking in new quarterbacks in the fall. Frenship, Estacado, Coronado, Lubbock High and Cooper will all have first-time starters under center for the 2012 high school season.
The Plainsmen started strong against Abilene, but three straight possessions in the first half ended on Bartholomae interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. That pick allowed the Eagles to take a 28-6 halftime lead. Monterey scored on all three of its second-half possessions but could not close the gap.
Several other teams had good showings. Of the South Plains representatives, only Estacado and Cooper failed to win a game.
Lubbock High, which will be in the second season under head coach Jason Strunk and his wide-open passing game, went 2-1 in pool play, beating Odessa 32-19 to start the day and winding up with a 33-19 win over crosstown rival Coronado. The Westerners made Central work the hardest in pool play, losing 47-36.
The Mustangs also picked up a win, 25-19, over Odessa and lost by only five to Central in a low-scoring affair.
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FRENSHIP 7-ON-7 FOOTBALL
Pool A: El Paso Chapin 2-0, Frenship 1-1, Estacado 0-2. Results: El Paso Chapin 27, Estacado 12; Frenship 21, Estacado 14; El Paso Chapin 40, Frenship 39
Pool B: San Angelo Central 3-0, Lubbock High 2-1, Coronado 1-2, Odessa 0-3. Results: San Angelo Central 26, Coronado 21; Lubbock High 32, Odessa 19; San Angelo Central 47, Lubbock High 36; Coronado 25, Odessa 19; San Angelo Central 25, Odessa 25; Lubbock High 33, Coronado 19
Pool C: Odessa Permian 2-0, El Paso El Dorado 1-1, Wichita Falls High 0-2. Results: Odessa Permian 38, Wichita Falls High 14; Odessa Permian 28, El Paso El Dorado 27; Wichita Falls High 45, El Paso El Dorado 26
Pool D: Abilene High 3-0, Monterey 2-1, El Paso Franklin 1-2, Cooper 0-3. Results: Monterey 57, El Paso Franklin 47; Abilene High 41, Cooper 13; Abilene High 52, El Paso Franklin 24; Monterey 39, Cooper 34; El Paso Franklin 32, Cooper 18, Abilene 48, Monterey 24
Semifinals: Odessa Permian 40, El Paso Chapin 27; Abilene 40, San Angelo Central 32.
Finals: DNP; Permian and Abilene qualify for state meet July 19-21 in College Station.