Victory Christian didn’t walk out of the USF Sling and Shoot tournament with a championship trophy, but the Storm did leave feeling a lot better about themselves.
After posting a 1-4 record on Saturday in the first rounds of pool play, Victory returned on Sunday and whipped North Port 28-7 and played Naples Barron Collier down to the wire in an 18-14 exhibition loss, after the Storm picked up a forfeit win over Bay High School.
“(On Saturday) we were slow starters and I told the guys we can’t do that today. We have to come out ready to play. And we looked a lot sharper today than we did yesterday. The biggest thing is we got better,” Victory head coach Tommy Lewis said.
Despite a 3-4 pool-play mark, Victory — the defending Class 2A state champions — was eventually eliminated in a close first-round playoff game Sunday against Tarpon Springs East Lake 15-13, where the Eagles were able to run out the clock and keep the Storm from a chance at a game-winning drive.
“The high point was we competed and executed better today. You want to win and you want to move on (in the playoffs), but as far as the big picture which is the upcoming season, we got into this tournament to get better, which is what happened,” Lewis said.
Victory was trailing in its 30-minute playoff game 9-0 when it began to outplay East Lake and rallied for two touchdowns.
Rising-junior quarterback Dalton Jenner fired both, one to JaQuarius Collins and the second by Semaj James, to eventually narrow the score to 15-13.
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By Bill Kemp, TheLedger.com
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