Twenty-three members of the Havelock High football team competed in a 7-on-7 passing league competition on Friday against teams from North Carolina and South Carolina.
Havelock reached the final four of the tournament before settling for third place after a 56-49 quadruple overtime loss to perennial 4A power Mallard Creek.
The day started with round-robin play against South Aiken High School (Aiken, S.C.) – a 24-0 victory for Havelock.
Havelock fell in its next two games, both close defeats. West Mecklenburg topped the Rams 24-17 followed by a Bluffton (Bluffton, S.C.) 17-14 win.
In the game versus West Mecklenburg, the Rams faced an offense led by N.C. State commit Jalan McClendon.
“I was impressed the whole day with how well we communicated and were in the right spot on defense for it to be this early in the season,” Havelock Defensive Coordinator Caleb King said. “I mean the guys faced three Division-I quarterbacks today and beat two of them.”
The fourth game brought a huge test to Havelock’s defense.
Havelock matched up with Davidson Day and elite quarterback prospect Will Grier, who is committed to play at Florida.
Havelock was up for that test and quickly received another from Northwestern High School from Rock Hill, S.C. Northwestern was the 2010 state champion and 12-3 a year ago in the South Carolina AAAA classification.
The Trojans are quarterbacked by Oklahoma State commit Mason Rudolph.
In an overtime affair, Havelock came out on top of the Trojans 24-21, thanks to an interception by rising sophomore Kyran Bowman to earn the trip to the semifinals against Mallard Creek.
“We played much better as the day went on,” Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said. “We showed a lot of fight and a lot of heart and the defense played very well for most of the day.
“I thought Travis (Sabdo) looked good at quarterback and our receivers did a great job and only had two dropped passes on the day.”
One of those drops came in the third overtime against Mallard Creek that sent the game to a fourth.
“We had a drop in the end zone and then in the fourth overtime, each team got two plays from the 20-yard line to score. They scored and we didn’t and lost to them in that fourth OT,” Bryant said.
The day wasn’t only about playing football for the young kids of Havelock, it was also about learning.
Havelock’ Matt Boykin, who stands 5-foot-5, got to gain first-hand tutelage from Carolina Panthers’ wide receiver Steve Smith.
“Smith was over there on the side working with Boykin and teaching him things,” King said. “It was really cool for the guys.”