Headed to State: Wildcats win Tyler State Qualifier; advance to state tournament at Texas A&M University July 11-12

From Staff Reports

June 23, 2008 - TYLER - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats 7-on-7 football team qualified for the state tournament Saturday at Lindsey Park as they won the championship game of the Tyler Lee State Qualifying Tournament.

The Wildcats went 5-0 on the day and defeated the John Tyler A team, 59-34, as senior quarterback Tyrick Rollison had eight touchdowns in the game.

SSHS is now 19-1 this year in 7-on-7 games, and have won three tournaments this summer. They have won their last 17 consecutive games.

The Wildcats will now prepare for the Fox Sports Net 7-on-7 state tournament July 11-12 at Texas A&M University.

"It was an overall good day for the Wildcats," said SSHS offensive coordinator Jeff Riordan. "We were on defensively and offensively as Ty was on and the receivers were making great catches. The defense also ran two interceptions in for touchdowns and it was a good day for us to peak.

"We played some teams with speed and some teams that we probably thought we should not have hung with and we went out there and beat them pretty good. We were playing Whitehouse and John Tyler and those games almost seemed easy. The guys played well and we got them a lot of reps and everyone scored touchdowns and participated on Saturday."

The Wildcats opened up pool play with a 53-19 win over the Robert E. Lee B team, a 37-26 win over Jacksonville and a 48-27 win over new district rival Marshall in their final pool game.

In the semifinals, the Wildcats defeated the Whitehouse A team 55-30 to advance to the championship game and qualify for state.

"I thought we got confidence and the guys expected to win," he said. "We qualified for state and won the championship and went 5-0 on the day. The guys did exactly what we asked them to do.

"In league play, we get overconfident because we are not playing the type of competition that is up to our level. We need to be on every time we play and be focused. After our talk on Thursday night, the guy came with a purpose Saturday morning."

Riordan said offensively, Jace Jackson, Rashad Hall, Shane McQueen and Ben Barrows stepped up their play on Saturday and that gave him confidence in his receiving core for next year.

"Jace Jackson and Rashad Hall made some unbelievable catches on Saturday," Riordan said. "Shane McQueen had another strong day and Ben Barrows stepped up and played real well."

Defensively, the Wildcats had a safety and three interceptions returns for touchdowns.

"Defensively, they stepped up and Day Day Jackson had two touchdowns on interceptions and Anthony Mills had one touchdown defensively."

Overall, Rollison had 35 touchdowns to only three interceptions as Jackson had 12 touchdown receptions, while Hall had seven and McQueen had five touchdowns.

The Wildcats will play in a tournament in Rockwall on Saturday, but will not be allowed to advance past pool play.

"We will finish up our league on Thursday and then go to Rockwall on Saturday and then the state tournament," he said. "I told their coach to put us in the hardest bracket they could because I want the best competition for us on Saturday. Our schedule is no joke next year and we need to get better."

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