BELTON – Twenty teams, two grueling hot days and nine contest resulted in a battle between two rivals for the for the championship of the 2017 7-on-7 Lone Star Shootout at Tiger Field in Belton.
Temple and Belton, whom each avenged their only loss of the tournament with semifinal victories, squared off in a battle each side could be could be proud of. In the end, it would be the Wildcats behind tournament MVP Xavier Johnson who pulled out a 49-42 victory to claim the championship of the Lone Star Shootout.
Johnson produced three big play receptions to help the Wildcats draw even with the Tigers at 21-21 going to the half. Belton jumped out to an early 14-0 lead on the Wildcats before the combination of Jared Wiley to Xavier Johnson went to work. Wiley got the scoring going with a 20 yard strike to Johnson to cut the Tiger lead to 14-7. Following a defensive stop, Wiley once again hit Johnson for 25 yards down to the Tiger two yard line. setting up a 2-yard TD pass to D’Yonte Heckstall and knotting the contest at 14 all.
Belton answered with a score of their own to take a 21-14 lead, but Wiley once again found Johnson, this time from 35 yards out knotting the score at 21-21 going to the half.
Both teams managed to find the endzone on their first two possessions of the second half. Wiley hit Ty Culp and Heckstall, each from 12 yards out to keep the contest tied at 35-35.
Then on the Wildcats third possession and third and goal from the 10, Wiley hit Nathan Garcia in the right corner of the endzone to give the Wildcats a 42-35 lead.
A defensive stop gave the Wildcats what they needed to separate themselves from the Tigers.
Wiley then hit Heckstall across the middle from 8 yards out giving the Wildcats a 49-35 lead late in the contest. Belton cut the lead to 49-42 with 2 minutes left; however, Wiley converted a third down pass to Zion Leach for a first down with less than a minute remaining to seal the Wildcat victory.
Temple finished with an overall record of 9-1 in the tournament. Heckstall was named the Offensive MVP and defensive back BJ Sculark was named the Defensive MVP of the tournament.
Temple reached the championship game by defeating Leander Vandegrift 28-21 in the tournament semifinals. Vandegrift defeated the Wildcats on Friday 37-30 in pool play. Temple rolled out to a 28-7 lead on the Vipers with three first half touchdown passes from Wiley and a 20 yard TD pass from TJ Rumfield to Wiley in the second half.
In the morning contest, Temple opened up with 42-14 victory over the Belton #2 team. Nathan Garcia collecting a pair of touchdown passes to lead the Wildcats. Temple also dominated Austin Anderson 44-2 with the Wildcat defense posting their second shutout in the tournament, Tre Hawkins collected an interception for the Wildcats.
In Saturday’s action, quarterback Jared Wiley had 15 touchdown passes to go along with two rushing TD’s and three touchdown receptions. TJ Rumfield also tossed six touchdown passes himself.
Xavier Johnson and Nathan Garcia each had five touchdown receptions apiece while D’Yonte Heckstall had four.
Temple returns to 7-on-7 play again on Monday in the Centex 7-on-7 League. Monday’s games will be back at Belton High School at 5:30 PM. Besides the Wildcats and Tigers, Copperas Cove and Cameron will also be in action.