Good to be Home: West undefeated at host 7-on-7 SQT
After qualifying for the Division I FOX Sports Southwest 7-on-7 State Championship Tournament in its first attempt, Plano West had a goal for the remainder of its state qualifying tournaments: go undefeated.
The first phase of that mission was accomplished Friday.
Hosting its own SQT, West defeated W.T. White (39-20), Frisco Centennial (27-26) and Sherman (31-21) to win Pool A.
"Beforehand we talked with the guys about this being our field and our tournament," said Kelly Mercer, West offensive coordinator. "We always want to go out and compete no matter what's at stake, but we came into this tournament really wanting to represent our program well. And I think we did."
The results make it hard to argue that point.
The Wolves' most emphatic victory kicked off play Friday as Mercer noted, "strong play all the way around," in a 39-20 win over White. That was followed by West's closest win as it edged Centennial, 27-26. With the game knotted at 20-20, West scored a touchdown, made a stop and then drove once more looking to put the game away. Centennial snagged a Pick 6, but not the conversion, giving the Wolves the one-point win.
"I have to admit, after seeing Centennial and how well they played at the Frisco Liberty Tournament, I put them in our pool because I wanted to play them," Mercer said. "And Centennial gave us everything we could handle; they were the best team we faced all day."
Sherman gave West a scare as well ... at least in the first half.
"It was pretty close early on," Mercer said. "Then we figured out what they were doing, stopped them a few times and were able to open the game up. We scored a few times and they started to press."
The result was a 31-21 win over Sherman that closed West's day at 3-0.
"We got three good games against three good teams and were able to pick up three wins," Mercer said. "So it played out pretty much just as I had hoped."
And while the offense frequently deserves credit when the 7-on-7 wins pile up, Mercer was quick to point out that West's defense carried plenty of the load Friday and has done so throughout the summer.
"This has been the best defense I think we've ever had in 7-on-7," he said. "We are more athletic defensively, and that helps, but I think their performance is also a tribute to the job the defensive coaches have done. We have great chemistry so far too, and that will be huge once the season starts."
Having already qualified for state, which is July 20-21 in College Station, West did not advance into its tournament semifinals.
That gave Centennial the spot and the Titans took advantage by defeating Pool B winner Saginaw Boswell, 43-23, in the semis. That put them in the finals alongside Pool D champ Duncanville. The Panthers bested Pool C winner Rockwall, 27-13, in the other semifinal. Those victories advanced Centennial and Duncanville to state, so the teams opted to decide the West SQT Championship via paper, rock, scissors.
Centennial won that best-of-3 showdown, 2-1, to capture the tournament title.
Mercer got to see that game as well as many others Friday.
"I was watching McKinney with some interest, since they will be in our district this season," he said. "And Boswell scored 50 points in a game, but other than that there were a lot of games in the 20s and 30s. There were a lot of good teams out there and a lot of good games."
That was the consensus from the other coaches involved as well.
"I got emails from four or five different coaches saying how well things went and how organized the tournament was," Mercer said. "I even had one official from Fort Worth tell me that he was going to come out and work this event from now on because of how well we treated the officials. That's always nice to hear and I think that is a tribute to all the West families we have that help run this event."
West, which will play in June 23's Rockwall SQT, began its summer conditioning program Monday and starts 7-on-7 league play today. The Wolves will host Sachse, Wylie East and Richardson every Thursday.