NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Kenton High Wildcats captured the fifth annual Music City Classic 7-on-7 Passing Tournament at Vanderbilt University on Saturday. The Ohio program defeated Brentwood Academy, 30-16 in the championship final and finished with a 11-2 record during the two-day event. There were two sessions of pool play during Friday and then an additional session on Saturday morning, prior to the single-elimination tournament.
The Wildcats were led by rising junior quarterback Maty Mauk. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound signal caller was precise throughout much of the weekend and earned all-tournament honors for his impressive work during pool play. Already possessing offers from programs such as Notre Dame, Missouri and Cincinnati, Mauk will likely be one of the top quarterbacks in the class of 2012.
Mauk threw for four touchdowns on four straight drives during the final against Brentwood Academy, using his strong arm and accuracy to navigate through a very tough Eagles defense. Twice he found senior receiver Dustin Howell in the corner of the end zone, including on the game-clinching score with just a minute to go in the contest. Receiver Max Morrison was one Mauk's other targets in the game and the 6-foot standout hauled multiple catches of 30 yards or more.
Brentwood Academy started off the final with a strong inital drive, as rising senior quarterback Matthew Hamby completed his first four passes to drive the Eagles deep into Kenton's red zone. Hamby connected with Mason Sutton on a couple of underneath routes to move the chains and found senior Weldon Garlington inside the Wildcats 5-yard line to give the Eagles a first down.
However, the drive stalled as Al Thompson's diving catch near the sideline was ruled out of bounds and another Hamby passes was batted down by Kenton defenders. Hamby tried to find all-purpose back Victor Caro on third down but the ball was too high for the 5-foot-8 standout to catch.
It took Kenton just two plays to get on the scoreboard as Mauk hooked up with big play threat Max Morrison for a 38 yard pass to put the ball at the Eagles 12 yard-line. Mauk then found Howell on the next pass in the end zone for a touchdown. The Wildcats were successful on the two-point conversion to establish a 8-0 lead.
The Eagles offense responded quickly on the next possession, as Hamby threw a excellent pass down the middle to Mason Sutton for 30 yards and a first down. The 6-foot-4 Hamby found Sutton down the middle once again on the next play and the 5-foot-11 receiver was downed at the two-yard line. Hamby and Sutton hooked up once again on the next play for a touchdown in the front of the end zone. The Eagles converted on their own two-point try following the score, tying the game 8-8.
The Eagles took a 9-8 lead at the start of the Bulldogs next drive when Mauk took more than the allotted four seconds to throw the ball and Brentwood Academy was awarded a point for a sack. The lead didn't last too long as Mauk lasered a 32 yard pass to Morrison on the next play for a first down. Following a few Wildcats drops and a pass interference penalty against Brentwood Academy, Mauk fired the ball to Andrew Tillman in the back of the end zone to give Kenton a 15-9 lead.
The Eagles took the lead once again with a three-play drive by Hamby and company. Hamby zipped a ball to Garlington to start the drive and the quick slot receiver put on some moves to gain 22 yards. Hamby then connected with Al Thompson to move the Eagles closer to the end zone before taking a 16-15 lead when Hamby gunned the ball to Garlington for a touchdown.
With a small buzz generating throughout the crowds of both teams, Kenton drove the ball into the red zone on three plays before Eagles promising standout Derek King nearly picked off Mauk on a pass to the front left corner of the end zone. King, a legit Southeastern Conference prospect, broke on a ball intended for Morrison but couldn't haul it in for the interception. The extra possession proved to be costly as Mauk found a Kenton receiver for the go-ahead score on the very next play. The Wildcats stretched the lead to 23-16 with another successful two-point conversion.
The Eagles drove the ball to the red zone on the next series and seemed to pick up some momentum with a Wildcats penalty, but a Kenton pass deflection and a receivers slip in the end zone prevented Brentwood Academy from scoring.
Maty Mauk quickly completed passes of 19 and 13 yards to get the Wildcats back into the red zone and Mauk lofted a beautiful pass to Howell in the corner of the end zone to give Kenton another touchdown and essentially ended the game.
Hamby's 50-yard pass down the field on the Eagles final possession was picked off by Kenton and the Ohioans celebrated the team's third major 7-on-7 championship of the summer. Kenton won the Ohio state 7-on-7 championship and the Notre Dame passing tournament in June. The Wildcats were the first team from the state of Ohio to participate in the Music City Classic.
Kenton is the third school from outside the state of Tennessee to claim the Music City tournament title. The previous two visiting teams to claim championships, Byrnes and Dorman, both of South Carolina, went on to capture their state high school championships during the following fall. Kenton went 10-2 last season, losing in the second round of the Division IV playoffs.
The Wildcats, the tournament's No.3 seed, got to the final after defeating No.2 seed Evansville Central out of Indiana, 34-23 in the semifinals. Kenton also beat Springdale Har-Ber High out of Arkansas 30-23 in the quarterfinals and Nashville's Montgomery Bell Academy 34-14 in the second round. Kenton did receive a first-round bye in the tournament after going 7-2 in pool play.
Brentwood Academy may have came a few scores short of winning their first Music City title, but the perennial state powerhouse had quite a tournament.
After going only 3-6 during pool play due to splitting reps between starters and reserves, the Eagles turned it on as the tournament's No.16 seed with a impressive 27-15 first round victory over Clarksville.
The Eagles then pulled the upset of the tournament in the second round with a 24-17 win over the undefeated, No.1 seed Fayetteville Bulldogs. The Bulldogs, who were led by Arkansas Razorback quarterback commitment Brandon Allen and tight end commitment Demetrius Dean, were barely challenged during the pool play and looked like sure favorites to meet Kenton in the final.
However, led by players like Hamby, King, Garlington, Caro and William Beaird, the Eagles were able to stiffen the Bulldogs high-powered offense and hold off Fayetteville in the final seconds of the contest.
The Eagles also had to defeat fellow Williamson County teams Ravenwood, 14-12 and Brentwood, 27-25, to reach the final. The Eagles were not at full strength against Kenton as William Beaird, a preseason all-state safety candidate, was unavailable to play due to an injury suffered in the semifinals against Brentwood. Receiver Josh Pleasant was also unavailable for the title game, making BA shorthanded of two of its top starters.
Twenty-seven schools and seven states were represented in this year's Music City Classic, with Baton Rouge's Capitol High, marking the first team from the state of Louisiana to compete in the camp. Two schools, MBA and Whitehaven out of Memphis, fielded two teams for the event. Another group of high school players from the midwest competed during the pool play sessions as the Flat River Throwing Club. Flat River went 8-1 during the sessions but did not participate in the tournament.
Greensburg Central Catholic School out of Pennsylvania and Rock Bridge High out of Missouri were also slated to participate in the tournament but could not attend due to scheduling conflicts.
2010 Music City Classic Tournament Results:
Byes: (#1) Fayetteville, (#2) Evansville Central and (#3) Kenton.
(#16) Brentwood Academy over (#17) Clarksville, 27-15
(#8) Pearl-Cohn over (#25) Cookeville, 27-0
(#24) Ravenwood over (#9) Memphis University School, 24-17
(#5) Whitehaven- Black over (#28) Southwestern, Ky., 28-7
(#12) Brentwood over (#21) Riverdale, 20-7
(#13) Hillsboro over (#20) Fort Campbell, Ky., 18-15
(#4) McGavock over (#29) Union City, 38-17
(#15) David Lipscomb over (#18) Springfield, 20-14
(#10) Capitol, La. over (#23) Stratford, 12-7
(#7) Independence over (#26) MBA- Silver, 21-16
(#22) Whitehaven- Gold over (#11) Franklin, 22-0
(#6) Har-Ber, Ark. over (#27) Dekalb County, 31-18
(#14) MBA-Cardinal over (#19) Gallatin, 28-21
(#16) Brentwood Academy over (#1) Fayetteville, Ark, 24-17
(#24) Ravenwood over (#8) Pearl-Cohn, 24-14
(#12) Brentwood over (#5) Whitehaven-Black, 23-1
(#13) Hillsboro over (#4) McGavock, 24-14
(#2) Evansville Central, Ind. over (#15) David Lipscomb, 24-7
(#10) Capitol, La. over (#7) Independence, 27-14
(#6) Har-Ber, Ark. over (#22) Whitehaven- Gold, 32-13
(#3) Kenton, Ohio over (#14) MBA-Cardinal, 34-14
(#16) Brentwood Academy over (#24) Ravenwood, 14-12
(#12) Brentwood over (#13) Hillsboro, 25-8
(#2) Evansville-Central, Ind. over (#10) Capitol, La., 28-21
(#3) Kenton, Ohio over (#6) Har-Ber, Ark, 30-23
(#16) Brentwood Academy over (#12) Brentwood, 27-25
(#3) Kenton, Ohio over (#2) Evansville Central, Ind., 34-23
(#3) Kenton, Ohio over (#16) Brentwood Academy, 30-16
Complete Team Records:
Flat River Throwing Club...8-1
Memphis University School...6-4
Music City Classic Champions:
2006. Byrnes High, Duncan, South Carolina
2007. Hillsboro High, Nashville, Tenn.
2008. David Lipscomb, Nashville, Tenn.
2009. Dorman High, Roebuck, South Carolina
2010. Kenton High, Kenton, Ohio