ACCS makes ultimate 7-on-7 comeback

Published 12:03 am Sunday, June 14, 2015

Favorites in sports change quicker than Louisiana weather.

As the dark clouds and heavy rain shifted to a bright sun that thankfully further defined my farmer’s tan Saturday, the favorites in a 7-on-7 followed suit with a similar paradigm shift. Entering the tournament Delta Charter hosted, Adams County Christian School and Wilkinson County figured to be favorites, at least by yours truly.

Wilkinson County proved why with a 4-0 outing in the seeding portion of the tournament thanks to big passes from Desmond Hunter, interceptions by Robert Swint and some “Momma there goes that man” moves by Travion Jones. ACCS, on the other hand, struggled, going winless in the seeding portion. There must have been a snake slithering behind the Rebels, as starters Carlos Woods, Shaverick Williams, Chris Smotherman, Sam Butler and Chisum Mardis were all absent, three of which were taking their ACT. “Snakebit” is about the only way to describe a depleted ACCS performance in the early goings. The 0-3 outing led to ACCS receiving the lowest seed in the tournament at No. 6, matching the Rebels against No. 3 Trinity Episcopal Day School in the single elimination format. Following a 22-8 loss to the Saints 30 minutes prior — where Kevontaye Caston showed off his long arm with bombs to Demond Fleming, Cade Wells and David Jackson — Woods, Mardis and Williams showed up after completing their ACT. With Woods back at quarterback, let’s just say the switch was finally flipped for ACCS offensively.

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Trinity took an early 11-0 lead after Caston picked off Woods’ first pass attempt and Caston found Jackson for a touchdown. Channeling his inner Cool Hand Luke, Woods unaffectedly found Richard Conn for a long gain, giving the Rebels life again. After an M.J. Thornburg touchdown and Conn two-point conversion, the 30-minute contest was now 11-8. After a defensive stop, Woods found Mardis for a long gainer to set up another Thornburg touchdown. Thornburg, by the way, is a nightmare for opponents in 7-on-7 drills. For those who know M.J., that might be hard to believe because of his small stature. He confidently, charismatically told Woods, “Throw it my way. I’m so small, they don’t see me breaking.” Woods definitely listened.

After the touchdown, ACCS held Trinity on its last possession, winning and moving on to face No. 1 seed Wilkinson County.

Up to this point, I had seen a lot of positives from our area schools. While you can’t predict seasons from 7-on-7 drills — it’s two-hand touch for crying out loud — I believe you still get a good grasp of your quarterback’s relationship with his receivers, how he’s identifying coverage, how your receivers are running routes and how your team will battle under pressure.

Delta Charter, for instance, hung in there with some really athletic teams. The Storm fell to Wilkinson County because of an interception and upset Trinity 12-6. Quarterback Trey Poole made some nice throws, while Dawson Woodruff reeled off one big catch after another. Kendrick Robinson, a new skill player added to the team, looks to be a name to watch out for this fall, as well.

As for Trinity, I’ll continue saying what I’ve been saying — Demond Fleming is going to have a huge year for the Saints at wide receiver, especially if Caston’s able to throw the long ball effectively. Caston’s long ball Saturday was as accurate as I’ve seen from him. While some may roll their eyes at the notion of him throwing on target without pressure, I can honestly say I’ve watched college quarterbacks struggle to do so in the same circumstance. So what if those college quarterbacks were Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris…

ACCS versus Wilkinson County was the finals I was expecting, and the battle didn’t disappoint as ACCS barely squeezed by with a 17-16 victory. Following a 14-12 win against Delhi Charter in the finals, ACCS went from winless to tournament champions.

ACCS posed for a picture with dark clouds rolling up behind them. Things change way too swiftly around here.


JAKE MARTIN is the sports editor for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3633 or