Posted by Bryan Fischer
TAMPA, Fla. - You could tell how happy the Footballers Fire team was to win the Badger Sports Elite 7-on-7 tournament when the players kept asking when they would head to California for the national 7-on-7 finals.
And kept asking 30 minutes after the field cleared. And probably asked a few more times on the ride home.
The Footballers Fire had extra motivation to upset all-star team and number two overall seed South Florida Express. After holding an open try out in Miami for the team, many of the top players who were not chosen were selected to play with the Fire.
"We're a first year team and coming in and beating the defending champions is great," said Pompano Beach (Fla.) cornerback Adrian Burton. "They said we were rejects from their team and we showed them that we're just as good. I say we're better because we beat them."
"We just wanted to win," Plantation (Fla.) athlete Deshawn Lindsay said. "I came in to this game ready to play my heart out and give it everything. I was hoping we'd beat South Florida Express. I went to their tryout and didn't make their team. I was grateful to be picked up by Footballers Fire."
Footballers Fire and South Florida Express played each other in the very first game of the event on Saturday, with the Express pulling out a close game. The rematch in the title game had a key difference however, a more focused and expereinced team taking on the top dog.
"It kind of woke us up," Burton said of the first game. "We talked and said you might beat us once but you're not going to beat us twice. We were a lot more confident this game. The first game I felt we should have won too because we only lost 18-13. It was the first game (in the tournament) so we still had to get our jitters out."
In the end though, it was the repetitions and hard work the team put in before the the tournament that several players credited as the reason they were hoisting the Badger Sports Trophy.
"We practiced every other day for this," Lindsay said. "We just did our thing out here."