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Atlantis Boys Win at Surfside

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Atlantis Boys Win at Surfside

The Atlantis select side program won the Boys' High School Division of the 2014 Surfside Sevens by defeating the Maryland Exiles 19-7 in the final Sunday in Stone Harbor, NJ.  

It was a battle of two undefeated teams, a hard game with excellent skills on view. 

There were 16 teams in the Boys' HS Division and the format was four brackets of four. Beyond the round-robin stage, however, the format was unforgiving: no crossovers in case one division happened to be loaded. The top four teams played for places 1 through 4; the second place team in each division for places 5 through 8, etc: (third place teams for 9 through 12 and fourth place teams for places 13 through 16). 

Round Robin. The winners of the four divisions were Atlantis, NJ Blaze, Maryland Exiles, and Carolina United.  

Atlantis is an invitational team based in Pennsylvania, but calling on players from different clubs. For this event Atlantis was Mid-Atlantic-based, with seven players from Pennsylvania high schools, three from Northeast OH, two from New York, and one from Delaware. Eight of the Atlantis players will start college this year; the rest will be back in high school for at least another year (two were sophomores).

Maryland Exiles.  For this tournament, the Exiles added six players from national HS champion Gonzaga and two from Perry Street Pride (formerly Hyde HS). 

NJ Blaze are a full-CIPP registered HS sevens team that draws on players that play for different high schools during the school year. The majority of players at this event were from Morris with Union and others also represented. 

Carolina United.  Was a team of players from the I do not have any detailed information on this team, other than they represent the Carolina area.

Semifinals: In the championship bracket Maryland Exiles defeated NJ Blaze in a tight semifinal match, 24-12. Maryland scores included two from Aaron Gray of the Perry Street Pride, and Chris Minor of the Exiles. Jimmy Ronan of Gonzaga kicked two conversions. Blaze try-scorers were Kevin Trotter (Union) and Royaal Jones (Hudson Catholic); Mike Dabulas (Union) kicked a conversion.

In the other semifinal, Atlantis struggled in the contact area, and Carolina, like Doylestown before them, was superior in this phase of the game. In the end the Atlantis speed was too much for Carolina United. Atlantis won 21-7 with a try by captain Manny Soto (Exeter HS, Pa.), who is heading to the University of Oklahoma in the fall, and two by Aeden Mangan (St. Ignatius, Ohio), heading to University of Dayton). Mangan also kicked the conversions.

NJ Blaze, defending 4-time tournament champion, defeated Carolina United for the Bronze.

Final:  Atlantis had been outmuscled at most contact situations over the weekend, and their strategy for the final was to go to a minimal contact style (little used these days) that can be described as "pull-out at the edge, ball to pocket, change direction without rucking."

The final began with a converted try by Maryland's Chris Minor who just ran around an Atlantis defender; it all looked too easy. The score stayed that way till early in the second half, when Atlantis scored three unanswered tries. All three were initiated from turnovers; two of the three incorporated the quick change of direction at the edge that were part of the game plan. Tries were by Ryan Maguire (Cumberland Valley, Pa.), heading to Wheeling Jesuit), Aeden Mangan, and Manny Soto; Mangan converted two.

Ryan Maguire was the leading try-scorer for Atlantis with six, and Mangan, Soto and wing Raekwon Caswell (LaSalle College HS, heading to Albright College) each had four.  Mangan's eight conversions made him the leading Atlantis scorer with 36 points. Chris Minor and Aaron Gray were the Exiles' leading scorers.

Top 9 teams at the conclusion of the event:
(For more on Surfside 7s and its other tournaments, go to http://www.surfsidesevens.com )
1. Atlantis
2. Maryland Exiles
3. NJ Blaze
4. Carolina United
5. Wilmington Colts
6. Doylestown
7. La Salle HS
8. St. Joseph Prep
9. Maryland Exiles 2