HOOVER — Gadsden City finished the final day of pool play 1-1-1 in the USA Football 7-on-7 National Championship Series, but the loss may have been the more important game for the Titans.
Gadsden City hit the ground running against Hoover in the first contest, which ended in a 20-all tie. There is no overtime until bracket play, which is Saturday.
A familiar foe was next for the Titans in Class 7A, Region 4 opponent Bob Jones.
Gadsden City’s first drive ended with an interception, which awards three points to the defense.
The Patriots scored on their first play on a 40-yard deep route to take a 9-0 lead. The extra point play from the five-yard line was incomplete.
Things didn’t get any better for the Titans, as they went on to lose 28-2. Their lone points came on a defensive stop on Bob Jones’ final drive of the game.
“When you’re at these national tournaments, going through these things undefeated is unheard-of unless you’re 7-on-7 gurus, and we are a football team,” Gadsden City coach Bart Sessions said. “And as a football team, we know we are going to some L’s at some point in this.”
The Titans took the loss and learned from it before hitting the field in their final game of the day against Minor.
“The losses are more valuable to us than the wins, because what we are trying to teach our kids is how to handle adversity,” Sessions said. “How to play through a little bit of struggles. How to come together as a team when you are hot and tired and cramping.”
Gadsden City fell early and faced a 10-0 deficit, but the Titans got an interception from Sammy Goldthreate to put three points on the scoreboard.
After struggling since the Hoover game a couple of hours earlier, the Gadsden City offense marched down the field on offense to get a touchdown and converted the extra point to tie the game.
“Coach (Tim) Gillespie and his staff did a great job of changing up the tempo a little bit,” Sessions said. “That creates come chaos on the defense.”
Minor had less than a minute to get a score, but Gadsden City forced a turnover on downs as the time expired to add two points on the scoreboard, which gave the Titans the 12-10 win.
“Some games, your offense has to carry your defense, and ours has done that,” Sessions said. “Some games, your defense has to pick up your offense. We’ve done that a little bit. It just helps our team come together as one.”
The Titans went 3-0 in pool play Thursday with wins over Greenville, Fort Walton Beach (Florida) and Baldwin County. They will face Baldwin County at 9 a.m. Saturday as the No. 9 seed. Should Gadsden City and Spain Park each win its first games, the teams will face off in the next round; the Titans and Jaguars open the regular season against one another Aug. 25.
Article courtesy of The Gadsden Times