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Riverdale defeats Forest Park to win title

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily.com

Normally, the soccer fields at Lovejoy Park are filled with players kicking a ball in the "European form" of football.

Not this week, as 16 high school teams from around the state assembled at the facility to participate in the first ever Southern Crescent Sports Council 7-on-7 passing tournament that looked an awful lot like American football.

The event was co-sponsored by the Clayton County Visitors Bureau and the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department.

"So many negative things have come out about Clayton County it's nice to see something positive happening," said Jonesboro head football coach Clint Satterfield. "This was a great week, and I can't wait to see this thing grow."

Teams played without pads on a 40-yard field and no tackling was permitted, but that didn't stop the squads from competing for the right to be called tournament champion.

In the end, Riverdale knocked off Forest Park to win the team title.

Riverdale defeated Henry County, the squad many thought might win the event, in a semifinal contest. Forest Park worked its way into the finals by beating Avondale.

Those involved in the first seven-on-seven tourney hope to see the event grow even more next year.

"The youth and amateur sports markets are huge," said Patrick Duncan President and CEO of the Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Why not get our whole Southern Crescent counties to come together. We have the venues to host these events, so why not go for it and bring something positive to the area. When the kids get here, they have a great time. It's great for our local economy and to see something special happening in Clayton County."

This year's seven-on-seven passing league featured Henry County, Loganville, Lovejoy, Union Grove, Riverdale, Chapel Hill, Mt. Zion, Douglas County, Avaondale, North Gwinnett A and B Teams, Chattahoochee, Jonesboro, Laurens, S.C., Our Lady of Mercy and Forest Park.

Riverdale is under the direction of head coach Nick Davis, who is Normally, the soccer fields at Lovejoy Park are filled with players kicking a ball in the "European form" of football.

Not this week, as 16 high school teams from around the state assembled at the facility to participate in the first ever Southern Crescent Sports Council 7-on-7 passing tournament that looked an awful lot like American football.

The event was co-sponsored by the Clayton County Visitors Bureau and the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department.

"So many negative things have come out about Clayton County it's nice to see something positive happening," said Jonesboro head football coach Clint Satterfield. "This was a great week, and I can't wait to see this thing grow."

Teams played without pads on a 40-yard field and no tackling was permitted, but that didn't stop the squads from competing for the right to be called tournament champion.

In the end, Riverdale knocked off Forest Park to win the team title.

Riverdale defeated Henry County, the squad many thought might win the event, in a semifinal contest. Forest Park worked its way into the finals by beating Avondale.

Those involved in the first seven-on-seven tourney hope to see the event grow even more next year.

"The youth and amateur sports markets are huge," said Patrick Duncan President and CEO of the Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Why not get our whole Southern Crescent counties to come together. We have the venues to host these events, so why not go for it and bring something positive to the area. When the kids get here, they have a great time. It's great for our local economy and to see something special happening in Clayton County."

This year's seven-on-seven passing league featured Henry County, Loganville, Lovejoy, Union Grove, Riverdale, Chapel Hill, Mt. Zion, Douglas County, Avaondale, North Gwinnett A and B Teams, Chattahoochee, Jonesboro, Laurens, S.C., Our Lady of Mercy and Forest Park.

Riverdale is under the direction of head coach Nick Davis, who is back for his second stint as the Raiders' head coach.

His goal is to make the Raiders competitive again and bring some stability back into the program.

Winning this week's tournament shows the squad is off to a solid start.

"I want to see our kids compete," Davis said. "We are a triple option team, we don't do a lot of throwing, so for us to come in to a 7-on-7 tournament and be competitive, and win I can't ask for anything more. Whenever we are involved in something like this our expectations are to win. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best."

Forest Park first-year head coach Rod Perrymond knows he has his work cut out for him as he takes over on the football field.

The Panthers have only won three games since 2005, but the new coach wants to change that this season.

This week, they took a step in the right direction..

"I know these guys are committed to winning and I have some great coaches," Perrymond said. "We want to get things turned around. Everybody knows what it takes to win and they are dedicated to doing that."

Henry County had the best tournament among Henry County teams.

A year ago, the Warhawks enjoyed their best year in school history, going 10-2 and advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

Henry County went into the tournament as one of the favorites to win the seven-on-seven tournament, but lost in the semifinals.

Still, Warhawk head coach Mike Rozier was pleased with the way his team performed.

"It's a tournament, so naturally we want to win it," he said.

Rozier likes the concept of the seven-on-seven passing leagues.

"These are great events," he said. "It keeps our guys busy and focused on football."