Photo by Derrick Mahone
Lovejoy rising senior quarterback Alejandro Bennifield has been praised by Wildcats coach Al Hughes for his leadership ability this summer after the team won the Southside Shootout Passing League Tournament.
Lovejoy added another championship to its growing football trophy case.
The Wildcats, the two-time defending region champion and state runner-up this past season, won the sixth annual Southside Shootout Summer Passing League championship earlier this week at Locust Grove High.
Lovejoy defeated Drew 18-16 for the championship as the Wildcats went through the all-day tournament undefeated. It was the school’s third time winning the Southside Shootout title.
“It is always a lot of fun going to that tournament,” Lovejoy coach Al Hughes said. “It was a lot of fun, and we faced some good, tough competition.”
In addition to defeating Drew for the title, the Wildcats also defeated Lakeside-DeKalb, Eagle’s Landing, Locust Grove and Newton. Lakeside is coached by former Henry County coach Mike Rozier, who took the job earlier this spring after resigning from the Warhawks program after 11 seasons.
“We went straight through to the championship without a loss,” Hughes said.
The coach also praised quarterback Alejandro Bennifield for not only his passing, but his leadership ability throughout the earlier stages of the summer workouts.
Last season, the rising senior passed for 1,490 yards and 15 touchdowns in leading the team to the Class AAAA finals, where it lost to Tucker at the Georgia Dome.
“He has basically picked up where he left off last season,” Hughes said. “He has not only shown good quarterback skills, but his leadership skills have been great in leading the team.”
The Wildcats return eight starters on both sides of the football.
Last season, Drew reached the state playoffs for the first time since the school opened in 2009.
Bennifield, who has scholarship offers from North Carolina and Furman, said the team is playing this summer with a lot of confidence. Next week, the Wildcats will head to the University of Virginia for a passing league tournament.
“Winning a tournament like the Southside gives you confidence when you play in the bigger tournaments,” Bennifield said. “We are working hard and having a lot of fun this summer.”