MENTOR--Brush head coach Rob Atwood doesn’t have an ace card up his sleeve. He has two and he used both to win the team championship at Saturday’s OhioVarsity.com/News Herald Senior Bowl 7-on-7 Shootout at Jerome T. Osborne Stadium.
Trailing Mentor by six points with just 30 seconds left in a semifinals game, the Arcs drove the length of the field with Lousiville-bound wide receiver/defensive back Kevin Houchins securing the game-tying touchdown catch with just four seconds left in the game.
Needing a conversion point to take the lead, the Arcs went to the sure-handed Pharaoh Brown, who wrestled off a pair of Cardinals to make the catch. Brown verbally committed to Michigan to play defensive end.
“Those two have been making big plays for us for a long time,” Atwood said.
Houchins, who tweaked an ankle in Brush's first game of the day, finished off the upset of Mentor with an interception in the end zone as time expired.
Winning the team trophy only added to an already exciting day for the Arcs. After the 7-on-7 tournament, the Arcs would remain at the JTO to show support for two former teammates--wide receiver Rob Johnson and defensive back Denzel Harris--two players in the inaugural News Herald Senior Bowl.
”Our kids were excited to come and play because we have two playing (Saturday night) and they wanted to come and compete,” Atwood said. “I’m really proud of our guys because of where they’ve been and where they’re headed. This was a good step to becoming a good football team.”
Brush has come a long way since finishing the 2008 season without a win. They were 5-5 in 2009 and 4-6 last year. Winning the 7-on-7 tournament provides them with even more confidence heading into 2011.
“Anything we can do to build confidence is good,” Atwood said. “This was an exciting atmosphere and everyone was fired up. The time came for guys to step up and they did.”
The Arcs opened the tournament with a one-point loss to Mentor, then reeled off four straight victories before stunning the Cardinals in the semifinals rematch.
They won the tournament with a 20-16 victory over Eastlake North, who finished the day 5-2 overall.
North advanced to the championship game with a semifinals win over Ledgemont, the biggest surprise of the tournament.
The Division VI school finished pool play with a 3-1 record, despite being shorthanded after a couple of starting players suffered injuries.