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July 10, 2010
Notebook: Wren wraps up 7-on-7 title
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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
DUNCAN, S.C. - Piedmont (S.C.) Wren did it.
For the second time in three weeks, the Wren Hurricanes entered a 7-on-7 passing tournament and, for the second time in three weeks, the Wren Hurricanes went undefeated while winning the tournament.
"This is a great win for us," Wren coach Jeff Tate told his team. "But this is not what we want."
Tate, a former defensive coach for host team Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes, has his team's sights set much higher.
"We always want to win that last game," Wren wide receiver Raymond Rogers said. "We want to win the last game in these tournaments and we want to win the last game of the season. We want that state title."
The team's confidence in its coach has grown.
Tate, now in his third season, has brought a winning mentality to Wren and winning these events is solidifying the team's belief in itself.
"I can get used to this winning," quarterback Austin McCaskill said. "Our confidence is very high right now."
And it should be.
Over the course of the three day event, the Hurricanes had to play some of the top teams in the event, including nationally-ranked Hoover (Ala.) High.
"The offense played great," McCaskill said. "We were able to pick up on some things they were doing and make the plays. This is a great group of guys over here and we are very excited for the season."
The excitement from the passing league success, combined with the new coaching philosophy, has players excited.
"Coach has really brought us together," Rogers said. "Things were good here before but we are a family now. When someone is down the whole group picks them up. We feel re-born now."
That re-birth could turn into a renewed energy for the Piedmont area.
"We have heart now, big heart," Rogers added. "We think we have what it takes to win it all. And we are ready to win it all."
Hilliard commits to the Pirates
One of the best corners at the entire event made his recent college commitment public knowledge.
Hilliard, who had kept the announcement private, said that he made his decision almost two weeks ago.
"I committed last Monday," he said. "I wanted to get it over with and I felt good with East Carolina."
The East Carolina campus is nearly six hours away from his home in Anderson, and that was a perfect distance for Hilliard.
"It is sort of far away but still pretty close," he said.
Besides liking the environment at the school and on the team, Hilliard said that it was a simple reason why he picked the Pirates: "They offered me first."