Atlanta Mays High defeated Hough 27-20 in the Cam Newton Foundation 7-on-7 national championship game at Nation Ford High School.
The tournament featured teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. It was put on by Cam Newton’s foundation and the Newton family – all of whom were in attendance both days of the tournament.
“I get a good vibe from the people who are here,” Cam Newton’s father Cecil Newton said Friday. “I expect the guys play excited.”
Hough, which represented the losers bracket in the championship, strung together five straight wins before making it to the finals. A standout performance from North Carolina commit Carl Tucker was a big reason why.
“He’s an outstanding young man,” first-year coach Miles Aldridge said. “He’s got a lot of tools. He likes to compete. He’s going to be a good player for us.”
On one play, Tucker side-stepped down the sideline before hauling in a William Coleman pass over a Mays defender. The touchdown catch brought the Huskies within one score.
Tucker attributes his success to being tough on the field.
“My strength is my physicality and how I always go up for the ball,” he said.
He hopes his team’s performance is an indication of future success in his senior season.
“We have to work together as a team and stay humble,” Tucker said. “We need to get our mentality up and keep staying focused.”
Aldridge was pleased with his team but sees areas it can improve before the start of the season next month.
“It was nice to play in the championship,” he said. “Second place wasn’t very good, but it took good things to get here and we will correct the bad things.”
Mays High lost one game in the two-day tournament. It was one of three Atlanta high schools to make the trip to Fort Mill.
Mays linebacker Shiheem Rutherford was excited that his team took home the championship trophy – and the popular headphones that came along with it.
“I think it’s awesome,” he said. “It’s a very generous gift that we worked incredibly hard for, so it is well-received.”
Hough was one of two North Carolina schools that was invited. The other, South Mecklenburg, was eliminated early in the playoff bracket.