The D Zone

Friday, February 3, 2017

The D Zone 7on7 Team Player Evaluations and Recap

Team following a huddle



The Legacy Center in Brighton was host to the 2017 Midnight Madness 7 on 7 tournament that featured 12 different teams.  The D Zone compiled a team of a few key players in the area that we'll highlight.

The team finished with 3-2 record and earned a bye, in the first round of the playoffs before losing to the eventual champions, GUTS in the semi-finals.

Box Score:
Game 1 - loss
Bloomfield Hills 2018 QB John Paddock to Romeo 2018 WR/CB Nate Goralski
Hemlock 2018 Kade Peters to Lansing Sexton 2018 Slot Cody Blankenburg

Game 2 - Win
Bloomfield Hills 2018 QB John Paddock to Avondale 2018 WR Nick Whiteside, Lansing Sexton 2018 Slot Cody Blankenburg from Paddock, conversion.
Hemlock 2018 Kade Peters to Wyandotte Roosevelt 2018 WR Kendrick Stanley
Walled Lake Western 2018 WR/DB Justin Thomas interception
Hemlock 2018 Kade Peters to Romeo 2018 WR/CB Nate Goralski

Game 3 - Win
Bloomfield Hills 2018 QB John Paddock to Walled Lake Western 2018 WR/DB Justin Thomas
Bloomfield Hills 2018 QB John Paddock to Brother Rice 2018 WR/DB Dwayne Thompson
Farmington Hills Harrison 2019 CB/WR Rod Heard interception
Bloomfield Hills 2018 QB John Paddock to Walled Lake Western 2018 WR/DB Justin Thomas

Game 4 - Win, playoffs
Bloomfield Hills 2018 QB John Paddock to Wyandotte Roosevelt 2018 WR Kendrick Stanley
Hemlock 2018 Kade Peters to Brother Rice 2018 WR/DB Dwayne Thompson
Bloomfield Hills 2018 QB John Paddock to Walled Lake Western 2018 WR/DB Justin Thomas - offensive play of the tournament
Farmington Hills Harrison 2019 CB/WR Rod Heard interception - defensive play of the tournament

Game 5 - loss, semi-finals
Bloomfield Hills 2018 QB John Paddock to Avondale 2018 WR Nick Whiteside
Hemlock 2018 Kade Peters to Lansing Sexton 2018 Slot Cody Blankenburg




Coaches voted MVP - Bloomfield Hills 2018 QB John Paddock
The Blackhawks QB has been on a tear in the past year since transferring to Bloomfield Hills.  Paddock at 5'10.5" isn't the tallest QB, but it's tougher to find a more technically sound quarterback anywhere.  Paddock reads the field well and can make all of the throws.  His deep balls were spot on and led his receivers with little prior chemistry like they've been teammates for years.  Paddock threw for 8 of 13 touchdowns during the weekend before heading to unofficially visit Central Michigan.  Paddock doesn't hold an offer at this moment, but he very well could make one college believe in him at the Division 1 level as his mechanics and total quarterback skill is extremely high.
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Top Offensive Player - Walled Lake Western 2018 WR/DB Justin Thomas
Thomas contributed both ways, but saved his best for the offensive side of the ball.  On the defensive side of the ball he was a ball-hawk Safety who covered a lot of ground.  On offense he was phenomenal at creating separation and getting open.  Thomas may be the best route runner in the state and a 25 lbs increase in weight without losing speed - makes him very dangerous.  Thomas led the team in touchdowns with 3 during the weekend and provided a major boost during the playoffs.  With team The D Zone needing a touchdown, Paddock lifted a beautifully thrown pass to the endzone where a streaking Thomas caught a 1 handed pass with his left hand, leaving the defender who already had no chance in complete awe as the team celebrated the incredible play.
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Top Defensive Player - Brother Rice 2018 DB/WR Dwayne Thompson
Thompson was moved all over the place to make plays on the defense and started to become a key player on offense as well.  Thompson is a very physical DB who utilizes his hands well and anticipates opponents.  The physicalness allowed Thompson to move into a MLB role when Romeo 2019 LB Brock Horne wasn't on the field and it worked well as he covered the entire middle of the field well.  Thompson's best defensive play that comes to mind was a crucial batted down pass when the team needed a stop and he delivered, as the slot ran a slant, his positioning and ball skills were apparent.  Thompson also tagged the QB for a Safety at one point on Saturday.
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Clutch Player - Farmington Hills Harrison 2019 CB Rod Heard
On a day that the defense had hickups from being unfamiliar with one another, Heard rose up and became a key member of the secondary.  Heard led the team with 2 interceptions and had 2 very nice pass break ups.  Despite the two interceptions, one was a major game changer and the other setup the game-changing play.  Heard first batted down a pass in the middle of the endzone.  Shortly after that, Heard went 1 on 1 with a 6'5" WR who had been moved around due to Heard shutting him down.  The opponent went back to that matchup and it was Heard who again got the upper hand, this time emphatically.  Heard seen it coming, who wouldn't?  A 6'5 WR on a 5'11" sophomore, that's the offenses dream, but Heard who holds a Temple offer, showed why as he rose up and deflected the ball to himself for an interception that would prove to be key as it would cause a 9 point difference.
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Romeo 2018 WR/CB Nate Goralski
Goralski is a true football player in every sense, so it's good for a player like him to get out in the off-season and sharpen up his skills.  Goralski did that during the weekend with superb routes and a set of hands that every receiver would die to have.  Goralski was great at getting open in tight spaces, his welcome sign was probably a comeback route for a touchdown that was a great play from Goralski and QB Paddock.  In the second game, Goralski was very tough to stop as he had 2 huge completions, one went for a touchdown which was a great post route that QB Peters put on the money in tight space again.
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Avondale 2018 WR/DB Nick Whiteside
Whiteside has grown thicker and improved his total skill set since last year and its showing in a big way.  Whiteside has a strong ability to be a vertical or possession receiver threat on any given play.  With such a big body he shields off defenders well and has a supreme set of hands.
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Wyandotte Roosevelt 2018 WR Kendrick Stanley
Stanley basically played his way on to them in the past few weeks by being a big-time standout twice before this past weekend.  Stanley continued to do well in getting open and using his size to his advantage.  Stanley's combo of speed and size is very dangerous.
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Lansing Sexton 2018 Slot Cody Blankenburg
When we found we would be having a team, the first message was sent to Blankenburg.  Normally that's enough, but some just don't get how fast and elusive he is.  Blankenburg turned in another fine performance with several key receptions vertically and out of the backfield.  Blankenburg had one catch that was ruled at the one else you'd be looking at a 3 touchdown performance.
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Hemlock 2018 QB Kade Peters
Peters is long and tall so he's sees the field well.  His IQ is good and he finds receivers well, if it wasn't for a few overthrown balls he would have turned out a better stat performance, but was still strong in getting completions and striking for big-play throws.
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Romeo 2019 LB Brock Horne
Starting and succeeding in the MAC Red for a Division 1 title contender is not easy and covering 7 on 7 is not easy.  That is why colleges are getting excited about Horne, he doesn't grab headlines on scouting sites, but don't let that deceive you.  He moves well and is built already for it, the weekend again confirmed that.
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Brother Rice 2018 FS Lawrence Reeves
Reeves looks like a Linebacker and probably will be recruited/work in a hybrid role in the next level, but for now he covers ground well and his instincts are clear as day.  Reeves put himself in a lot of good positions which is what 7 on 7 does, you can't tackle or really leave your feet to make a play unless it's for a pass break-up.
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Utica 2018 WR/DB Kavon Higdon
Higdon and his family moved to Michigan once his older brother enrolled at Michigan.  We're glad they did because he's been a pleasure to watch as he's a high energy player who is very shifty but plays with a chip on his shoulder.  He was tasked with lining up vs. opposing Slots and did a great job.
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Fordson 2019 ATH Abraham Jaafar
Jaafar was brought in to be a Slot, but with players not showing up defensively, Jaafar was moved over to defense.  He didn't play any defense as a Sophomore on Varsity, but has been working on it this off-season.  As you'd expect he was spotty, but was full of potential as he had several great deflections and moved well.
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Cass Tech 2018 DB Chaz Jones
Jones steps into one of the toughest roles in the state as a Senior as he's a Senior on a team that lost 8 starters and all but 1 starting DB.  Jones needs all the reps and confidence he can get before practices as he has good size and moves well.  Experiences like this can go a long way during the off-season.
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Romeo 2018 WR/CB Ronnie Wood
Wood stepped in nicely as a last minute addition, drawing constant praise from his defensive coach.  Wood had several great plays and moves very well in coverage.  His ball skills are good and he had one of the better defensive plays where he jumped a route, gambled, and it would have paid off if it was actual football as he ripped the ball out of the receivers hands, it was somehow ruled a completion, but was very close to going the other way for an interception.
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Oak Park 2018 WR Kevin Bradley
Bradley didn't play the entire tournament else he'd have more big plays, but the Oak Park receiver is definitely one to look out for as a downfield threat with good speed and body control.
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