The Massachusetts and Texas 8th-grade All-Star teams squared off in a classic defensive duel Thursday night in San Antonio, with the hosts holding on for a 12-7 victory in the semifinals of the inaugural Football University (FBU) national tournament.
With Texas trailing 7-6 with 9:11 left in the game, quarterback Bowman Sells hit running back Luke Termin with a 23-yard touchdown pass to secure the win. On the next drive, defensive back Nick Parker intercepted a pass from quarterback Seth Harrell of Nahant, giving the Longhorn State entry the ball at the Massachusetts 40-yard line.
After stopping Texas, the Bay Staters got the ball back and mounted a final drive, but fell just short on a fourth and 3 with 1:36 left in the game, allowing Texas to secure a berth in the national championship game against Florida Saturday night at the Alamodome.
Massachusetts had taken the lead just one minute into the second half, when linebacker Frederick Allen of Kingston intercepted a pass from Sells and returned it 39 yards for a pick-six. Kicker Benjamin Waithe of Plymouth converted the extra point to give the Bay Staters a 7-6 lead.
During a tight defensive struggle in the first half, Texas struck first when tight end Jacob Parrott hauled in a 12-yard touchdown from Sells with 5:20 remaining in the second quarter, completing a four-minute 53-yard drive.
The game was played at the spectacular Heroes Field facility before a contingent of hundreds of boisterous fans from Massachusetts who had traveled to San Antonio.
The FBU National Championship is a football version of the Little League World Series featuring 40 teams competing in a NCAA-style bracket tournament to select a true national champion in youth football’s 8th-grade division. The tournament kicked off Nov. 26. All participating 8th graders cannot turn age 15 before September 1, 2011.
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