MATTHEWS, NC – This past weekend the Clayton Bootleggers 7s team played their second tournament of the Summer as they travelled to play in the Queen City 7s. After the disappointment of having the local State Games cancelled, the Bootleggers were excited to get back on the pitch. With an extra week of preparation for the tournament, the men were hoping to make Queen City their best tournament yet.
As with their trip to the Airborne 7s, the Bootleggers took a skeleton crew to Queen City, but made the most of it as they advanced to the Cup Semifinals for the first time in club history. The travelling squad included Adam Hockaday, Jon Rogers, Adam Hester, Jason Schurr, Jared Warren, Anthony Crumity, Chris Crumity, and Ted Hardy. Pat Cunningham and Jason Niemiller, whom were at the tournament with the Clayton youth teams, also each put in some minutes in one match a piece.
Clayton also won their pool at the tournament, another first for the club. Were it not for a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals, the Bootleggers would have also played in their first championship match.
The tournament started off on the right note as the Bootleggers bulldozed the Boys of Summer. After a shaky start, Clayton pulled their game plan together and won 31-5. Anthony Crumity scored two tries in the win while Chris Crumity, Hester, and Hardy each added a try.
Game two was more of the same for the Bootleggers as they came out with some shaky play to start the match, but soon found their groove and powered past the Queen City Jesters 31-0. Anthony Crumity and Chris Crumity each scored twice to pace the offense.
The Bootleggers third match was against a familiar opponent in both 15s and 7s, Southern Pines. For the third straight match, Clayton came out of the gate slowly. Unlike the first two matches, Southern Pines made the Bootleggers pay for their slow start and dictated the run of play the entire match as they shutout the Bootleggers 37-0.
The loss set up a match against Older Toes in the Cup Semifinal. The two sides went back and forth for much of the game. Older Toes took a 10-5 lead into halftime in what was a very competitive first half. Coming out of the break, Older Toes looked to put the match away as they pushed their lead to 17-5. Clayton cut the lead to 17-10 only to see their opponent score again to take a commanding 22-10 lead into the final minutes.
One last push saw the Bootleggers score two tries in the final minute to tie the score at 22-22. Unfortunately for Clayton, Older Toes scored in extra time to win 27-22 and move onto the championship match which they won over Southern Pines. Chris Crumity scored two tries for the Bootleggers while Hester and Hardy each added one try apiece.
“The work the guys are putting in at practice is starting to show,” said Team Captain Ted Hardy. “Aside from the Southern Pines match, the squad kept their shape, showed patience, and showed what they’re capable of doing. Fair play to Southern Pines. They took us out of our game plan from the opening kickoff and never let go. They made us pay for every mistake.”
As with the 15s team, the progress made by the 7s team has been significant in the past year. A year ago, the squad could barely put together one half of a game and now they are starting to challenge for hardware in the social division at tournaments. As the club and team continues to progress, it won’t be long before they’re competing at higher levels.
“The team isn’t that far off. Depth is a big issue for us right now. We still need a few more pieces to take that next step.” added Hardy. “The guys showed a lot of heart on Saturday. We were down to no subs by the middle of the third game.”
The Bootleggers 7s side returns to action on July 11th as they head off to play at the King of the Hill 7s in Chapel Hill.
2015 Queen City 7s Results
Clayton 31 Boys of Summer 5
Tries: A. Crumity (2), C. Crumity, Hester, Hardy
Conv: Hardy (3)
Clayton 31 Queen City Jesters 0
Tries: A. Crumity (2), C. Crumity (2), Hardy
Conv: Hardy (3)
Southern Pines 37 Clayton 0
Older Toes 27 Clayton 22
Tries: C. Crumity (2), Hester, Hardy