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Austin quarterback Paxton Montgomery looks to pass during the FCA 7 on 7 tournament that took place at the Jack Allen Sports complex last Thursday. Montgomery returns as the starting quarterback. | Caleb Suggs

Austin dominates in FCA 7 on 7 tournament

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

It may have just be a preseason 7 on 7 tournament, but that didn’t stop the Austin Black Bears from impressing. Austin competed in the FCA 7 on 7 tournament that was held at the Jack Allen Sports Complex last Thursday. Austin comes into the 2017 season with a lot of preseason hype thanks to back-to-back trips to the state semi-finals and the return of many of their players. The tournament featured a few other county schools including Decatur, Priceville and Decatur Heritage. Austin breezed through the tournament, winning five straight games by a combined score of 203-51, to become champions. However, while the stats may be impressive most will tell you not to get excited as a 7 on 7 tournament is nothing compared to the Friday night lights. Chief among those is quarterback Paxton Montgomery. “We have to stay focused and realize this does not decide how our season goes,” Montgomery said. “I think last year we went like 1-9 or something like that and we ended up going all the way to the semis.” Montgomery is in a much different position this time around as last year he was in a competition to become quarterback whereas now he is the set starter. “I feel good but I know I can’t get complacent,” Montgomery said. “Last year when I was battling with Sam (Watkins) that helped me stay focused. I have to keep that focus.”

Austin started the tournament with a 28-12 win over rival Decatur and followed that up with a 44-4 win over East Limestone to earn them the number 1 seed in bracket play. The first game of bracket play saw the Bears defeat fellow county school Priceville 47-15, which featured a highlight reel touchdown catch from SEC prospect Asa Martin. Martin returns to the Black Bears after spending a year at the IMG academy in Florida. He fields offers from most of the top schools in division one, but has narrowed his decisions to Alabama, Auburn and Florida. “It’s good to have him back. Just another weapon for us,” Montgomery said. “It’s good to know if I’m in a bind I can just throw it to him and he can make a play.” Austin ended the tournament with a 45-6 win over Cherokee and a 39-14 win over East Limestone in the championship game.

In other county play, Priceville finished 0-4 on the day with a 23-11 loss to Decatur Heritage, 24-22 loss to Cherokee, 47-15 loss to Austin and a 21-14 loss to Colbert Heights. Decatur Heritage finished 3-1 with a 23-11 win over Priceville, 19-13 win over Colbert Heights and a 22-2 over Decatur. Their lone loss was 23-16 to East Limestone. Decatur finished the day 0-4 as well. Their losses were 28-12 to Austin, 23-6 and 22-2 to James Clemens and 22-2 to Decatur Heritage.