PEABODY — For the third consecutive summer the Under Armour Northeast 7v7 Tournament East Regional was held at Bishop Fenwick High school this past weekend.
Once again, event coordinator and Swampscott football coach Steve Dembowski is excited to see the growth of the event as well as the increased level of play the players exhibited on Saturday.
“We had 40 teams for each of the three locations and 110 schools representing 120 spots,” said Dembowski. “You can see the level of explosion. The preparation the kids are putting in keeps getting better and better.”
Of the 40 teams at Fenwick Saturday, only two North Shore teams — Masconomet and St. John’s Prep — advanced to the 16-team playoff while Swampscott, Bishop Fenwick and the Prep will play tomorrow in the New England Championships at Bishop Fenwick.
The Eagles had the best showing of local teams, advancing all the way to the semifinals before losing 13-12 on the final play against last year’s champion Chelmsford.
“Can’t sweat losing in the semis. I’m worried about the regular season,” said Prep running back and Maryland commit Johnny Thomas, who spoke about why he likes playing in the 7v7 tournament.
“It’s a team-building experience. You get to be with your teammates in a game atmosphere. And it’s fun.”
Mike Geaslen and A.J. Carrigan both played quarterback for the Eagles Saturday and both had their moments. Geaslen only threw one incompletion in his first game and showed great touch throwing jump balls to both Jake Burt and Thomas. Thomas had a spectacular leaping grab over a defender on a 18-yard strike in the team’s quarterfinal win over Wakefield.
Burt, a volleyball and basketball player in other seasons, looks to be a serious threat at tight end for the Prep.
“He’s an absolute animal. It’s going to be hard to stop him because he’s going to get the ball at its highest point,” said Thomas, who assessed the Eagles overall day. “We had a solid day. Everybody played solid. The young guys stepped up to the plate.”