WEST PALM BEACH - With two weeks before the start of summer/fall practice, over 20 teams headed to Keiser University for a 7-on-7 tournament on Saturday, and in the end Wellington Palm Beach Central won the event, beating Lantana Santaluces in the final game.
While the Broncos are one of the heavyweights in Palm Beach County and throughout the state – with The Kevin Thompson leading the way, it was the team on the other side of the field that became the true story.
The Chiefs finished 1-9 last season and has not been a program that many have been watching for quite some time. But that appears to be changing.
After leading Hialeah Champagnat to five consecutive 2A state title games, Hector Clavijo made the move to Palm Beach County in the off-season, and all spring and summer, he has helped to change the culture.
With several camps, 7-on-7 events and combines, Clavijo and his staff have done exactly what made him successful with the Lions.
While they fell short to a very solid Palm Beach Central team in the finals, the Chiefs got by Port St. Lucie Centennial, Pompano Beach, Port St. Lucie and upended the No. 1 seed Miami Monsignor Pace in the semifinals. Palm Beach Central is stacked with talent on both sides of the ball after finishing 10-1 a year ago.
Among the programs in the Final 4 included head coach Anthony Walker and Monsignor Pace, who reached their fourth Final 4 of the summer, Miami Southridge, which was upset by Port St. Lucie in the quarterfinals under the direction of Pierre Senatus.
Also, Coconut Creek Monarch and head coach Calvin Davis surprised everyone by reaching the Final 4, and Coach Johnny Sloane and his Coconut Creek Cougars, who were the defending champions of this tournament, and winners last week in Miami. Pompano Beach also made the trip north.
In addition to Palm Beach Central and Santaluces, and the Miami-Dade and Broward schools, the competitive tournament attracted Boca Raton St. Andrew’s, Boynton Beach Somerset Canyons, Deltona, Fort Myers Riverdale and former Plantation and Nova head coach Frank Hepler, North Fort Myers, Green Acres John I. Leonard, Inlet Grove, Jensen Beach, Kissimmee Gateway and Lake Worth Park Vista.
Also, Lehigh Acres East Lee, North Fort Myers, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach Lakes, Port St. Lucie, Port St. Lucie Centennial, Stuart Martin County and West Palm Beach Forest Hill also competed.