BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Dr. Phillips' debut in the NIKE 7ON tournament couldn't have started much worse, but it finished with respectability.
The team from Orlando, Fla., went 1-2 in pool play, losing to Guyer (Denton, Texas) and 21-20 to Serra (Gardena, Calif.) and picking up a win over Glenville (Cleveland).
ESPNU 150 running back Demetrius Hart, wide receiver Chris Gallon and rising sophomore Reggie Glover proved to be the most consistent targets for quarterback Nick Patti.
In a little more than five minutes, though, Dr. Phillips found itself trailing 13-0 to Guyer, going on to lose 27-13 in a game that wasn't as close as the score made it appear.
Hart caught a touchdown pass from Patti in the first half and Gallon scored the Panthers' second touchdown on the final play of the game. Hart was easily the best player on the field for Dr. Phillips and when the team seemed out of sorts to start the competition, he stepped up to make some key plays.
The Panthers got in the win column after Patti connected on three scoring passes to lead them over Glenville.
The final game against Serra was a back-and-forth affair with Dr. Phillips taking a 14-8 led into the half. Serra quarterbackConner Preston threw touchdown passes to Marqise Lee and Raymond Ford to take a 21-14 lead.
Hart would make a diving catch for a score to trim the lead to 21-20, but Dr. Phillips would miss the ensuing conversion and turned the ball over on downs to end the game.
Defending champs open with win
Defending champion Northwestern (Miami) and Plant (Tampa, Fla.) easily won their opening games in pool play.
Northwestern quarterback Teddy Bridgewater made it look easy at times, throwing five touchdown passes and actually catching some passes at receiver as Northwestern, dubbed "Team Vapor Trail," defeated the team Butler (Matthews, N.C.), 46-35.
Bridgewater threw two touchdown passes to Amari Cooper, who showed off his crisp route-running abilities. Dominique Rhymes was also on the receiving end of a scoring pass.
The 6-foot-3 quarterback, a Miami commit, switched roles to wide receiver in the second half so backup E.J. Hilliard could get some reps. Bridgewater caught a couple of passes on the Bulls next scoring drive, which gave them a 44-21 lead.
The Plant Panthers got three scoring passes from Phillip Ely to score 19 unanswered points and hold off Martin (Arlington, Texas) for a 25-17 win.
Plant and Northwestern met in the nightcap, with Northwestern taking the 30-14 win.
Ely made some solid plays but had some crucial mistakes. However, his two interceptions against Northwestern came on plays that he wouldn't try to make in a regular game situation.
Action resumes Friday with Northwestern taking on Serra while Plant and Dr. Phillips will play in elimination games against Glenville and Butler, respectively.
• Plant athlete James Wilder II spent most of his time on defense, but he did have a long catch and run against Northwestern. It seems like there is little doubt that he will play on the offensive side in college.
• Wide Receiver Chris Gallon (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) has offers from Memphis, Bowling Green and Florida A&M but is still waiting on some bigger programs. He has made plans to unofficially visit to Tennessee, the lone SEC school talking to him.
Gallon, at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, is hoping to draw the interest of the Volunteers during his trip.
"A lot of the schools want me to come on campus and get a closer look," Gallon said.
He has also taken visits to UCF and might take unofficial trips to Florida and Florida State.
• Dr. Phillips teammate Roderick Ryles, a 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back, has named a top four and is planning a trip to one of the lucky schools.
"I'm visiting Arkansas from July 16 to 19," Ryles said. "I was offered a while back, and I want to check them out."
Ryles said South Florida, UCF and Utah are his other top schools.
"There are a few more schools that have offered, but those are the four I like the most," he said.
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.