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Local players have great showing at regional youth football tournament

Posted: December 21, 2011 - 12:10am  |  Updated: December 21, 2011 - 9:00am

During two weekends earlier this month, several young football players from Columbia County traveled to South Carolina for the Upstate Football Invitational Championship. We had teams in four separate age groups participate in the tournament:

• Spartans, 8-under: made it to the semifinals

• Raiders, 10-under: runners-up

• Eagles, 12-under: made it to the semifinals

• Saints, 14-under: won the title

The Saints knocked off the Northfield Hornets 22-7 in the title game, which was played in Orangeburg, S.C. Our local team was outstanding throughout the tournament. The defense was very stingy, allowing just 25 points in four games. They were also very opportunistic, picking off six passes in the tournament.

Michael Kay led the way with a pair of interceptions, while Hunter Bentley returned an interception for a score. Tyler Yarnell, Alden Williams and I’Maj Franklin also had interceptions. Clint Tyler added to the turnover margin with a fumble recovery. John McRee helped spearhead the defensive effort from his nose guard spot, and Kyle O’Neill also had a solid tournament defensively as he led the team in tackles for loss.

The Saints’ offense proved to be too much for the competition as well. They used several big plays to pile up 101 points in just four games. There were several standouts for the Saints’ offense, but the star might have been quarterback Nick Patterson. Patterson, who had a great season under center for Evans Middle School this fall, tossed seven touchdown passes in the tournament. He also connected on three more passes for two-point conversions.

Patterson was great, but he was not alone. Robert Clay, who led Columbia Middle School to the middle school championship this season, also was terrific for the Saints. He rushed for three touchdowns, caught a touchdown pass and returned a kickoff for a score as well.

Kay added to his two-interception performance on defense with four touchdown catches, and Franklin equaled Clay’s three rushing touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass, too. Hunter Bentley also had a touchdown grab, and Tristan Hawn caught three passes for extra points.

The Saints were coached by Scott Patterson, Bill Kay, Chuck McRee and Jeff Hawn.

Patterson feels the Columbia Area Youth Football Association (CAYFA) is having quite a positive affect on youth football in Columbia County. According to Patterson, the 14-under Saints’ roster included 20 players and five different teams from CAYFA.

The association will start its fifth year in the spring, and they have come a long way in a short time.

In year one, they had just five teams and 85 players from ages 10-12. Last year, CAYFA had 500 players and it now has five age divisions.

Registration for this season is underway. They will hold combines in February and games start in March. To register, or for details, go to www.cayfafootball.com.

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Comments (4)


Local players--Saints

Thank you for the article. The event took place in Greenville, SC. All teams did a great job. However, as with many sports articles, only some specific players for the Saints are being mentioned. A successful game is not possible without an entire TEAM of players. The boys mentioned certainly deserve recognition but there are other teammates. A roster and(or) a team photo from event would have been thoughtful.
A Saint's Parent's



Columbia County also had a 12U- Raider team that was not mentioned. These boys practiced for several weeks, 4-5 nights per week. They played hard and left everything on the field. I am proud to be a Raider parent and can't wait to see them play for our local middle schools.

Jose T.

10U Raiders

The 10U Raiders played a wonderful Tournment as well. Coach Burt RayBurn and Rolf Pulliam did an outstanding job in taking only 15 players and faced teams that had 25 to 35 players. in the end, key injuries caught up with the team and lost 14-0 in the championship game. The 10U team had some very impressive players and stats that would have made a more interesting story in the paper. I agree with Saints Parent, Its a TEAM effort and a team photo and roster would be great but that was not in someone's agenda.


Teams are always welcome to send photos

All: Please feel free to send team photos for publication in The News-Times to cnt@newstimesonline.com. Send the photos as a .jpg attachment, with all relevant information in the body of the email.