Harmony Punches State 7-On-7 Championship Bracket Ticket In Thriller With Odem + Tyler Grace’s Run Comes To An End
COLLEGE STATION -- Part of the Division II Texas State 7-on-7 Championships thrill is getting to face opponents from other parts of the state.
Harmony got a thrill and then some Thursday against the South Texas team of Odem at Veterans Memorial Park in College Station. The Eagles escaped Odem with a 50-44 double overtime win and became the first team from their four-team Pool E to clinch a spot in the state tournament's round of 32.
The tournament's championship competition begins today at 9 a.m. and concludes four rounds later with a state championship game at 3 p.m.
"This is big for us," junior defensive back Konrad Eichelman said. "This is our first time here. For Harmony, ever. We're just doing the best we can."
State 7-on-7 overtime rules loosely follow Texas high school football rules. A team has four downs to drive 15 yards and score a touchdown and then the opposing team gets its chance to score.
Eichelman gave the Eagles a chance to win with an interception in the end zone in the second round of overtime -- after Harmony converted a fourth-and-1 plus a two-point conversion in the first overtime to match Odem's eight preceding points.
Quarterback Spencer Seahorn connected with Jacob Kimmen three plays later for the win. That wrapped up a 26-of-34 passing performance for the junior signal caller while Kimmen led a group of six Harmony scorers with two touchdown receptions in the contest.
"Honestly, I was a little nervous at first in overtime," Seahorn said. "But I knew we had it once we scored the first time. I knew we had it won."
That wasn't the first time Harmony needed eight points and needed them on the spot.
Regulation virtually ended with a 20-yard touchdown pass and a two-point conversion. Odem didn't bother running a follow-up play against the game's continuously ticking clock and settled for overtime.
"It's been an awesome experience," Seahorn said. "It's been fun here. A lot of competition."
Mineral Wells topped Harmony, 26-0, in the third round of pool play, but Fairfield took down Odem to give the Eagles and Mineral Wells an equal share of the pool's title.
Odem and Fairfield, which both finished with 1-2 records, will participate in the tournament's consolation bracket.
Harmony was assigned Midland Greenwod as its 9 a.m. opening-round competition.
Carthage will face the Eagles in the second round if both teams win their round of 32 games. Palestine was the only other local team of six in total to reach the tournament's championship rounds and is located on the other side of the bracket.
Chapel Hill, Tyler Grace Community and White Oak will compete in the tournament's consolation bracket.
Grace Hopes Summer Lessons Become Fall Results
Tyler Grace Community could be considered a favorite against Christoval at 8 a.m. today in the consolation round of the Division II Texas State 7-on-7 Championships, but it was hoping for the same strong showing it put together two weeks ago at the TAPPS 7-on-7 state tournament.
Grace, which reached the state semifinal round of 7-on-7 competition among schools its own size, was knocked out of championship contention Thursday after just two games. It drew state powers El Campo and Stephenville as its first two opponents in a four-team pool and fell 34-27 and 58-33 to the respective teams.
However, Grace did end Thursday on a high note with a 39-34 win against La Grange to tie La Grange for third place in the Pool O standings.
"It's really good competition," Cougars senior quarterback Christopher Wilhelmi said after the Stephenville loss, which sealed Grace's competitive fate. "Hopefully, doing all of this is just going to make us better for the fall. We know we're playing great schools that have real historic backgrounds. We were able to hang in there against El Campo, and I think this is just making us better offensively and it's helping our defensive backs in coverage.
"This is all about the fall. Getting ready for the fall."
Grace somewhat surprised the private school football sphere last season with a relatively young team. It mowed down its TAPPS Division II District 2 competition other than Dallas Christian, which made a TAPPS Division II state championship game appearance for a second consecutive season.
This year, the Cougars have some preseason attention.
Things like reaching the TAPPS 7-on-7 state semifinals have reinforced the interest.
"It's been fun," receiver Brady Newman said. "Finished third in the TAPPS tournament out of all the private schools. We got to play a lot of schools we don't get to play in the season. A lot of public schools. Playing Celina, Palestine, Gilmer and all them has been fun and beneficial.
"Then just being able to be around your teammates all summer long. Staying in Dallas or wherever we're going. Being together and getting that chemistry down has been one of the best parts of this."