Photo Credit: Leo Schauer

FSM Essential Recap: Pylon 7v7 Football Tournament Showcases Las Vegas Asa Football Town


The Mecca of 7v7 football tournaments wrapped up Sunday in Mesquite with 120 teams vying for the Pylon 7v7 Elite Camps Las Vegas Championship.  The top 7v7 football programs in the nation gathered at the Mesquite Sports Complex, hoping to seal Division-1 offers for high school players looking to play at the next level.  Las Vegas high schools more than held their own in the national stage with strong performances out of its three best 7v7 programs.


Following a disappointing early exit at the Battle 7v7 tournament last week, the Desert Pines High School-based Phase 1 football team was looking to come back and showcase their skills.  


Defensively, Phase 1 played outstanding football, keeping their opponents to 8 points or less throughout the entire two-day tournament.  Phase 1’s stingy defense was led by Bishop Gorman linebackers Cyrus Moss and DJ Herman, who showed incredible field awareness and held opposing quarterbacks in check.  Moss, a former safety-turned-linebacker, is among the top-5 linebacker recruits in the nation and has been fielding offers from Notre Dame and Boise State.


On offense, the Desert Pines wide receiving duo Deandre Moore and Michael Jackson led the charge for Phase 1, with opposing defenders struggling to maintain single coverage on one or the other of the deadly 1-2 punch.  Moore, who also saw playing time on defense for Phase 1, took advantage of his sure hands, this time playing as a safety, and disrupted the opponents’ offensive attempts, keeping opposing wide receivers on lockdown. 

 He will be going into his sophomore season next fall and is already an attractive option for teams like Auburn and Alabama.  A young and versatile player, Moore is set to become one of Nevada’s best recruits in the class of 2023.  Jackson, on the other hand, will play his last year of high school football for Desert Pines next season and has received 16 Division-1 offers as a top-100 wide receiver in the country.  Teams showing interest in Jackson include UCLA, Arizona, and UNLV.


Ultimately, Phase 1 reached the tournament bracket’s Sweet 16 and was bitterly eliminated by Hawaii’s Rebel Squad football team in a 7-6 loss as time ran out with Phase 1 on offense.  Their Pylon run, however, saw a loaded squad bounce back from a disappointing tournament last week and redeemed itself in a much bigger stage.

Another of Las Vegas’ top 7v7 programs at Pylon was All American Pride, a team loaded with talented players from defending state champions Liberty High School.  Quarterback Daniel Britt passed his way into the tournament’s round of 16 despite missing two of his favorite targets from Liberty, tight end Moliki Matavao, and wide receiver Germie Bernard who was recruited by the 7v7 team Ford Sports Performance.  

Because of the vital missing players on offense, AAP started the tournament in a point-scoring slump and relied heavily on its defense to stay in the games. Senior linebacker Zyrus Fiaseu helped AAP’s defense keep the damage to a minimum.  Fiaseu is a defensive behemoth who also doubles as a running back for Liberty and dishes out punishment on both sides of the ball.  He has drawn interest from Hawaii, UNLV and Washington State.  


By day two, the offensive onslaught came for AAP, and the Liberty-based team made it to the Sweet 16 to meet crosstown rivals Game Changers, which is heavily comprised of Bishop Gorman players.  The all-Vegas affair was an offensive onslaught that saw Game Changers come out on top 34-28 and move to the next round of the tournament.

For their part, Game Changers had the best showing of any Las Vegas-based teams.  Top-ranked safety, Zion Branch was a standout for Game Changers, showing why he is on the national radar for Division-1 schools like Cal, West Virginia, and Penn State. Zion Branch is a nationally ranked recruit, the #4 safety in his class of 2022, according to 247Sports.


Zion and his brother Zach are both playing at Bishop Gorman High School and are the great-nephews to former Raiders legend Cliff Branch.


And once again, the Bishop Gorman offense was led by 8th-grade lefty quarterback, Micah Alejado, who is being groomed to be a 4-year starter for the GaelsAlejado looked every bit like a field general and led Game Changers to the Elite 8 in the bracket in many high-scoring affairs.  Though he is yet to run the Gaels offense in pads, two straight weeks of strong performances in 7v7 format certainly helped silence the critics and make them see that he has the talent to be a starter early on for Bishop Gorman

In the Elite 8, Game Changers faced Team Grind Black from Texas and lost 31-10. The Texas team were the eventual tournament winners, defeating Heir Black 19-14 in the final. 


The strong showing from Game Changers and other Las Vegas-based teams, however, proved that Las Vegas high schools are full of Division-1 talent, and recruiters should keep an eye on this growing football town.

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Las Vegas! If you want another great place to watch the games or fights, head to Al’s Garage in Summerlin. There are multiple televisions to watch all the games. Al’s has “Happy Hour” starting at 9 AM and ending at 9 PM. Al’s Garage is located at 11760 W. Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89135. Tell them, “The Franchise sent you!!”


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