Lakeshore loses first game in 7-on-7 event, then reels off seven straight wins for title _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Lakeshore High running back David Ducre holds the championship plaque after Lakeshore beat De La Salle 39-20 for the Louisiana championship of a 7-on-7 tournament Saturday at Lakeshore High.

Lakeshore High School football team took home the National Select 7-on-7 Louisiana Championship crown with a 39-20 win over De La Salle on Saturday afternoon in Mandeville.

The Titans advance to the National 7-on-7 Championships in Hoover, Alabama, which begins July 17.

The win for the Titans capped an impressive day in which they won seven consecutive games after dropping their first game in bracket play.

“Losing that first game puts you in a tough situation,” Lakeshore coach Craig Jones said. “You get stuck in that losers bracket, and you have to keep winning until either you are a champion or you go home. I’m so proud of how our kids fought through the hot weather and how well conditioned they were. We didn’t have any heat or cramping issues right until the last game. Seven games in a row like we did is something any coach would be proud about.”

The second-seeded team after pool play, Lakeshore fell to Holy Cross 24-16 to open bracket play.

That was the last game it lost. The Titans defeated Ponchatoula 21-10, Fisher 24-5, Covington 28-10, Chalmette 31-23 in advancing to the championship round after a forfeiture by Northlake Christian.

Beating the Cavaliers 25-17 to force a deciding championship game, the Titans rode the hot arm of quarterback Dylan Fields to victory over De La Salle.

A pair of touchdown passes to Ryan Flowers and a 19-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Faciane gave Lakeshore a quick 22-7 lead.

“Dylan got into a really good rhythm with all of his wide receivers,” Jones said. “Nathan and Davante came up with some big catches for us when we needed them and put points on the board. They were just clicking. You also have to give credit to our defense as well for coming up with some big plays when we needed them.”

De La Salle cut the lead to 22-14, but Fields connected with Davante Diaz for a pair of late touchdowns, making it 39-14.

The senior completed 15 of 17 passes for 199 yards and five touchdowns.

“In order to be successful, you have to feel like every pass you throw is going to be a completed one,” Fields said. “The funny thing is playing as many games in a row as we had to do actually benefited us because we were able to get into a rhythm and just get going. We are the kind of team that once we get going and get on a roll, it is very hard to stop us.”

Advancing to the school’s first National 7-on-7 Tournament, Jones said he is excited to see how his team performs against some of the nation’s best.

“I’ll prepare them,” he said. “I’ve been there before from my time when I was at Mandeville. I’ll talk to them about the experience. It’s going to be a fun three days. When the ball is spotted, you are just going to go play football.

“Whoever we play against, we are going to go give it our best. It’s only going to make us better.”