SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton’s 7on7 Tournament finished Saturday evening at Memorial Stadium in Savannah.
It was the first time his foundation has had the camp in the 9-1-2. He has hosted the camp in Alabama, as he went to Auburn for college, in the Carolina’s and Atlanta where he grew up, but this is the first time it’s been in the Coastal Empire where is mom grew up and his dad played football at Savannah State.
The day started out at the Jennifer Ross Soccer Complex with 24 teams and the final eight completed on the field at Memorial Stadium.
May River finished fourth in the tournament, Liberty County in third- taking home a thousand dollars for their program. Jenkins was runner-up, bringing in $1,500 dollars , and Woodward Academy of Atlanta took home the $2,500, gear and bragging rights.
Playing their games back-to-back in the heat and rallying back, Warriors Head Coach Jason Cameron learned a lot about his team.
“Being the last team from the city of Savannah, you know, a lot of hype around this tournament and once again, being the last team from the 9-1-2 to be here and lose to Woodward Academy, I’m not going to say we’re OK with it, but you know, we’ll go home proud of our kids,” Cameron said. “It shows resiliency, it shows how we respond to adversity- two games we had to come back from behind. Like I said, getting to the finals from a 24 team pool is a great accomplishment.”
The former Heisman Trophy winner had a watchful eye over the games, taking it all in.
He said the players remind him of where he once was.
“I can remember you know, ninth or tenth grade, you know, playing in tournaments like this and not only playing in them, gauging my talent with other players and with this being, you know, you get a lot of- many different talented from many different schools and counties, you can kind of, you know, see where you need to get better at and you know, with that alone makes you a better player.”
It wasn’t just players and coaches at the event- it was a family event. Even Cam Newton’s kids and parents were in attendance.
"As I do my events, I don’t just necessarily want it to be football focused, you know, because the game of football- the game of football has provided me with so much joy and brought so many people together, so when you do see these type of events, you know, yeah we do play 7on7, but you see the sack races, you see, you know, my dad trying to get people revved up from watermelon eating contests to, you know, a pound cake contest. It’s just so much that goes behind the scenes and like I say, if we come or when we decide to plan for the next year is we will have more things for more people to come because it is a community oriented event.”
In fact, even Newton’s dad, Cecil Newton Senior, was on the mic for the event.
“Monday through Sunday I have a mic in my hands, so I’m a happy- I enjoy inspiring the kids and it’s just been a fun time for us.”
Newton added that they were planning to do the event again in Savannah.