Evan Weinberg

Lake Dallas senior wide receiver Evan Weinberg runs past a Frisco Lone Star defender during the Justin Northwest 7-on-7 State Qualifying Tournament on May 28. The Falcons went 4-0 on the day to qualify for the Division I state tournament.

With three berths in the Texas 7-on-7 Division I state tournament on the line at the Justin Northwest SQT, the Lake Dallas football team needed just one attempt to punch its ticket to College Station.

Lake Dallas went a perfect 3-0 in pool play, earning wins over Frisco Lone Star (14-7), Denton Braswell (35-34) and Richardson Pearce (27-6). The Falcons then defeated host Northwest (18-6) in the qualifying round of the May 28 tournament.

"They just kind of came together,” said Jason Young, Lake Dallas head coach. “We had some practices, and there were some struggles during those practices. I wasn't really sure how we were going to perform. But the biggest thing was, even if mistakes were made, there wasn't any finger pointing. They stayed together. They did a very good job of that. I was very proud of them."

The play of the Lake Dallas defense stood out the most on this day, as the Falcons held three of their four opponents to seven or fewer points.

"Our defense was one of the best 7-on-7 defenses that I've seen,” Young said. “We gave up one score to three out of the four teams that we played. That's unheard of in 7-on-7. Our linebackers played well in zone coverage underneath. It's hard to pick out one guy. They all played well.”

Braswell was the only team to give Lake Dallas’ defense fits. That game required overtime. In the extra session, the Bengals got the ball first, starting on the Falcons’ 15-yard line. Braswell scored a touchdown but missed the extra point. Lake Dallas got the ball next, and the Falcons proceeded to win the game after scoring a touchdown and the ensuing extra point.

Operating under center for Lake Dallas was junior quarterback Cade Bortnem. Bortnem, who started three games last season for the Falcons because of a hand injury to starter and Indiana signee Brendan Sorsby, performed well at Northwest despite having limited 7-on-7 experience.

 "I was kind of nervous about him because he is not, per se, a 7-on-7 quarterback,” Young said. “He's a baseball guy. There are a lot of 7-on-7 leagues and camps that guys go to, and he isn't one of them.  It's a different game, really, for 7-on-7. He hasn't done a whole lot. In fact, this was his second tournament that he's ever been in for 7-on-7. I was really impressed. He did a good job."

Young was also impressed with the play of wide receivers Niki Gray and Evan Weinberg, both seniors, and Keonde Henry, a junior.

“Niki Gray was all over the place,” Young said. “He's a tough one to cover.”

The Div. I 7-on-7 state tournament is set for June 24-25 at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station. For Lake Dallas, it will mark the team’s first state appearance since 2018. 

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