In the end, four out-of-state teams decided the Southwest Elite 7-on-7 championship on Saturday at Shiloh Christian's Champions Stadium.
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Derby (KS), Hoover (AL), Broken Arrow (OK) and Olive Branch (MS) were the semifinalists, with Derby and Olive Branch advancing to the championship game.
The Conquistadors handed defending champion Fayetteville its first loss of the event and rode that momentum out the rest of the way, defeating Derby 36-9 to advance to the national championship in Hoover, Ala.
Fayetteville, winners of the last two 7A state championships, was eliminated 35-8 by Broken Arrow, which boasted two Oklahoma State commits in running back Devon Thomas (6-1, 215) and Gyasi Akem (6-1, 220). The Purple Dogs' Jordan Dennis (6-1, 175) repeatedly made tough catches and eluded defenders all day.
Olive Branch also won the event back in 2010, and is the only non-Arkansas program to have won in the Southwest Elite's five-year existence.
Current Arkansas wide receiver D'Arthur Cowan played in the 2010 rendition for Olive Branch.
Safety Alfred Dickens (6-0, 205), an Ole Miss commit, was a ballhawk at safety all weekend and helped corral Derby tight end DeAndre Goolsby (6-5, 230), who has offers from a plethora of schools, including Arkansas.
Springdale Har-Ber was one win away from advancing to the winners bracket quarterfinals, but fell to Hoover 21-10.
Highly recruited Wildcat defensive lineman Josh Frazier looked on, supporting his teammates as they tried to fight back through the consolation bracket, but were eliminated with another loss to Hoover, 31-23.
Charleston quarterback Ty Storey, a 2015 product who recently committed to Arkansas, led his Tigers deep through the consolation bracket before falling to Rogers Heritage, which was quarterbacked by senior Josh Qualls, who continues to impress.
Bentonville tight end Jack Kraus, who is a 2014 Arkansas commit, made plays for the Tigers all weekend before El Dorado eliminated the defending 7A runner-up, 28-22.
Bolivar, Mo. quarterback Rafe Peavey, another 2014 Arkansas commit, got knocked out early on Saturday by Little Rock Christian but had a good weekend because he got to meet and get his picture taken with his idol, Tim Tebow, who spoke to the players on both Thursday at an EA Sports NCAA Football launch party and Friday night at the iNFLUENCERS rally at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center.
NOTABLE: Former Springdale Bulldog, Arkansas Razorback and USC Trojan and current Tennessee Titan wide receiver Damian Williams was in attendance Saturday…Former Pulaski Academy Bruin, USC Trojan and Arkansas Razorback Broderick Green is now coaching Pulaski Robinson's running backs and was seen helping out during the weekend.
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