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March 3, 2013
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MIAMI - A total of 18 teams competed in the AIRO Athletics 7-on-7 Regional Tournament at St. Thomas University on March 2.
When it was all said and done, the South Florida Express Elite and South Florida Blur punched their automatic tickets to the IMG 7-on-7 Regional Tournament, which is scheduled for April 20-21 at IMG Academies in Bradenton.
In the finals of the AIRO 7-on-7 tournament, Cardinal Newman (West Palm Beach) 2014 WR Travis Rudolph caught three touchdowns and two 2-point conversions for the Blur. Unfortunately for the Blur, it wasn't enough, as the South Florida Express Elite rolled to a 28-20 victory to win the championship.
Regardless of what transpired, South Florida Blur head coach Mark Stampini was impressed with how Rudolph performed - particularly in the final.
"He went off in that game," Stampini said. "He really came out to play." One of Rudolph's touchdowns, a 40-yard pass from Palm Beach Gardens 2014 QB J.P. Caruso, came off a play in which the dynamic receiver grabbed the ball in the end zone right on top of a South Florida Express defender.
"He just really blew up the whole tournament," Stampini said. "No one could guard him."
The South Florida Blur, also led by Dillard 2014 QB Bud Martin, advanced to the final courtesy of wins over Red Zone Elite and Strong Arm in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
The Blur received a scare in the quarterfinals against Red Zone Elite, as they needed a late touchdown pass from Caruso to Deerfield Beach 2014 RB Brandon Powell to score a 42-36 victory in double overtime.
It turned out to be a crucial win for the Blur, as they - along with the South Florida Express Elite, Strong Arm and Team Belle Glade - earned berths in next month's IMG Tournament for reaching the semifinals.
The South Florida Express Elite defeated Team Belle Glade in the other semifinal.