Best of the West
Zach Kline
Zach Kline

Posted Jul 15, 2011

CLOVIS, CA -- After four regional tournaments throughout the Golden State, Passing Down is set to host its inaugural Best of the West Elite 7-on-7 Championship tournament on Friday under the lights at Buchanan High School. Some of the top prospects in the nation will compete; check inside for preview of the action…

Four-star quarterback Zach Kline had a rough two days at The Opening in Beaverton, Oregon last week losing all five games during the 7-on-7 portion of the football event. He’s looking to redeem himself Friday night at the Passing Down Best of the West Elite 7-on-7 championship.

Kline teamed up with Bryce Treggs and Dalis Bruce at the Passing Down Elite 7-on-7 regional in San Ramon. The trio fell short of the regional title but finished in the top four to earn an invite to the BOTW. This time around, Kline’s California Strength team is looking to win it all. Besides his original cohorts, he’s added a pair of four-star receivers in Darreus Rogers and Malik Gilmore. It is easily the most impressive group of wideouts we expect to see.

While Kline is an established name, Bakersfield (Calif.) Ridgeview quarterback Tyler Ferguson is hoping to continue is strong summer 7-on-7 performance. Last month, he led DB Guru on an impressive run in the Big Man on Campus tournament in Los Angeles. He was arguably the top signal caller at the tournament. His Bakersfield Burr squad finished second in San Ramon, but won it all at the Passing Down Newport Beach Elite 7-on-7 regional in April. Ferguson has all the tools, and he will have a solid team led by UCLA-bound cornerback Shannon Edwards and State Sophomore of the Year running back Deon Martin.

But the quarterback looking to make the biggest splash is Nick Arbuckle out of Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure. He led his SoCal Elite team to an impressive 5-0 record at the Passing Down Santa Clarita regional in May. And he doesn’t even start for his high school team. Arbuckle will head into his senior year behind Marc Evans, but it hasn’t stopped him from gaining interest from D1 schools. With wide receiver Jake Maulhardt and cornerback Darren Gales, SoCal Elite is full of underrated talent.

Quarterback Malik Watson burst on the scene at the San Ramon regional. The then little-known prospect led the Pitt Playmakers to a top four finish in the regional before bowing out to Ferguson’s Bakersfield Burr team. Watson, who is also a stellar baseball player, has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in Northern California. He had an excellent showing at the Elite 11 regional camp and the Nike Football Training Camp in Stanford. Teammates Tyelor Mapp and Terrance Barnes give him solid receiver targets.

Three-star quarterback Mike Baker’s Central Cal Boys team beat California Strength in San Ramon in the semifinals back in February. While Baker’s team won the first regional tournament to earn a top four seed in the BOTW, his original team is depleted. Only wide receiver Brayden Sanchez and Baker remain from the 14 players that won it all. However, two of the top players in the Valley that didn’t play with Baker in San Ramon are expected to play on Friday – five-star cornerback Tee Shepard and three-star running back Chris Brown.

Team Pro Sport won the 2010 Passing Down Elite 7-on-7 title and looks to defend its title. Pro Sport struggled in San Ramon but turned it around at the Passing Down Elite 7-on-7 Rocklin regional to earn a spot in the BOTW. Coach A.J. Rangel’s team can never be counted, especially with three-star athletes Chris Santini and Cleveland Wallace playing both sides of the ball.

TU Squad surprisingly walked away as the Rocklin regional champions. They’ll be out to prove their title run was no joke. D1 prospects linebacker Xavier Stephens and wide receiver Will Stallworth are ones to watch on this team.

The Solano-Seven team dominated pool play at the Rocklin regional before falling to the TU Squad. Quarterback Ben Scott won’t impress you with his arm strength, but he is efficient. Future Washington State Cougar David Bucannon will anchor the defense.

California Strength II made a surprising run to the Rocklin regional championship game. Kline’s backup quarterback at San Ramon Valley High School, Cameron Birse, leads the young team. Terrance Daniel Jr. is a 6-foot-6 target that can abuse defenders when he wants. But the most talented player on this squad is wide receiver/defensive back Ray Hudson. He will be one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2013 class.

Team 559 completes the 10-team field after literally backing into the BOTW at the Santa Clarita regional. Quarterback Corbin Quinonez had his team playing well in the playoffs before Team SCV Elite forfeited the third place game giving 559 the auto invite to the BOTW. Nonetheless, the will be out to prove they belong in this tournament.

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