With 29 national titles in flag football and in 7-on-7 competition, no one can deny the success of Tucson Turf Football. It has been the dominate youth program from Southern Arizona since 2007 and it feels like the program is just getting started.
The Tucson Turf Elite 7-on-7 team took all four major tournaments this year including the Pylon National Tournament of Champions held in Dallas. With a roster that includes Trenton Bourguet, Mario Padilla, TJ Cephers, Bijan Robinson and Jamarye Joiner (to name a few), one quickly understands just how elite this team is. Oh, and the team won the national title without four of its biggest starts on the field.
The team won the Arizona tournament against a field that included all-star teams like Hamilton, Chandler and Mountain Pointe. Then, the championship at the National Pylon Tourney in Vegas (Bourguet and Padilla were named Tournament MVPs) set the stage for what was to come next.
“Our team is made up of a group of friends,” Bourguet said. “We come in and see other teams have all-stars on their side and they hardly know each other. You can see their confusion because they were thrown together to try to win a tournament but we’re a team. We do things to help our team no matter how good we are as individuals.”
Even though Bourguet was named the Top Gun7v7.com Quarterback of the Year, that topic never came up when he talked about his team.
That team-first outlook is a major part of the program run by Bourguet’s father Toby Bourguet. Almost every player on the team will openly talk about the team and the team’s goals before they mention their individual part in the success.
“We have guys on our team who are all-state and college bound in a certain position but we may not throw to them in one of our game,” Toby Bourguet explained.
“Their skill set may not be what we need at that moment but we have them on our team and they understand their roles,” he added.
A win at the IMG Super Regional in Los Angeles led to the Pylon National Tournament of Champions victory over Midwest Boom at the AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, where Teon Simmons and Trenton Bourguet were recognized for their individual accomplishments.
As mentioned before, the players will gladly accept individual awards earned on the field but the crystal football is what matters most.
“I’ve been with this team since I was in the fifth grade,” Salpointe standout Padilla explained. “We stay in the same room, we eat together, we know each other. There was something about this team that other teams just don’t have. We can get on the line and a head nod is all we need.”
Padilla received his first offer from Howard University.
Cephers is also drawing some attention after a successful trip to an invite-only camp at Penn State and a visit to Rutgers this summer. The Marana standout impressed the Penn State linebacker coach which says a lot, considering it’s a program known for its linebackers.
“I did a good job with my drills and I got a lot of good exposure there,” Cephers said. “Now I need to focus on Marana because everyone is expecting us to do great things this year.”
TUCSON TURF ROSTER
Amari (Mo) Harris
*did not play in Dallas
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com