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BRANSON, Mo. — Branson High may not have started great at the inaugural Battle at the Border 7-on-7 football tournament, but it sure finished well.
The Pirates dropped a pair of games in pool play, but cruised through the Missouri side of the bracket and downed Harrison 21-12 in the finals to claim the title Thursday evening at Pirates Stadium.
Branson jumped to a 15-0 lead in the finals as quarterback Keigan Dougharty completed 8 of 9 passes, including two touchdowns, on the Pirates’ first two possessions.
Rising junior Ty Werling intercepted a Harrison pass in the end zone for two points in between Branson’s two scoring drives.
A key moment came on the first play of the game when it looked as though Harrison connected on a 35-yard touchdown pass. The Goblins were celebrating in the end zone when they were told the score was denied because of a time violation by the quarterback, which results in a sack in 7-on-7.
Another sack and an incomplete pass turned the ball over to Branson and the Pirates zipped down the field with four straight completions for a touchdown
Branson coach Anthony Hays said 7-on-7 may not be real football, but there’s one thing he likes about it.
“You see the momentum and you see how your kids react to them and that’s like Friday night,” said Hays, whose team lost to Rogers High and Bentonville West in pool play. “We return about 13 starters but a lot of those kids making plays at receiver were JV kids or spot players last year. That was really nice to see them step up and compete.”
The 24-team event matched 12 Arkansas teams against 12 Missouri teams. Bracket play matched Arkansas teams against each other and Missouri did the same setting up a team from each state matching …
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