Iona Prep rallies to win 7 on 7 tourney
Mario Biaggi connected with a wide open Austin Jones for the game-tying score with 6.1 seconds left, and moments later the pair added the conversion point lifting top-seeded Ioan Prep to a thrilling 28-27 victory over second-seeded Southington in the finals of the fifth annual Grip It & Rip it passing camp at New Canaan High School Saturday evening.
"I just went through my progressions and (Jones) called it out," Biaggi said. "Then when we were going for the win, he literally yelled out 'I got you, I got you.' It was a good final, and it feels good to come out on top."
The showcase 7 on 7 event was live-streamed on MSGVarsity.com, and featured 33 teams from mainly New York and Connecticut.
The tournament actually began around 8 a.m., and when the field was finally paired down to four the last teams standing were Iona Prep, Southington and Brooklyn schools Erasmus Hall and Grand St.
Iona Prep used a late goal line stand to hold off Grand St. 13-12, while Southington got a late touchdown to edge Erasmus Hall 12-6 in the other semifinal.
That set up a showdown between the top two seeds and two of the top quarterbacks in the area in Biaggi and Southington's Stephen Barmore, who gave his team the lead with an 8-yard pass to John Connor with 1:06 remaining.
But back came the Gaels led by Biaggi, who directed the game-winning 40-yard scoring drive behind star wideouts Chris Cooper and Jones.
In the end, Jones was able to separate from the defense and haul in the winning catch.
"We practice getting our timing down so hopefully this is just the beginning," Jones said. "I think we can be great, hopefully we can be remembered as the best Iona team ever.
The event will premier on MSG Varsity, io Ch. 14, on August 21