With Pacific Coast and Southern California usually favored to win the NASC 7s, it's going to be a surprise to many to see neither of those teams, despite being stacked with national team players and Eagle hopefuls, in the semis.
In Saturday's quarterfinals, SoCal was downed by a determined All Americans team 10-5. Nate Augspurger scored two early tries, and the Collegiates held on, letting in only a last-minute try from 2011 All Americans Peter Tiberio.
The All Americans, whose coach Tony Pacheco said were tired on Friday, fielded a physically imposing team against the Griffins. Ryan Roundy and Cam Dolan traded seven minutes each. Patrick Blair, Nate Brakely, and Brett Thompson all played significant minutes. SoCal just did not have as big a team.
The Pacific Coast were similarly edged, this time by the Midwest. Bolstered by the presence of both Mauer brothers, Rocco and Dominic, the Thunderbirds got tries from Dom Mauer, Justin Patterson, and Kevin Garbis to win 19-17. The Garbis try tied the game at 17-17 with less than a minute to go, and Dan Wright's conversion sealed the win.
This matchup, too, was one of power versus speed, with power winning out.
Also in the quarterfinals, the Northeast beat the Mid-Atlantic 19-15 thanks to second-half tries from Steve Strydom and Vini Daley.
Late tries also produced a victory for the West. Down 17-5 in the second half, the Mustangs torched the Panthers for three late tries, frm Spencer Scott, Logan Collins, and Carlin Isles. Kelton Miller converted that last one, but it mattered not, as the West would win either way, 22-17.
So now the West takes on the Northeast and the All Americans play the Midwest in the semis.
The South plays the Mid-Atlantic in one Plate semi, while the two teams that have dominated this competition for the last couple of decades, Pacific Coast and Southern California, face each other.
The All Americans will be top four, despite not winning a game on Friday. This is a turnaround from their experience in 2011, when they won their pool, but were upset on Saturday morning by winless Northeast. Northeast ended up 4th, with a 1-5 overall record, while the All Americans finished 5th with a 5-1 record.