Carol City football coach Aubrey Hill has had plenty to celebrate the past few weeks.
“It’s been a great offseason for me because we just had a newborn baby boy, Aubrey Jr.,” said Hill, the former assistant coach at the universities of Miami and Florida entering his third season at Carol City.
Hill had another reason to get excited Sunday morning at Plantation Central Park thanks to his “football sons.”
Led by the sharp passing of rising senior quarterback Stephen “Buckshot” Calvert, Carol City pulled off a dramatic 31-28 comeback win over Fort Lauderdale Dillard to secure the championship of the eighth annual Miami Dolphins’ 7-on-7 tournament. Carol City also won the tournament in 2013.
Calvert’s fourth touchdown of the game was a perfect strike to rising junior wide receiver Victor Tucker on the final play that secured the Chiefs’ second championship in the event.
“We always talk about family to these kids and we talk about finishing,” Hill said. “You see how these kids like being around each other, and they are learning how to finish.”
Tucker ran a perfect route cutting toward the middle and hauling in the pass despite tight coverage in the end zone.
“[Buckshot] called it and said just go down the middle and get it,” Tucker said. “We’ve been working all day in the summer, lifting weights, and in the meeting rooms learning. We can’t wait for the season. We’re shocking the world this year.”
Carol City spent most of last season — a year that began with high expectations — trying to overcome a 0-4 start. The Chiefs played their way into a three-team district tiebreaker with Miami Norland and Miami Northwestern before falling short of against Northwestern, missing the playoffs, and ending the season with a disappointing 4-6 record.
The Chiefs made the playoffs in Hill’s first season, but lost in the first round to Dillard and have not won a playoff game since 2009.
Expecting to field a squad of 20-plus seniors this fall, the Chiefs will enter the season as a major contender in what remains a tough District 16-6A field that includes three-time defending state champion Miami Central, Norland, Northwestern and Hialeah-Miami Lakes.
In addition to the district slate, the Chiefs are scheduled to play at state powerhouses Oxbridge Academy and Lakeland after an opening game against Coral Gables, and also play Southridge, Southwest and American — all playoff teams in 2014 — later in the season.
“These guys have a bit of a chip on their shoulder,” Hill said. “I feel good about this team because the players have been running in the offseason. We have some really good teams on the schedule, so we have to play well each and every week.”
Hill has spent the offseason taking the Chiefs to compete all over the state and said he sees more maturity from his key players.
“This team has really been chomping at the bit to compete,” Hill said. “From the referees’ scrimmage to our spring game against Plantation, we’ve been to 7-on-7’s at UM, UF and now the Dolphins. We want to carry this over to the regular season.”