7-on-7 means fun in the sun football

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, June 21, 2012

It’s another Mississippi example of fun in the sun. Co-Lin’s 7-on-7 football tournament got under way this morning in Stone Stadium, with temperatures and heat indexes predicted to be in the mid to upper 90s.

     Basically, 7-on-7 is  a passing offense competition versus pass defense. There are no helmets or equipment, just basic shoes, shorts and t-shirts. It’s touch or shove football…no tackling allowed.

     “I wish I could hit somebody,” is the typical response when a player is asked how he likes the 7-on-7 format. “It would feel good to tackle somebody.”

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     Tackling somebody won’t officially arrive until preseason jamborees, as early as Aug. 10. That’s just two weeks after starting preseason practice. Many coaches try to avoid full-speed contact work that early in the preseason. The Aug. 17 classic games are early enough.

     For the unknowing reader, Aug. 17 is the official opening date for members of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools. By contrast, Mississippi High School Activities Association members can play a Classic game or jamboree on Aug. 17.

     Whatever  the association, it’s too darn hot to play football in full equipment 14 days before September arrives. That is, unless a school has a domed stadium, with an indoor temperature of 80 degrees or cooler.


     And that, my friends, is why offseason workouts were created by coaches wishing to help their teams adjust to the heat and humidity of mid August. Many of the coaches schedule workouts for early morning. At 5:55 a.m., Monday through Thursday, Ole Brook coach Tommy Clopton has his Panthers on the field or in the weight training room for spirited, 90-minute workouts.

     Nowadays, most teenagers don’t have full-time summer jobs. They don’t have a legitimate excuse for not showing up for summer workouts. Players must make a commitment to the workouts.

     Like the rest of the coaches, Clopton realizes there are some valid excuses: jobs, family vacations, youth camps, church camps and other structured activities that cause players to miss a few days of workouts.

     Golly, gee. Participation has been encouraging at most schools. Clopton has been averaging around 90 players per session.

     At Class 4A Lawrence County, new head coach David Parker has been impressed by the Cougars’ work ethic. He said the workouts “have averaged 52 kids, Monday through Thursday.”

     At Class 2A Wesson, Coach Ronald Greer said the Cobras are averaging 42 players, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 6 a.m.

     At Class 1A West Lincoln, new head coach Willie Brumfield said his team is averaging 27 players per workout. That’s an encouraging number compared to previous summer workouts. Brumfield has added an Aug. 17 road game at Salem to the Bears’ independent schedule.

     Bogue Chitto, considered a Class 1A title contender in 2012, is having some strong numbers in the workout, according to head coach Gareth Sartin. Two of his players, wide receivers Brandon Wells and Germie Martin, posted  impressive times in the 40-yard dash during a summer camp at Mississippi State University. Wells has made a verbal commitment to sign with the Bulldogs next February.

     Unfortunately, some other area schools are having a difficult time getting the players to show up for workouts. By coincidence, the head count reflects the number of victories last season. You can count those on one hand for both schools.

     Hopefully, better days are ahead for the coaches and the players. Certainly, it’s not fun getting whipped every Friday night.


     The Tri-County Heroes play their second home game of the season Saturday night on Brookhaven High’s King Field and they are in the revenge mode. The Mississippi Raiders of Jackson beat them 20-2 on the artificial turf of Newell Field two weeks ago.

     This is the first season for the Heroes (1-2) in the Gridiron Developmental Football League. They won their opener 21-20 against Pike County and attracted a crowed of 1,000-plus to King Field.

     Tri-County coach Phil Campbell said he expects another exciting game Saturday night. It’s fast-paced, hard-nosed, hard-hitting football. They lost 22-7 to the Emerald Coast Scorpions on the road last Saturday night at Pensacola, Fla.

     Former BHS quarterback Jimmy Johns scored early in the first quarter on a short run and Ryan Weaver kicked the extra point. Johns was shaken up on  a smashing hit late in the third quarter and missed the remainder of the game as the Scorpions scored a safety and two touchdowns in the final frame.

     Offensively, Johns was the leading rusher with 44 yards on 15 carries. He completed 2 of 3 passes for 18 yards.

     Heroes quarterback Justin Durr completed 2 of 12 passes for 21 yards. Michael Thrasher caught 3 passes for  21 yards. Damoyn Carroll had 1 catch for 18 yards.

     On defense, Jeffrey Newton led the Heroes with 5.5 tackles, including 4 solo stops. Jazzmen Guy, John Campbell, Montrell Smith and Geraldo Norwood each had 3 tackles. Jessie Bowman had 2.5 stops.

     Wishing out loud.

     Hopefully, some energetic BHS booster club will open the concession stand so football fans can purchase some Saturday night refreshments. It’s a great opportunity to raise money for various projects, especially the band boosters.


     Contact sports editor Tom Goetz by Email: tgoetz@dailyleader.com