Southside quarterback Chris Raymond scrambles around in the pocket during a game played last season at Selma High School. Both schools are taking part in next week’s 7-on-7 drills at Southside High School. Dallas County, Wilcox Central, and Ellwood Christian are also playing in the event.--File Photo
Southside quarterback Chris Raymond scrambles around in the pocket during a game played last season at Selma High School. Both schools are taking part in next week’s 7-on-7 drills at Southside High School. Dallas County, Wilcox Central, and Ellwood Christian are also playing in the event.-- File Photo

Local teams set to face off in 7-on-7 drills Wednesday

Published 8:58pm Friday, June 21, 2013

By Daniel Evans
The Selma Times-Journal

Southside High School will be hosting 7-on-7 football drills Wednesday, and many local schools are taking part.

Dallas County, Selma, Wilcox Central, and Ellwood Christian will all be at Southside next week to take part in the 7-on-7 drills, which will feature thirty minute games and a continuous clock.

Although they are unique because of the lack of an offensive line, 7-on-7 drills give a small glimpse at what each team might be bringing to the table in the fall.  Each team is going in with different things they hope to work on.

“We didn’t do much passing in the spring, really focusing on running the football,” Southside head coach Daniel Flowers said. “You want to make sure the guys are on one page, that the guys know their routes— the quarterback is going through his progression as far as throwing the football.”

For Ellwood Christian,  who played their first season in AHSAA in 2012, the 7-on-7 event is a chance to compete against bigger schools.

“We are a small 1A school and getting a chance to go out and go against 3A and 4A schools, it helps us to get better on down the road.  That’s why I love to play Southside during the spring and other bigger schools,” Ellwood Christian head coach Mike Stokes said. “It just prepares you, because bigger schools, nine times out of ten, are going to have better athletes and more people, so it just prepares us for the season.”

Dallas County interim head coach Barry Colburn agrees.

“The experience you get from going to things like [the 7-on-7], you can’t get at practice.  You can’t do it,” Colburn said. “This is a great experience– getting to compete against different kids that have different body sizes and different kinds of talent, different amounts of speed from what you see everyday in practice. It’s a great experience for the kids.”

If there is a downside to 7-on-7 football games, it is that the running game is not highlighted at all.

“On the defensive side of the ball, it is unrealistic because in a game situation you have to defend run first and then the pass,” Selma head coach Leroy Miles said. “In 7-on-7 you know it’s a pass, so you just defend pass automatically.”

Although Miles is not the biggest fan of 7-on-7, he does see where it can be beneficial, adding that “it is good for the kids to get some extra work.”

Events like this give coaches an opportunity to look at how their skill position players have progressed throughout the spring.

“It will give our receivers and quarterbacks [a chance] to get some timing down,”  Stokes said. “It will get our receivers to pick holes that are open because I try to teach my quarterback and receivers now to throw to the pocket, to where the receiver is supposed to be. We are just trying to get the timing down.”

Defense is often overlooked in this kind of environment, but many times the defensive players end up getting as much, if not more, out of 7-on-7 drills than offensive guys.

“For us, when we do go to a 7-on-7, the key component we work on the most is the defensive scheme,” Colburn said. “We play a vast number of schools that play the spread offense, so it gives us a chance to work on fine-tuning things for [what] we are going to see from a defensive side during the year.”

During offseason drills, points on the scoreboard are often less important than making improvement on a daily basis.

“We want to see small improvement. Lining up right. Not jumping offside.  There is no such thing as winners or losers [in 7-on-7],” Flowers said. “It is not about how many touchdowns you score. “

All of the coaches stressed the need to get their teams some much-needed experience.

“We are trying to get these young guys some experience. That is my main concern right now. I call them young, but most of them played last year,” Stokes said. “I guess when you play a lot of ninth and tenth graders you still just call them young.  [We] just want to get some experience and get some conditioning out of it.“

The 7-on-7 drills will take place at Southside High School, Wednesday, June 26 starting at 4 pm. A final schedule has not been released yet.

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