No pads, no coaches, no problem.
That’s life in the high-flying land of 7-on-7 football, where high school teams play pass-and-catch in the summer to develop their skills and lay out the blueprints for the upcoming season.
At least three teams from the Golden Circle area — Corsicana, Mildred and Wortham — are playing 7-on-7 this summer in hopes that the extra time on the field will pay off down the road.
The Corsicana Tigers plan to throw the ball a lot more under new coach Steve Hoffman, who believes in balance and putting the ball in the air.
That’s one reason the Tigers are playing 7-on-7 football this summer. Corsicana hasn’t played in recent years but Hoffman believes in the 7-on-7 game and he also knows he’s playing catch-up.
“I’ve only been here six weeks and we only had the kids five weeks this spring,’’ said Hoffman, who was hired in April. “We’re still trying to put in our offense and the 7-on-7 will help a lot. It’s very beneficial. For us it’s big.’’
Corsicana, Mildred and Wortham are all competing in an eight-team 7-on-7 league that plays in Teague. The teams play two games one night a week and will complete a 12-game schedule before playing in a Teague state-qualifying tournament on June 28.
It’s a big month for Hoffman’s team — and for Devontay Bell, Corsicana’s electric quarterback who is coming back from an ACL injury.
“He can run and throw,’’ Hoffman said of Bell, who is expected to be the catalyst of the offense. “We’ve got some athletic guys and getting the ball to them will take the pressure off of Devontay.’’
That’s the plan, to use every weapon and run a multiple offense that keeps opponents guessing and allows the Tigers to take advantage of an attack that features a land and air game.
The 7-on-7 game has changed the landscape of high school football in Texas and Hoffman hopes the extra time on the field this month will help his kids next fall. High school coaches aren’t allowed to coach the players, but the end result of a summer of 7-on-7 can’t help but benefit Corsicana, which has a new coach and a new system.
And the kids love it.
“The kids are real excited about 7-on-7,’’ Hoffman said. “They’re here and they’re playing. They were excited to know we are going to be putting the ball up a little more.’’
Corsicana lost its first two games, but both games were close, a fact that Hoffman felt was a positive.
“We were right there in both games,’’ Hoffman said. “We’re getting better. Our goal is by the end of 7-on-7 to be night and day from the beginning.’’
Wortham, which has been playing 7-on-7 for two years, and Mildred, which has played for four years, both joined the Teague league that has teams from Waco High, Groesbeck, Mart, Mexia and Teague as well as GC teams Corsicana, Wortham and Mildred.
“This is our second year of 7-on-7,’’ said Wortham coach Shane Doege, who loves the spread offense. “When I took over I wanted the kids to get involved with 7-on-7. The biggest sell for me at Teague is the level of competition. The wins and losses don’t mean as much in the summer as the growth of your team.’’
Witty Busby played quarterback at Wortham for about half of the season last year, and Doege knows how much a summer of 7-on-7 can do for Busby.
“I think it’s great for the receivers to learn routes and for the quarterback to learn reads,’’ Doege said. “There’s a four-second clock for the quarterback to get rid of the ball. It’s helping him a lot. I’ve already see his growth. It’s been great. Our kids are doing a better job of catching the ball in traffic and the quarterback is making better reads. He sees what the offense is designed to do and sees it more clearly.’’
Doege knows the 7-on-7 game can make an impact. He can’t predict what kind of fall Busby will have, but said that a 2,000-yard season “is not out of reach.’’
Mildred, which reached the Class 2A state final last year, will have to find a new quarterback with the graduation of four-year starter Nic Shimonek, and new coach Billy Dan Chambliess said that battle will be fought out during two-a-days.
“Right now we’re not sure who the quarterback will be until we put the pads on,’’ Chambliess said. “It will be tough to replace a kid like Nic. When the receivers turned around the ball was right there.’’
Two Mildred quarterbacks — sophomore Will Burnham and senior Mikey Muncy — are playing in the 7-on-7 league, which provides more than just a chance for quarterbacks to hone their skills.
“It keeps the kids active and helps them get in shape,’’ Chambliess said. “They get a workout without even knowing it. And our kids are competitive. They like to compete.’’
No pads, no coaches, no problem.
Area schedule for the week
Here's a look at this week's schedule for Golden Ciircle teams and Navarro College. The schedule does not include upcoming bi-district playoff games in softball because times and sites have yet to be determined.
GC Baseball/Softball: Blooming Grove sweeps Rice in baseball and softball
Blooming Grove's Lions needed this one.
Heck, they need all of them.
That's where they're living today on the Blooming Grove diamond, where everyone knew going into Friday's game with Rice that the Lions need to win their final three games to have a chance of nailing down the final playoff spot in District 23-2A.
One down, two to go.
“It's in our hands,'' said Blooming Grove Coach Matt Anderson moments after his kids beat Rice 8-0 Friday night. “As long as we take care of our business we'll be fine.''
GC Softball/Baseball Roundup: Frost girls win district title
Frost's Lady Polar Bears needed to win to nail down the district title and they never trailed, jumping out to a 7-0 lead en route to an 11-7 clinching victory over Itasca Friday on the road. They wrapped up their second district title in a row with a 9-1 record and enter the playoffs next week at 13-1.
CHS Baseball/Softball: Whitehouse sweeps Tigers in baseball and softball
The Tigers lost a tough game to Whitehouse, 11-3 as the Wildcats' ace, Pat Mahomes, who went four innings and gave up all three runs on two hits and five walks
GC Basketball/Baseball: Mildred's Connor Hill sees life clearly
There was never any doubt for Connor Hill, never any question about what he would do or how he would do it.
Sure, there was that meeting with his mother and father and talks with the doctor when he was 10, talks and meetings that came accompanied with worry and concern.
But never from Connor.
He just never dwelled on the fact he played sports with one eye. He didn't worry or talk about it when he was 10 and he never talked about it at Mildred High, where Hill emerged as a star on the basketball court and baseball diamond.
GC Track & Field: Roundup — Frost girls win area meet
The Frost Lady Polar Bears made a shambles of their district track & field meet last week, scoring 206 points, and they were dominate again in the area meet Thursday, scoring 162 points to win the meet at Blooming Grove.
Morgan:The new endangered species
Am I just that old, or have amateur athletics gone absolutely nuts these days? On second thought, don’t answer that unless it’s yes to the nuts part.
High School and college basketball are on the verge of being totally ruined by AAU basketball. Top roundball prospects are identified by the junior high level if not earlier.
GC Track & Field: Area meet Roundup
Corsicana's Gilfillan wins 4A area pole vault title; Frost girls win 1A area team title, Frost boys finish second
GC Baseball: Mildred falls to Riesel, 9-0, on the road
Mildred managed a hit and struck out 12 times in a 9-0 loss on the road that could have given the Eagles some cushion in the 23-2A standings. They are now 5-6 with a game at league-leading Teague Tuesday.
CHS Soccer: Tigers boys and girls top off season with strong showing on All-District teams
That tough and gutsy style of play sent both the boys and girls teams into the playoffs and on Thursday the Tigers were rewarded again for their fine seasons as two boys won special honors,four boys were named to the All-District first team and two girls earned first-team honors.
Michael Roman, who did a little of everything — and did it well — was named the District 28-4A Utility Player of the Year, and sophomore defender Jesus Barreto was named the district's Newcomer of the Year.
- More Sports Headlines
- Area schedule for the week