MEXIA — Corsicana’s Tigers are ready to put June and 7-on-7 football behind them as they march toward one of the most anticipated seasons in years — a season full of promise and high expectations under Hal Wasson, who takes over a Tigers team that is learning about itself every day.
That’s what 7-on-7 football is about more than anything else, a learning experience.
That’s true everywhere in Texas and couldn’t be more evident than in the Tiger huddle these days.
The 7-on-7 format of all-pass, touch-football is designed to teach and grow and head football coaches aren’t even allowed to coach the teams.
They can observe, but this is more an exercise in growth than in winning and losing.
“We don’t even keep score,’’ said Corsicana offensive coordinator Zac Bryant, who sat in the end zone and watched the Tigers from a distance Tuesday as they played their final 7-on-7 scrimmage in Mexia.
Drew Denbow, who was the main man at quarterback throughout spring drills and in the Spring Game, did not take a snap Tuesday, let alone throw a pass.
Denbow did play receiver and looked good in that role, where he has been a star the past two seasons. But the night belonged to sophomore Solomon James, a sophomore quarterback who took every snap.
Several receivers had their moments, including Savion Miller, who was a frequent target, George Foster, T.J. Hildman and Quay Chambers, who made the play of the game in the Spring Game when he sailed high in the sky and made an amazing catch of a Denbow pass.
Denbow and Lane Fuentes are Corsicana’s two leading receivers who return from last year’s district champions team, but Denbow appears to be the leading candidate to take over at quarterback now that three-starter Blake Hoffman has graduated, and Fuentes hasn’t played football this spring or summer because he was busy playing shortstop for the Tigers state semifinalist baseball team.
Wasson will be the first one to tell you this is a work in progress, and as he has said at times this spring, “We have a long way to go.”
But, that said, Wasson believes his Tigers will be ready when the season starts, and he and his coaches understand 7-on-7 in June is nothing like what happens on Friday nights in the fall.
“We let them call their own plays,” Bryant said Tuesday. “We let them play. We want them to just compete.
“Our 7-on-7 (summer season) has been going well for us,” he said. “We’ve had several receivers do well, and we’ve used Drew and Solomon at quarterback. We’ve been pleased with them. Part of this is watching them grow and watching them become leaders.”
One of the obvious leaders during last season and again in 7-on-7 drills is linebacker Tyler Farmer, who is heart and soul of the defense. The coaches might have been quietly sitting in the end zone watching from a distance, but Farmer was on the field, giving instructions and direction and also encouraging everyone on the sideline.
That’s what summer 7-on-7 is all about, coming together as a team in a non-tackle, no pass-rush competition that hones skills and timing.
As Bryant said Tuesday, it has been a successful June with the play of 7-on-7, and that’s what the drills are really all about, regardless whether teams are bring back a ton of starters or rebuilding.
The Tigers have talent and promise, but Wasson and his coaches know the June drills are just another step in the process.
They ended Tuesday.
Now the Tigers will take the next step toward that Aug. 30 opening night game ...