7-on-7 is not just a passing fancy
It's June. It's hot. The field is smaller. The roster is shorter and there are no pads and no helmets. But it is football, and Saturday the "boys of summer" will be playing football, not baseball.
Twenty area football teams will go head-to-head in the annual seven-on-seven football tournament, which kicks off at 8 a .m. Saturday at the Eudora High School practice field.
"It's a chance for the kids to throw the football around," said Cardinals head coach Aaron Barnett. "And it's a chance to improve during the summer because you can really only pad up and play football during the season."
Senior receiver Steve Krutz said he played seven-on-seven football because it gave him the advantage of more touches and gave him a chance to scout his fall competition.
"It gives me chances to catch a lot of balls and play a lot of defense," Krutz said. "There's no contact in this, and I think contact is more fun but you have an advantage over other players in the fall."
Although not as hard-hitting as regular season games, the pad-free touch-football tournament still simulates a modified, real-game atmosphere for two, 20-minute, running-clock halves.
The quarterbacks work on a 45-yard field with two running backs, three receivers and an ineligible center against seven defenders who play mainly man-to-man, with two floating safeties.
To create a more fast-paced game, the quarterbacks have to pass and they have only four seconds to release the football. Only the clock, not the charging defensive line, can sack them.
But the scoring remains the same. Teams are rewarded the traditional six points for a touchdown and because there are no kickers, they are forced to attempt a two-point conversion after each score.
The tournament gives the 30 Cardinals participating in the June league the opportunity to gain much-needed practice with their passing game, Barnett said.
"It's definitely an area of the game that we need to improve on," Barnett said. "It's a time for the quarterback and the receivers to work together and pass the ball."
Eudora has two teams a junior varsity team of freshman and sophomores with a record of 5-4 and a varsity team of juniors and seniors with a record of 7-1-1 and both teams, sponsored by Dairy Queen, will participate in Saturday's tournament.
Krutz, who plays on the varsity squad, said he thought his team would do well this weekend because of its good record.
"I'll think we'll be seeded pretty high, so we'll have a good chance of winning," Krutz said.