Football: 7-on-7 season set to get going
Quarterbacks — new and old — will be under the microscope when the 14th season of summer 7-on-7 football begins with the Houston Texans-Sam Brown State Qualifying Tournaments this week.
The 16-team field on Saturday, May 21, includes Cinco Ranch, Texas City, Channelview, Weslaco, Pearland, Pasadena Memorial, Belliare, Lewisville, Chavez, Kingwood, MacArthur, Lamar, La Marque, Bay City, Milby and Magnolia going for two state berths.
On Sunday, May 22, Dawson, Manvel, Dulles, San Antonio Alamo Heights, Baytown Lee, A&M Consolidated, Port Arthur Memorial, Seven Lakes, Klein Oak, Klein, Bush, Fort Bend Travis, Clear Creek, Cy Creek, The Woodlands and Langham Creek will do the same on the outdoor fields and in the bubble at the Texans Methodist Training Center across from Reliant Stadium.
"It's a great opportunity for the kids to play where the Texans work out, and these two events kick off the 7-on-7 season in kind of a special way," said tournament director Mike Jackson, who was recently named the new football coach in La Marque after leading Chavez to five consecutive playoff appearances.
The 7-on-7 season also benefits quarterbacks who are stepping into starting roles, like Clear Creek senior-to-be Austin Smith, who started for the Wildcats' JV in 2009.
"It is a good thing for quarterbacks who are inexperienced at the varsity level," Clear Creek coach Darrell Warden said. "It's an opportunity for more reps (repetitions) with receivers and running backs, and to go out and process what they're seeing against a live opponent.
"Some teams change what they do offensively to better compete in 7-on-7, but we don't because our goal is to work on what we do, and hopefully have a lot of it carry over into the fall and have some success there."
Such as last season when Clear Creek recorded Class 5A Region III Division II playoff victories against Fort Bend Travis 37-34 and La Porte 16-0.
"We felt like 7-on-7 was part of our best season ever in 2010, and it will help a player like Smith, who has been a quarterback in a past season, and was the varsity backup while playing wide receiver last season.
"He's a good kid with talent, composure and leadership, and he's already pretty familiar with our system."
Clear Creek is in pool D on Sunday, with The Woodlands, Cy Creek and Langham Creek.
The schedule for both days has pool play games at 9, 10 and 11 a.m., semifinals matching the four pool winners at 1 p.m., and the championship and third place outings at 2 p.m.
The 2011 Division I 7-on-7 state tournament is July 15-16 at Texas A&M University.
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