JEFFERSON and 15 other teams will get a break from the summer football grind Thursday when the Dragons host their fourth annual 7-on-7 tournament.
Coach Ben Hall said the event gives the players something to look forward to during the somewhat monotonous offseason schedule.
“It’s not the easiest thing to do to come in here at eight o’clock every morning four days a week and lift and run — especially when it starts getting hot — if there’s nothing to work for,” he said.
Close to 500 players will descend upon Jefferson Memorial Stadium Thursday. Jackson County, which plays Jefferson Sept. 26, will take part in the event, while some of the other teams include Madison County, Lincoln County, Mill Creek, Dacula, Peachtree Ridge, Mountain View, Archer, Gainesville and Flowery Branch.
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Hall will divide teams into two pools — larger and smaller classifications basically — for a series of games. Then in the afternoon, teams will cross over for a single-elimination tournament.
Outside tournament-play games, scores and win-loss records aren’t really emphasized.
“We kind of take that out of it so teams don’t feel pressed to win every game if they want to get their young guys or back up reps,” Hall said.
Hall said this is a fun event for his team.
“They enjoy playing against other teams and competing together, even though the games don’t matter,” he said.
While the tournament is certainly one of the more enjoyable aspects of the summer slate, there’s a healthy dose of preparation going on too. Every school competing basically has an entire day devoted to executing and defending the passing game.
And since Jefferson will take part in several 7-on-7 tournaments this summer, it will have worked on its passing game plenty by the time fall practice rolls around.
“With the perimeter game — pass offense and pass defense — we’re ready to hit the ground running when we start Aug. 1.”
But more than anything, this 7-on-7 tournament provides an opportunity for teams to get in some good, quality work in early June.
“It’s early in the summer,” Hall said. “Most teams haven’t had an opportunity to do a lot since they finished spring practice,” he said.
NOTE: Since the event has grown so popular, Jefferson will host a second 16-team tournament June 19.
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