WHEN coach Ben Hall gathered his players at the conclusion of the Jefferson’s 7-on-7 tournament Thursday, he made sure to stress to them that it’s only early June.
He’s excited to see where this group will be come August.
“The best part is that it’s June 5,” the second-year Dragon coach said Thursday. “The official start date is Aug. 1. We’re battling right now, and when Aug. 1 rolls around, after two or three of these tournaments, we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”
With that goal in mind, Hall’s focus during Thursday’s tournament was getting reps against skilled competition, and Jefferson got that in spades, playing eight games. Hall praised the level of competition and how his team responded.
“We had some fine teams at this thing today,” Hall said. “Our kids battled. They played as hard as they could play. The best part about our kids, they come to these things and expect to win the tournament.”
The Dragons, who went 10-3 last year, advanced to the tournament semifinals before bowing out against Archer, a Class AAAAAA school out of Gwinnett County that went 11-1 last year.
“I love the fact that they’re looking to battle with Gwinnett County’s best,” said Hall, whose program moves up to Class AAA this fall. “They expect to win it, and that says a lot about them.”
Jefferson will host another 7-on-7 tournament June 19 featuring many of the same squads. Hall points to the value of going against teams like Archer — and many of the other schools at the tournament — from a preparation standpoint.
“You can’t replicate these reps any other way in the summer,” Hall said. “We have some competition and the kids, they buy into what we’re doing and they’re looking to improve each time we come out here.”
Jefferson, which had to cancel a June 14 trip to the Nick Saban 7-on-7 tournament at Tuscaloosa, will also travel to Lassister July 11-12 for a 7-on-7 national select qualifier.
“That’s kind of the summer-ending 7-on-7 for us,” Hall said.
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