JEFFERSON head football coach Ben Hall is pleased with the summer 7-on-7 season yet eager to move on to the next thing: traditional football.
The Dragons hosted another 16-team, 7-on-7 tournament of pad-less, non-tackle scrimmages this past Thursday and still has one tournament remaining — the July 11-12 national select qualifier at Lassiter. But Hall is ready to move forward.
“We want to turn the focus to football and that’s where our focus is going to be,” Hall said. “We’re going to go to one more of these as just kind of a getaway for the kids that have been doing this all summer, but yeah, we’re ready to start playing football. The kids are too.”
Jefferson — as it did in the tournament it hosted June 5 — reached the semifinals of Thursday’s tournament, losing to eventual champion Gainesville.
Though his team was a bit shorthanded, Hall felt his receivers and quarterback, Evan Shirreffs, had a good day in the passing game as the Dragons lost just twice during the day-long event.
“Evan responded well,” Hall said. “We got beat by Gainesville who ended up winning it, so we did some good things.”
More than anything, Hall wanted to get his lesser-experienced players meaningful playing time in pressure situations. So he often pulled his first-stringers in favor of the back-ups when these games were on the line.
To that end, Hall said he was pleased with his backups when asked which players impressed him the most during the tournament.
Specifically, he pointed to Rodney Carr, who moved from the backfield to outside receiver for the tournament; Kendrick Robinson, normally a corner back who played receiver Thursday; and Alex Mason, a rising sophomore who saw a lot of time at safety.
Hall said these 7-on-7 tournaments have allowed his team to work on the bulk of its passing game now instead of fall camp, when the Dragons return to their run-oriented roots.
“We turn our focus to the trenches where the games are won and the running game and doing what we do – when you find yourself in these passing leagues, in these tournaments, you do things you don’t normally do,” he said. “We’re a ground team, play action pass team. But this is good for us.”