Monday, June 17, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Teams loosen up late at BHS

Leader sportswriter

It was a hot afternoon, but Cabot, Jacksonville, Beebe, Hazen and Des Arc all put in serious work during Wednesday’s 7-on-7 scrimmages at Bro Erwin Stadium on the Beebe High School campus.

All five teams that participated in Wednesday’s event have participated in at least one 7-on-7 tournament this summer. Each team got off to a slow start in the first games played, but it didn’t take long for the teams to settle in and start making plays on both sides of the ball.

“This is our second and in July we’re going to have four more,” said Cabot defensive coordinator Randy Black of the 7-on-7 tournaments and scrimmages. “I want them to at least go six or seven times in the summer so they’ll still remember what to do and work out some of the bugs.”

As far as what the 7-on-7 tournaments and scrimmages do to benefit the Panthers, who are a traditional run-heavy team with its Dead-T offense, Black said that the competition level and real-game speed is what makes these events so beneficial to the program in the summer.

“The thing is you see speed,” Black said. “You can work on it every day in practice, but until you actually go see speed, it’s completely different, and that’s one of the reasons we do this. In practice, it’s hard to get our offensive guys to go full speed every play. So we have four other teams here that are going to run full speed, which will definitely help us.”

Wednesday’s event was the second one of the summer that Beebe has hosted, and for the Badgers, who also run the Dead-T on offense, coach John Shannon sees these events as opportunities for his players to put in extra work on both sides of the ball.

“I feel like defensively we’ve gotten a lot better in our coverages and stuff,” Shannon said. “Offensively, as far as our forte it’s not what we like to do, but it’s good to be able to work on it. I felt like we looked a little bit better offensively, but we just have to get consistent at throwing it and catching it.

“We either had some people open and dropped the ball or we missed the pass, you know, it just wasn’t a good pass. Like I said, it’s not our forte, but it’s just a chance to get out here and work and do some stuff in the summer time when it’s not pressure-packed. We can relax a little and try and get better at things.”

For Jacksonville, it was also its second 7-on-7 event for the summer, but unlike Cabot and Beebe, the Red Devils run the Spread formation on offense, and the more reps they can get in a competitive setting like this one, the more comfortable their younger players will get with the offense.

“This is a busy week for us,” said Jacksonville coach Rick Russell. “We played in a 7-on-7 tournament last week and I don’t think we were as crisp and sharp today as we were last week. We’ve worked them pretty hard this week. We’ve been practicing in the mornings at 7:30, so they’ve had a tough week.

“Their legs are tired, but the thing we get out of them is when they’re having to run routes, having to adjust to routes, making quarterback reads, and catching the football – you can play throw and catch, but when you’re going against someone other than yourself, it benefits you.”