Bobcats try their hand at 7-on-7 football game

Wednesday, July 9, 2003
Berryville football players rally after a 7-on-7 practice in June following a weight-lifting workout. The Bobcats will play each Monday in July in the no-contact passing format that focuses on sound defense. Photo by Charlie Chappell

The run-oriented Berryville Bobcat football staff has 15 or more young men ready for a 7-on-7 passing league that will be played on Monday nights during July.

Huh? Did you say passing?

Yep. For the first time, the Bobcats will compete in the popular summer contests that are exclusively passing attacks.

"We've been practicing during June after our evening weight-lifting at 6 p.m.," assistant head coach Owen Powell said this week. "Coach Scheel (head coach) got together with some other schools and we'll play each other on Monday nights in July, starting at 6 p.m."

The Bobcats were to play their first night on Monday at Harrison, and faced Yellville, Harrison, Huntsville, and possibly Green Forest.

There is no contact, with the players wearing helmets, cleats, shorts and T-shirts, and quarterbacks having five seconds to throw, or they are whistled for a "sack."

There is no running and no pass rushing, with the seven players made up of a center and quarterback, and five wide receivers.

"It's a lot of fun," Powell said. "The kids had a lot of fun in our practices. It sort of like backyard football. The whole purpose is to give our defensive backs some work. Although we mostly run, many of the teams in our league throw, like Shiloh Christian, Farmington and others.

"This helps us get ready for the fall," Powell said. "It's more about the defense than the offense."

The teams play four five-minute quarters, which adds up to 20 minutes of play against the other teams.

"We had 15 kids at our practices, and may have more on Mondays," Powell said. "All that go get to play. There's lots of work and repetitions when you play all those quarters."

Powell said he has been to a lot of the 7-on-7 camps to watch, and that they were a lot of fun.

Action starts at 6 p.m. each Monday night, with Berryville hosting the competitions on July 14 and 21. They take one long trip to Mountain Home this Thursday, July 10, then make one final trip to Harrison on July 28.

Coach Powell did say the team would have one camp to go to in pads, the North Arkansas Football Camp in Harrison on July 28 and 31.

"It's not full contact, just helmets and shoulder pads, but there is some hitting," Powell said. "Lots of former coaches and players will be there. They'll run drills, then there will be some team play after that."

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