If area 7-on-7 high school football had an equivalent to what a jamboree is for the regular game, it might be the annual gathering of teams in mid-July at Maryville College.
Except this gathering is a much bigger field — 36 teams stretching northward to Corbin, Ky., eastward to Tennessee High (Bristol), westward to Cookeville and southward to Ooltewah and East Hamilton — and longer than a jamboree, lasting from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, July 16.
Farragut, Hardin Valley and Bearden once again were part of the action, each playing four varsity games (each about one hour long alternating either 10 plays or 10 minutes on offense and defense).
The Admirals faced off versus Heritage, Tennessee High, Corbin and Cookeville; Hardin Valley went up against Clinton, Loudon, Seymour and Ooltewah.
Bearden faced Corbin, Heritage, Tennessee and Kingston. The Bulldogs’ junior varsity also took part in afternoon games.
“We did pretty well, but the morning is kind of tough because we were just waking up,” Adam Fulton, Admirals senior quarterback, said. “We got better during the day and started completing more balls.”
“It gets your timing down with the quaterbacks. Like me and Adam, we get our timing down a lot better in 7-on-7,” Davis Simmons, FHS senior wide receiver, said. “I think we did really well as a team. We came out and competed. Like when we did something bad, we came back from it. The coaches coached us up. They talked to us about it, and we came back and did it right the next time.”
As for the Hawks, “I think we improved as the day went along,” HVA head coach Wes Jones said. “I saw some real good things out of our young guys.”
Among receivers, Jones pointed out “Nolan Brown, Elijah Richardson, Will Jackson. And I was really pleased to see Ethan Boseman have a good day.”
“Obviously, we were pretty thin with having some guys injured and out. … I saw a big improvement in our offensive guys. Most importantly that we caught footballs today,” Jones added.
“… But I’ll have to say our secondary really picked it up in the second half of the day and made a lot of plays on the football.”
Jaquez Dove, Bearden receiver, said 7-on-7 allows you “to get better every day. You get to work on your routes more. You get to embrace your position.”
However, “I’m not close at all [to his potential],” Dove added. “I’ve got to work hard. I’ve got a long way to go, but I like the progress I’m making right now.”
Jordan Ferguson, Bulldogs senior defensive back/widereceiver, said his fellow defensive backs and outside linebackers “did really good. We could work on a man[-to-man] coverage better.”
Individually, “I need to work on my technique because this
is my first day playing cor-ner[back],” Ferguson said. “When I get my technique down I think I’ll be pretty good at it.”