Published: Jul 17, 2012 10:57 AM
Modified: Jul 17, 2012 10:58 AM
“No lineman allowed.”
There’s really no such sign at the edge of the field during high school summer football games, but there might as well be.
When teams engage in 7-on-7 passing games, it’s as if all the quarterbacks, receivers and backs are walking onto their own private country club course. Centers are allowed, but they’re really just the caddies, handing the ball to the “real” players.
“It’s about repetitions for the receivers, the quarterbacks, the defensive backs and the linebackers,” East Chapel Hill coach Bill Renner said Thursday evening after a 7-on-7 game with Northwood. “They’ll probably get as many repetitions in one summer as in about four years worth of games. That really helps you get ahead.”
Northwood came out slightly ahead on the scorecard that no one ever admits to keeping at summer games, with five touchdowns to East’s four.
While the quarterbacks and receivers were playing, East Chapel Hill’s linemen were working in the sticky heat at one end of the field, going through physical conditioning and foot drills. But while the “skill players” (a term linemen hate) were having most of the fun, they also were catching most of the grief.
Coaches, who in a game would be insisting that every close call was a catch, were the first to yell “Out of bounds!” on a sideline play. Summer 7-on-7 games are more about practice and getting better than a score.
Defensive backs and linebackers get their share of grief as well. While defenders from both sides knocked down a fair number of pass attempts, about the only concrete achievement they could attain in a passing game was a rare interception.
“It’s just summer football. Any work we can get in the summer is good stuff,” Northwood coach Bill Hall said. “Honestly, with all the work on offense we’ve done this summer, this game is more about our defense.”
Northwood’s Chris Smith caught two touchdown passes, while his brother Monte Smith, Charles Hope and Aumad Walker each caught one. David Douglas, Troy Mitchell, Colby Owens and Jackson Boyer each caught a TD pass for East Chapel Hill.
East Chapel Hill, searching for a replacement for record-setting passer Drew Davis, tried three different quarterbacks in a series of rotations Thursday evening on the Wildcats’ field – senior Ben Jones, sophomore Adam Bussian and freshman Connor Stough. As East’s only player with any experience at quarterback, Jones has the inside track on the starting role in August, said Renner.
Northwood heads into the 2012 season with quarterback as one of its strong points. Adam Leviner got most of the snaps in 2011 and clearly is the Chargers’ No. 1 quarterback, Hall said.
“Adam is a senior and he’s our quarterback,” Hall said. “Our go-to receivers will be Chris Smith and Aumad Walker.”
East Chapel Hill and Northwood were seeing each other for the second time in 48 hours. They had butted heads in a 7-on-7 invitational Tuesday at Pinecrest, coming out “pretty even” against each other, Hall said.
After this week’s break for the North Carolina Coaches Association clinics and all-star games in Greensboro, the Wildcats and Chargers will play another 7-on-7 game on July 24. High school football practices open officially on July 30.