When Steve Van Meter arrived at Hutto High to become the school’s new football coach, he instructed quarterback Brandon Douglas to throw more than 100 passes each day.
“When we first started doing it, I had to ice my arm every day,” said Douglas, a rising junior. “My arm, it felt like it was going to fall off because we threw the ball so much.”
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Sorting out 7-on-7
For the first time since it began in 1998, the state tournament for 7-on-7 football will be played in the Austin area. The tournament moved from its longtime home on the Texas A&M campus to comply with NCAA and SEC rules, but it is expected to return to the College Station area in 2014, although games would no longer take place on the A&M campus.
From Thursday to Saturday, 128 high school teams from across the state will be competing at Southwest Williamson County Regional Park in Leander. Here’s what to expect:
The game: In 7-on-7, the offense consists of a quarterback, a center and a mix of five wide receivers, tight ends and/or running backs. Every play calls for a forward pass. The 40-minute games are played on a 45-yard-long field. Quarterbacks, who cannot be rushed, have four seconds to throw the ball, and a receiver is ruled down when he is tagged with one or two hands by a defensive player. Points are given for touchdowns, after-touchdown conversions and defensive scores.
The field: Sixty-four teams from Class 5A or 4A schools will compete for the Division I title while another 64 will play in the Division II bracket, which consists of smaller UIL-member schools and private-school teams. Admission to the games is free.
The title games: The Division II final will be at 4 p.m. Friday. The Division I title game will be at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The talent: Among the players expected to take the field are Texas Longhorn recruits Lorenzo Joe, a wide receiver from Abilene Cooper; Dorian Leonard, a wide receiver from Longview; and Otaro Alaka, a linebacker from Cypress Falls. Other notables likely to be on hand: Hendrickson running back Samaje Perine; Lake Travis running back Shaun Nixon; Hebron defensive back Jamal Adams; West Mesquite defensive back Dylan Sumner-Gardner; and Rockdale linebacker James David.
The area qualifiers: In Division I, Bowie, Elgin, Hendrickson, Hutto, Lake Travis and Westwood. In Division II, Burnet and Wimberley
— Danny Davis
State 7-on-7 tournament
Thursday-Saturday, Southwest Williamson County Regional Park, Leander