ECHS wins 7-on-7 at J.U. Blacksher

Published 8:40 am Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Escambia County Blue Devils varsity squad won a 7-on-7 tournament last week at J.U. Blacksher in Uriah.|File Photo

Escambia County came away with their first 7-on-7 tournament win last week when they traveled to Uriah to take on three teams.

The Blue Devils took on varsity squads from Monroe County and J.U. Blacksher along with a Blue Devils junior varsity squad to help work on the passing game for offense and defense.

The Blue Devils varsity squad came away with the confidence after starting out the afternoon slow, Blue Devils head coach Mark Heaton said.

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“It was a good experience for us,” he said. “It was really our first set of live reps against another team, and our team played hard. They were very competitive after a sluggish start, but once we got going, the kids really got better.”

Both ECHS squads played well in the 7-on-7 with the junior varsity losing each game and the varsity winning all of theirs.

Despite the differences, Heaton saw the efforts from both teams, he said.

“Our junior varsity guys played several close games against the J.U. Blacksher and Monroe County varsity squads,” he said. “The varsity played well and got better as each game went on. They went undefeated through the tournament, but I felt the big accomplishment was how much better we got during each game. Our routes got crisper and throws started falling in place. By the time we got to the championship, we were playing good football.”

The Blue Devils work on 7-on-7s at workouts, but they rarely get to work in game environments, Heaton said.

“It’s a huge help,” he said. “We get to have 7-on-7 practices, but when you get into a competitive environment, the repetition really helps. Our quarterback Chris (Johnson) started off slow with some bad reads, but by the end of the evening, he was around 80 percent with pass completions and had several touchdowns. I think we all came away with a lot of confidence in what our guys can do in the passing game.”

Defensively, the Blue Devils are able to learn their coverages and know where to be at during play, Heaton said.

“For the defense, it really gives them a lot of work,” he said. “It allows them to find their landmarks and where theyneed to be in coverage. It’s priceless whether it helps in zone or man coverage because our guys get so much out of it.”