A pair of 7-on-7 tournaments will give area high school teams plenty of opportunities to pass the football over the next three days.
Many area teams will either head to Branson, Mo., and participate in the Battle Border tournament this afternoon, or they will participate Friday and Saturday in the annual Southwest Elite 7-on-7 Showcase hosted by Shiloh Christian.
At A Glance
WHERE Branson (Mo.) High School
WHEN Pool play — 2:30 p.m. today; tournament round — 6 p.m.
TEAMS INVOLVED Arkansas teams — Alma, Bentonville High JV, Bentonville West, Harrison, Huntsville, Mountain Home, Pea Ridge, Rogers Heritage, Rogers High, Rogers High JV, Siloam Springs, Yellville-Summit. Missouri teams — Branson, Catholic, Central, Cuba, Forsyth, Hollister, Houston, Marshfield, Springfield Parkview, Republic, Rolla, Seneca.
SOUTHWEST ELITE 7-ON-7 SHOWCASE
WHERE Pool play at Springdale and Fayetteville; tournament round at Shiloh Christian campus and Southwest Junior High.
WHEN Pool play sessions at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday; tournament round at 9 a.m. Saturday
TEAMS INVOLVED Pool A (will play at Shiloh Christian) — Bentonville High, Fort Branch (Ind.) Gibson Southern, Springfield (Mo.) Glendale JV, Highland, Midwest City, Okla., Oologah, Okla., Owasso, Okla., Russellville, Shiloh Christian.
Pool B (will play at Fayetteville) — Aurora (Ill.) Christian, Broken Arrow, Okla., Conway Christian, Fayetteville, Springfield (Mo.) Glendale, Springdale Har-Ber, Shawnee (Kan.) Mill Valley, Ozark, Tuttle, Okla.
Pool C (will play at Springdale High) — Bixby, Okla., Derby, Kan., Elkins, Fort Smith Northside, Springdale Har-Ber JV, Little Rock Christian, Owasso (Okla.) Rejoice Christian, Springdale, Stillwater, Okla.
"It makes for a busy week for us," said Bentonville West coach Bryan Pratt, whose team will be one of 12 Arkansas teams to participate in Border Battle in Branson. "This tournament will be good for us because it will help our players understand down-and-distance situations. Whether it's third-and-3 or third-and-15, we want our players to know what to do now so it will help on Friday nights when the games matter."
West, like many area teams, went back to work Monday upon the end of the mandated two-week "dead period." The Wolverines were in team camps Tuesday at home and Wednesday at Carl Junction, Mo., then will wrap things up with the Border Battle.
Pratt chose the Branson tournament for two reasons rather than play closer to home. West only had one of its eight remaining competitive summer days remaining after team camps, and the Wolverines will see a trio of Missouri teams in pool play before the tournament round begins.
"It's going to be fun," Pratt said. "We play against the local teams so much, so it will be fun to go and play against somebody you hadn't played.
"The rules are also going to be a little bit different, so we will have to adjust. But what we want to see is our kids out there competing hard. That's what we want to get out of this."
Meanwhile, the Southwest Elite Showcase features a field of 27 teams from six different states for one day of pool play and another day of tournament action. The pool play will be held Friday at three different locations, then the tournament round takes place Saturday on Shiloh Christian's campus and the Southwest Junior High field.
The number of teams may be a little down compared to previous years, but Shiloh Christian coach Jeff Conaway likes the quality of teams the tournament features. The field includes defending tournament champion Bentonville, as well as an Oklahoma state champion in Owasso.
"It will still look like groups we've had in years past, and we're excited about the group we have coming," Conaway said. "It's a very competitive field of teams, and it's going to be another hot one. It always is, but we're excited to be finished with the dead period and get this 7-on-7 going.
"The teams that are coming in are teams that win a lot of games. There are some state championships in this field, and they're always good for us to compete against."
It will be the first time that Shiloh Christian will get to showcase its new turfed field. Champions Stadium's turf has been replaced during the offseason with a two-tone green surface, and the Saints have been able to experience it for the first time over the last two days.
"We're extremely excited about that," Conaway said. "Our old turf was here for 14 years, and we got 14 great years out of it. We believe our new turf is the best around. It's a state-of-the-art pad and state-of-the-art turf, and we're excited about getting out and playing on it, and sharing it with the rest of the area."
Preps Basketball on 07/12/2018
Print Headline: Area football teams embark on 7-on-7 tournament action