BRANSON, MO. -- Bentonville High coach Jody Grant acknowledged 7-on-7 isn't real football, but that didn't make his smile any smaller after watching his Tigers junior varsity claim the red division title of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Scholastic 7-on-7 tournament Thursday at Branson High School.
Sophomore quarterback Drew Wright threw three touchdown passes to lead the Tigers JV to a 23-6 win over Rogers High's JV in the red division championship game.
Grant liked the way his team performed, showing improvement and going 6-0 on the day in the 24-team event.
"It's an opportunity to compete with your teammates and quarterback gets to get his timing down," Grant said. "Receivers get to catch and DBs get to do their thing. I like it for that. I like it just to get together and compete."
He specifically liked what he saw from Wright, who guided the Tigers to three victories over three varsity teams. That included a last-second 22-21 win over Springfield Catholic.
"He needed this, a day like this," Grant said. "The guy's got as good of an arm as there is. He just needed to be the guy for the day and know it's his for the day. He's just got to go out there and do his thing, and he's got a bright future. We're excited about him. He just needs to continue to grow and develop in our program."
Springfield (Mo.) Glendale downed Mount Vernon, Mo. 34-6 in the black division title game.
But a couple of other Northwest Arkansas teams could have easily been in that final.
Alma went for two points and the win against Mount Vernon and failed. That ended up being the Airedales' lone loss of the day as they edged Rogers High 27-26 in the black division third-place game.
Quarterback Landon Blair connected with senior Bobby Winfrey for a touchdown with about 10 seconds left in the game against Rogers for the win.
Alma coach Dough Loughridge was also pleased with his team's performance, particularly the improvement of Blair who will be in his second year as the starter.
"We're not a 7-on-7 team," Loughridge said. "We're not a three-step or five-step drop team. We're an RPO or play-action team. Landon was kind of forced into that role and he took his lumps last year a little bit.
"He would be our starting middle linebacker if he was playing quarterback. We lost to Mount Vernon, but after that, we never looked back. Our kids weren't shell-shocked. They competed and found a way to win at the end."
It was a similar story for Rogers, which finished the day 4-2 and lost a hard-fought 40-34 game to Glendale in four overtimes.
Rogers coach Mike Loyd saw plenty of positives from his varsity and junior varsity, despite losing twice on the final possession.
"We had some kids out here competing for the first time, and others we're still evaluating, and they got better and played hard," Loyd said. "That's all you can ask.
"In 7-on-7, you lose the coin toss and you've lost a possession, and that was kind of the deal in that last one. They had the last possession, kinda like arena football.You still have to make plays when it counts, and we'll learn from it."
Sports on 07/12/2019
Print Headline: PREP 7ON7 Bentonville JV claims division title at Branson 7-on-7