Let there be no doubt that I am not the biggest fan of 7 On 7. The main reasons I am not are complex but here is just a few:
- Being run by private groups a majority of 7-ON teams are made up of the top talent that can be assembled from all over the region. Thing AAU Basketball – that is the model usually. These “All-Star” teams lead to transfers as kids leave their real Team to play with “better schools” and their new found talented friends who are often influenced by boosters and coaches from other schools.
- It is highly unregulated. The events occur on fields at our Public Schools and Parks and yet very few if any of the programs have their coaches certified, properly background checked, and concussion and safety protocols are rarely present.
- The events lead to a sense of recruiting entitlement- if your good at 7 On 7 you get to go to college- that is, in fact, false and harmful to the recruits perceptions of reality. Many college coaches have made it clear that they will not watch 7 On 7 because it is not football.
- The events are a filthy playground for influence peddlers and paid recruiters looking to make a buck of the young up and comers- this is where they gain influence over families and athletes and it is the Wild West but even worse. Many of you know what I am talking about.
Now that I have said my peace which I stand by let me say this. 7 On 7 is a chance to work out, to get better running routes and covering routes and for QB’s it is repetition in reading those routes. I still feel competing in a second sport, using other big muscle groups is a better path to being recruited. That is echoed time and again across the Twittersphere- College Coaches love Hoopers and Wrestlers. Recent numbers have shown that almost 90% of NFL athletes were in Track at some level as well. So now that 7 On 7 is a sport, many top-tier athletes are abandoning their second sport to participate.
What is best about 7 On 7? The chance to develop a team. When I say a team I mean a TEAM- the high school team.
In my view 7 On 7 is a very positive way for teams to improve and get better when managed, run by, or played by teams comprised of the same school.
When the focus is on our teams and traditional schools the kids win and the schools win. Because Oregon and Washington have arcane rules that prevent our HS Coaches and their Staffs from being with their athletes in the off-season they cannot run such events. If they could the sport in the offseason would be much better off and many of the issues I outline in 1-4 above would not exist. Coaches, what are your thoughts? Sound off below:
OK – so this just in from Seattle. The annual Battle In Seattle, a 7 On 7 event with teams from all over. Many teams were the “All-Star” style. One that stood out and won it all was not. That was the Kentridge Chargers 7 On squad. They have been competing as a team representing their school in Kent (WA) and they won the Title! This I can get excited about. The reason again is T. E. A. M. and what that means. Some star power arose in that event and the reports are they all got better and came together as a team and are excited about the future and the season ahead.
Here is a report on what happened this weekend for the Kentridge Squad from a guest writer:
It may have been “only” 7v7, but the Kentridge Chargers went out Memorial Day weekend and made people take notice. Playing in the Battle of Seattle 7v7 tournament, the boys from Kent cut a swath through the competition, posting an 11-1 record, and beating some of the region’s top HS and elite club teams in the process. They did this playing as their high school team, with a small group of last year’s seniors as coaches.
On their way to the title, they ousted 2017 4A runners-up Woodinville HS, and beat 3A champs Garfield (twice) replete with the Bulldogs’ vaunted 5-star recruit Sa’vell Smalls. That kid can play if no one’s noticed. Everett HS fell to the precision Natano Woods passing attack as well. The Chargers also trounced Canada’s best 7v7 elite team, Game Ready Elite Gold, who’s had one heck of a 7v7 season, and Tacoma Attack, who has taken the last 4 7on7 Association events. They had to get buy Vancouver Vandals from down your way and some really big bruisers from eastern Wa, too.
6’5″, 245lb Charger QB Natano Woods was on point all weekend, making whatever throws got the job done. His performance and leadership earned him the tournament MVP. 2019 WR/DBs Ben Victoria and Jeremy Banks are multi-sport athletes for KR, both playing on the varsity hoop team. Victoria stars on the varsity soccer team and Banks runs around the football field during the spring on KR’s varsity track team. They both made too many great plays to count on both sides of the ball, with Banks setting the tone early against Garfield, with a first play INT n their elimination bracket game. Victoria’s best play, amid all his TD catches, was probably in INT vs Game ready Elite Gold, where the safety closed a seemingly impossible distance to wrestle the ball, and a sure TD, away from the receiver in the end zone.
Chargers’ 2020 WR Michael Faber was Woods favorite target during the 2017 football season, as the 2 combined for 711 yards and 9 TDs on only 33 catches over 8 games (Faber was hurt for 2). They kept that chemistry going in this tournament also, accounting for 11 TDs and plenty of clutch catches at the stick for a first down. Faber saw limited duty on defense but did record an end zone PBU vs Garfield in OT during bracket play that assured KR’s victory.
This team has played 7v7 all offseason. They’ve practiced and played as their HS team, built camaraderie and cemented their team chemistry as a result. Everyone has gotten better and you could see it happen. As spring ball gets underway, they have renewed confidence on what the 2018 season can hold for them.