Tough to catch these Tigers
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
It was hot, there weren’t any pads but two of the best teams in Kansas from 2011 battled it out Saturday for the championship of the Blue Valley 7-on-7 Tournament.
The host Tigers defeated defending Kansas 6A champion Olathe South 22-20 with a stop on the final play to win the 10-team tournament. The 5A runner-up Tigers run to the championship game was also filled with some close wins over Louisburg in the semifinals and rival Blue Valley West in the quarterfinals. Against Louisburg Blue Valley made a stop on the last play to win and against the Jaguars the Tigers broke a tie with a touchdown from 30 yards out on the last play for the win.
Blue Valley coach Eric Driskell said it was good for his team to get some competition in the final weekend of team activities before camp opens in early August.
“This is really important for us,” Driskell said. “In Kansas this is the last weekend we can do anything as a total team and we try to end it on a competitive note. We had our camp this last week and it is just more important for those guys to get out there and learn how to compete. Wins and losses are great you always want to win but just to learn how to compete and play together is the important thing.“
Olathe South won its state title using a potent running attack but its passing game showed well at the Blue Valley Tournament. The Falcons are run focused but still count on the passing game for some big plays.
South coach Jeff Gourley said it’s good for his team to have these 7-on-7 tournaments for both the offense and defense.
“We played well all day it just got a little sloppy tired at the end of the day,” Gourley said. “That’s Ok because our kids fought and they fought well and 7-on-7 means absolutely nothing to anything. We do it for our defense and honestly our defense has shown improvement. We’ve made some tweaks and adjustments. I’m very happy with what I saw today.”
The road to the finals for the Falcons came with a win over McPherson and conference foe Shawnee Mission East. The Lancers lost to South in the semifinals but have been one of the better 7-on-7 teams this summer.
New Shawnee Mission East quarterback Jordan Darling said it has been important for the Lancers to get in as much time practicing their passing this summer.
“It’s always fun to come out here and compete that’s all you can ask for as a football player,” Darling said. “The great thing about 7-on-7 is you get to get the chemistry down with the quarterback to receiver. The great thing about 7-on-7 is it’s during summer and that wasn’t a game. Our first game is the 31st of August and that’s when it really starts to count and that’s when we will put it on.”
Louisburg had a strong showing with a 4-2 record before falling to Blue Valley in the semifinals. Shawnee Mission East finished at 4-2, McPherson was 2-2-1, Park Hill South was 2-3, Blue Valley West was 2-3-1, Pittsburg was 2-4, Spring Hill was 0-5 and Shawnee Heights was 0-5.
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