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Posted: June 3, 2017 8:02 p.m.

Alcovy finishes fourth at Cam Newton 7 v 7 tournament

Gabriel Stovall | The Covington News/

Alcovy finished 9-4 in the 2017 Cam Newton 7 v 7 tournament, one year after going 0-6.

MARIETTA, Ga. — It wasn’t exactly going from worst to first, but in the grand scheme of things, for Alcovy football coach Chris Edgar, fourth place was just as good. 

That’s where his Tigers finished out of 32 teams in the 2017 Cam Newton 7 v 7 Tournament, held at Marietta High School. It’s the same tournament that, 12 months ago, Alcovy took an early exit with an 0-6 record. 

“We’re not hoisting any trophies, unless you count the one in my heart,” Edgar said Saturday after the tournament was done and the team loaded the bus to head back to Covington. “This was huge. These guys grew up out here. They became leaders. Last year we went 0-6, and this year we finished 9-4. That’s major growth.” 

Don’t tell Edgar that there’s nothing constructive about participating in 7-on-7 passing tournaments, 

Whereas some coaches scoff at the summer football phenomenon that’s evolved from just another alternative workout to a money-making showcase of prep football talent, others like Edgar have learned to cast such opportunities as measuring sticks for a young and hopefully emerging program.

And Edgar says he saw tremendous growth from his players — particularly in the confidence department —   in the 12 months between their last Cam Newton soiree and this one. 

“Cam (Anderson) became a leader as quarterback,” Edgar said. “They were going out here and blowing teams out. One team got frustrated to where they just walked off the field.” 

That team would be the one from Mays High. Edgar said he thinks they got upset with the officiating, but whatever the case, Alcovy bested the highly regarded metro Atlanta school 18-10. 

It was one in a string of four straight wins Alcovy ripped off on Saturday after a 4-2 Friday start and an earned No. 9 seed coming into Saturday’s championship play. Alcovy began seed play wth a double overtime setback to Maynard Jackson. 

“We dropped a touchdown pass that would’ve won the game for us in regulation,” Edgar said. 

But after that, the wins mounted up quickly. First, it was a 22-8 victory over Mount Paran, then a 22-20 triumph against NW Whitfield. Both of those came before the Mays “W,” and then after Mays, the Tigers throttled Therrell 38-16 before losing its final game. 

As a result of its strong showing, Alcovy earned an invite to an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the Cam Newton 7v7 Elite Southeast Tournament in July — a distinction that goes only to the top eight finishers in the city tournaments. 

But while the wins, accolades and opened doors to more opportunities compete are nice, Alcovy players are quick to point out many other ways competition in 7-on-7 passing leagues are beneficial. 

“It’s a bit different than being out there with pads and 11 men on the field,” Anderson said. “The pace is a little slower and the pressure isn’t as much. It gives you the chance to learn how to make good reads on coverage without the pass rush being in your face.” 

On one particular play, Anderson showed the benefits of that slower pace when, after taking the ball on a snap, he stood back, scanned the field and allowed Trey Smith’s route to develop to the point where Smith was streaking down the middle of the field wide open. 

Anderson through a perfect spiral to Smith who caught it in stride for a touchdown against Meadowcreek. 

It was a positive play, which in itself was enough to elicit good feelings. But the fact that it also came against a Meadowcreek team that is on Alcovy’s schedule for 2017 was a bonus.

“The fact that we’re gonna see these guys in the season is good, because playing them now gives us a chance to see a little bit of how they are,” Anderson said. 

Anderson also noted that the 7-on-7 summer sessions give him an opportunity to mesh with his receivers, which is critical for passing game success in the fall. 

But lest you think it’s only an offensive thing, hear what junior linebacker Logan Wyatt has to say. 

“A lot of times as a linebacker, you’re going to be looking to stop the run,” Wyatt said. “But these moments just give us the opportunity to also get work in on our pass coverage as linebackers.” 

Wyatt is one of a corp of three fresh faces who will likely start at linebacker when Alcovy kicks off the 2017 campaign with a home game against Duluth on Friday August 18. So as far as he’s concerned, every rep he can get counts, no matter the style of football it happens in.

“I’m just hoping to gain the experience I need to play well,” Wyatt said. “I feel like I’ve worked on my speed and getting bigger since last year, so more experience will definitely help me.” 

Now that Alcovy has shown some ability to compete with some of the area’s best — particularly from a skill position standpoint — it helps makes the scrimmage loss to Newton feel more like a distant memory. 

“We bounced back from it the next day,” Anderson said when asked how long Alcovy thought about that 27-0 loss to the Rams. Wyatt had the same response. 

“Next day,” he said. “We forgot about it. It’s just about us getting better from here.” 

And if this weekend’s showing is any indication, the Tigers may be on to something special. 

“You know, you’ve got 32 teams out here, and some of these guys are really solid players,” Edgar said. “But I keep telling our guys, we have the skill position talent and the speed and athleticism and all of that to compete at a high level with these guys. So when they’re able to get out here and do it against other people than themselves, it just helps build that confidence. We’re still trying to build here, and this definitely helped the process.” 

 

 

 

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