Prep football underway, sort of

By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
July 3, 2004
Think of it as high school football's way of catching up to the Joneses.
Because of the long-standing rule that teams were not allowed to practice for more than 20 days before the first game of the season, high school football players used to be stuck in limbo during the offseason.
Recently, teams have found a way to get offseason work in outside of the weight room in the form of seven-on-seven camps.
Teams are allowed to participate in games in which seven offensive players, the seventh player being the squad's center, and six defensive players line up on the field for abbreviated games.
The games are typically 20 minutes long, and the only thing missing from the field are the defensive and full offensive lines.
Seven-on-seven camps have become as important as summer basketball and baseball tournaments to most teams.
Lamar School head football coach Mac Barnes took his team to ECCC's camp on Tuesday, which drew nine squads from the area, and the Raiders' coach, who guided his team to the 2003 MPSA Class AAA state title, cannot say enough about how important the camps are to a team.
Among the benefits of teams attending seven-on-seven camps are conditioning, the ability to work on pass offense and defense and being able to keep players in game mode during summer's down time.
Underwood said the biggest plus players get out of the camp is conditioning.
At ECCC's camp, nine teams played five games each.
The appeal of playing a game instead of running drills or lifting in a sweltering weight room also makes the coach's job of getting his players to work in the offseason easier.
Players also have a chance to show off their skills to potential recruiters at the camps, which are usually held on junior college and four-year college campuses.

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