At long last, the 7-on-7 football season is over.
Now, we can all finally turn our attention to the game we love and quit pretending to care about 7-on-7.
Don’t get me wrong, 7-on-7 has its benefits. It keeps kids active during the summer, creates camaraderie, sharpens skills and enhances instincts, but it is not football. It is not even close.
If anything, 7-on-7 is a glorified practice turned into a statewide competition out of starvation for the sport. In essence, it is the same thing kids did in their free time before video games.
Outside of the aforementioned positives the activity produces, it is meaningless, and at the risk of offending official sponsor Adidas, the Texas 7-on-7 Championships are irrelevant as well.
In fact, only two teams really care what happened over the weekend at College Station — Division I champion Seven Lakes and Division II winner Graham.
Copperas Cove certainly should not care about the outcome. The Bulldawgs went 1-3 during their first trip back to the state tournament since 2010, earning their lone victory against Alamo Heights in pool play.
Following the 46-26 win, things went downhill for Copperas Cove as it lost to Whitehouse 39-26 and Cypress-Fairbanks 40-25 before being eliminated from the consolation bracket in the first round, losing to Carrollton Creekview 38-27.
Sure, it was not the showing the Bulldawgs wanted to deliver. After all, the players invested more than a month trying to become a force.
They took part in weekly leagues, traveled to several state qualifying tournaments, competed and won Belton’s Lone Star Shootout and organized practice sessions among themselves.
The effort was certainly evident, but for whatever reason, it did not translate at state.
I’m sure there was a level of disappointment involved, but hopefully not much.
Just like no professional player’s ultimate goal is win the slam dunk contest or home run derby, there is not a high school football player alive who would trade a state championship for a 7-on-7 championship.
7-on-7 football is a cute little game. It keeps kids busy, but now it is time for the sport to take center stage.
A two-hand-touch tackle won’t suffice anymore. Fields return to measuring 100 yards. Kickers are once again responsible for extra points. Quarterbacks are no longer untouchable, and linemen can finally collide.
The real football season is almost here, and like fans, the players are now allowed to start getting pumped up.
“This is the last stretch,” Copperas Cove senior quarterback Manny Harris said. “This is the last 100 meters before the season starts. It is exciting knowing that it is right around the corner. We just have to be mentally prepared and have our bodies right and ready for the season because it is going to be hot, and two-a-days are very intense.”
Everything about football is intense, and that’s why we love it. 7-on-7 has its purposes, but at its core, it is an afterthought in the bigger picture. It holds little weight when it is going on and even less once it is over.
It fills time and bridges a gap across the summer months. With any luck, players and fans enjoyed the 7-on-7 season for what it was, but playtime is over.
At long last, the real season is almost here.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org