• December 18, 2014

7-on-7 experience is priceless for competitors

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Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014 4:30 am

Random musings as we near the halfway mark of 2014.

While 7-on-7 football remains a far cry from the game that decides championships in the fall, the round robin that takes place every Tuesday at Leo Buckley Stadium is more than worth the price of admission for Killeen Independent School District teams.

For one, you can’t put a price on the reps that the skill players — many of whom will be first-year starters next year — are getting for two hours against actual competition.

The atmosphere resembles an open gym and, beyond practicing passing and pass defense, it offers players a chance to compete.

And like an open gym, the competition is often familiar.

Not only are the Killeen ISD teams seeing each other on a weekly basis, they are completing against each other — every last one of them — on each and every Tuesday.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a situation where in-town competitors are more familiar than Killeen ISD teams will be with each other this fall.

When Harker Heights is facing 3rd-and-long against Shoemaker this fall, Troy Smith and his receivers already will have stared down that same Grey Wolf secondary dozens of times.

And that may be the coolest part of the round robin that takes place every Tuesday at Leo Buckley Stadium.

It was fitting that Shoemaker defensive tackle Kendell Jones — who has a chance to be the best player on either side of the ball in Killeen ISD next year — was a bystander Tuesday, a reminder that 7-on-7 isn’t 11-on-11.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for growth, along with the rare chance to get up close and personal with your rivals, for Killeen ISD teams every Tuesday.

I’m writing this on Wednesday, and by the time this appears in print, the narrative of the NBA Finals may well have changed again.

It is amazing how, even with the most levelheaded approach, the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat find a way to swing the narrative on a gamely basis.

After Game 2, the Heat had every reason to believe it was a LeBron James cramp away from having a 2-0 lead in the series.

After Game 3, the Spurs had reason to believe that they were a blown fourth-quarter lead away from a 3-0 series lead.

The truth, like the series, lies in between as the teams have adjusted on a gamely basis.

The Heat responded to Game 1 by attacking the basket relentlessly in Game 2, dominating the Spurs in the paint and setting up open shots in winning time.

The Spurs responded to Game 2 by inserting floor-spacing forward Boris Diaw into the starting lineup after playing him in crunch time in the first two games.

The result was 41 points in the first quarter, a record for a Heat opponent, on 86.7 percent shooting. They went on to score 71 points in the first half, also a record for a Heat opponent, on a Finals-record 75.8 percent shooting. And Diaw wasn’t even the biggest development in the game as Kawhi Leonard, lost in the offense in the first two games, led the way with a career-high 29 points.

Yet the possibility that the momentum has swung back to Miami and the pressure is on the Spurs as you read this is high.

That happens when teams are as adept at adjusting as the Heat and Spurs, a testament to the teams’ coaches, Erik Spoelstra and Gregg Popovich. That is why, for once, it truly is better to just sit back and watch than to analyze every game.

You can try to analyze after each game, but you’ll likely just be changing that narrative each time.

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