During summer, many teenagers in Killeen are out at the mall, playing video games and just enjoying the down time before school begins.
But for Peyton Searcy, there is no down time.
“If we’re at home chilling and relaxing, there’s always another person in another city or in the same city on another team working and getting better and working harder than you, trying to get better than you,” Searcy said. “You don’t let that other person beat you that day.”
Searcy and the Killeen Kangaroos have been busy this summer participating in the Killeen ISD 7-on-7 League play at their four schools.
Tuesday marked Week 3 of the league and there were members of the Roos, Ellison Eagles, Shoemaker Grey Wolves and Harker Heights junior varsity and varsity teams competing in both the 7-on-7 passing aspects and Lineman Challenge at the Ellison High practice field.
Searcy was running around quite a bit and that was before trying to cover opposing wide receivers.
As a linebacker, Searcy went back and forth from participating in the Lineman Challenge and the 7-on-7 drills.
Both activities help him work on building muscles to shed blocks from offensive linemen and read offenses and work on his footwork in pass coverage — skills that are necessary in the modern high school game in Texas.
“It makes me better and I like helping out the team in any way I can,” Searcy said. “I’m just trying to have fun out here.”
The Lineman Challenge was held on the turf north of the football practice field and track. The challenge involved exercises that focused on weight lifting and strengthening core muscle groups.
Linemen from Killeen, Ellison and Shoemaker took part in a “World’s Strongest Man” competition where participants had to get as many repetitions in lifting duct tape stones onto a three-foot high platform and pushing up a vertical weight bar over their heads.
The Roos did struggle in the 7-on-7 portion against the other three KISD teams. Killeen was a perfect 3-0 during the opening week of league play at Ellison, but has lost six straight the last two weeks at Killeen and Ellison. Searcy said that while there is competition among the district rivals, it’s just a simulation and things could be different when the teams meet with higher stakes in the fall.
“We want to win, we always want to win, but it’s 7-on-7,” Searcy said.
“It doesn’t matter until it’s Friday night, the lights are on and we’ve got pads on. That’s how I take it.”
The Roos were 3-7 last season, including a 3-4 District 8-5A record and finished one game behind Copperas Cove for the final playoff spot.
Searcy said one of the key aspects of this summer league was giving the Roos a sneak peak at teams like Shoemaker and Ellison who are both replacing starting quarterbacks and some key skill position players.
“Pretty much we’re out here scouting,” Searcy said. “We can see who can make plays, who’s dynamic for their team. We’re going to use this to gear up for the season.”
League play concludes on Tuesday at Harker Heights. Middle school games begin at 5 p.m. while the high school Lineman Challenge kicks off at 5:45 p.m. and the high school games get underway at 6:15 p.m.