By Erik Harris
MARIETTA, Ga. – The Hewitt-Trussville football team finished its summer 7-on-7 season on a positive note last weekend in Marietta, Ga.
The Huskies went 9-2 overall, finishing as the runner-up of the Marietta 7-on-7 Tournament, which is affiliated with the National Select 7-on-7 Championships.
“I thought our guys played really well Friday and Saturday,” said Hewitt-Trussville head coach Josh Floyd. “We just had one or two plays there in that championship game that cost us, but our guys competed really well. It was good competition over there in the Atlanta area.”
Behind the efforts of senior quarterback Zac Thomas, Hewitt-Trussville came a play or two from winning the top prize. Lassiter, the host school, defeated the Huskies twice to take the crown. Lassiter won the first matchup 22-21, and the second by a 29-19 margin.
Those loses came on the heels of an overtime win over Class 7A, Region 3 opponent Hoover in the tournament’s semifinals. Hewitt-Trussville advanced past its region foe by a count of 20-19. That win improved their tournament record to 9-0.
Floyd’s team got off to hot start in Georgia, ending Day 1 with a 5-0 record, which made them the top seed going into bracket play. Tournament play started on Saturday with a 21-12 win over Rabun County, followed by a 22-4 victory over Grayson, followed by a 15-14 decision over Kell.
Floyd is encouraged by the improvements that his defense has made following the Daphnie 7-on-7 Tournament.
“I think we’ve come a long way in the secondary this summer, I think we’ve had some guys step up and start making some plays,” said Floyd. “We’ve got some pretty good size at linebacker, so usually 7-on-7 is not your deal when you’re a physical linebacker like that, but they did a good job of being physical and they’ve gotten a lot better defending the pass.”
Although the 7-on-7 format doesn’t prepare a team for the full speed, 11-on-11 games that are fast approaching, Floyd believes the competitive atmosphere is important for a team’s development.
“To me, the best thing about 7-on-7 is it forces you to compete,” Floyd said. “I think it’s a great thing to do in the summer. I probably believe in it more than I ever have, because now that I’ve been here at a place that hasn’t been doing it, you can see the benefits of it.”
Floyd added that the tournaments have allowed him to evaluate his personnel, particularly in pressure situations. The Huskies had their backs against the wall multiple times following slow starts, but always recovered.
“What I was so pleased with was, compared to our last tournament, is we came back and ended up winning the game,” said Floyd. “I was really pleased to see us compete like that.”