By David Knox, Sports Editor
TRUSSVILLE — Summer may be offseason for some high school football programs – but not for many that plan to have championship caliber seasons in 2016.
From individual camps for super-prospects – such as Clay-Chalkville’s Nico Collins – to those for other prospects, to the 7-on-7 tournaments, the summertime is prime time to turn up the heat before prep practice begins the first week of August.
At Clay-Chalkville this week through Thursday is the Southeastern Line Camp, some 500-plus offensive and defensive linemen from around the region hone their skills in trench play. The past five Alabama Sports Writers Association Lineman of the Year winners attended this camp, so it’s a battleground for players to measure themselves against the best. The camp is also used to evaluate players for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.
Hewitt-Trussville and Clay-Chalkville will head to Hoover on Thursday to participate in a USA Football Alabama State Championship 7-on-7 tournament, which is partnered by the Alabama Football Coaches Association. This will be the first in what the ALFA hopes will become an annual gathering of high school football in the state. Competition divisions are broken into Large School (7A/6A), Small School (1A-5A) and Grade Levels (JV/9th grade).
In pool play, Clay-Chalkville will play Albertville at 9 a.m., Wetumpka at 10, Hillcrest of Tuscaloosa at 11, Spain Park at 11:30 and Opelika at 1. The contests are at the Hoover Met Soccer Fields.
Hewitt will play Tuscaloosa County at 9 at Trace Crossings Elementary, Huffman at 10, Bob Jones at 11 (both at the Met soccer fields), Hoover A at 12 at Trace Crossings and Chelsea at 1:30 back at the Met soccer fields.
The Hewitt JV will also compete, starting at 9:30 against Huffman’s JV at Hoover High’s football field.
After pool play, the teams are placed into brackets, working their way to a championship game at the Buccaneer Stadium at 6 p.m.
The 1A-5A winner and the 6A-7A winner advance to the National Select 7-on-7 National Championship at Hoover July 14-16.
Hoover is already penciled in, as host, but Hewitt and Clay will also be there by virtue of invitation.
Male of Louisville, Ky., won last year’s event, with Hoover finishing second. Hoover has won the event four times, the most recent coming in 2012.