By Tony Burns
The Wildcat 7-on-7 Footbal Tournament will be held Friday, beginning with pool play at 9 a.m. Games will be played at El Dorado High School and Memorial Stadium. The tournament rounds will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m.
Both El Dorado and Ouachita Christian will have a varsity and a junior varsity. Also scheduled to participate will be Haynesville, Monticello, Camden Fairview, Magnolia, Harmony Grove, Parkers Chapel, Junction City and Hampton. The Wildcats won the tournament last year, winning at Warren after rain interrupted the tournament's championship game.
El Dorado coach Scott Reed believes the competition will be good.
"Honestly, I thought of the teams I saw, Ouachita Christian was pretty good. They're really good at 7-on-7," said Reed, whose Wildcats won a 7-on-7 tournament in Camden earlier. "I think Camden and Magnolia are both good and the other ones are kind of unknowns. A lot of this is about throwing and catching. So, it helps if you've got a thrower and Ouachita Christian has a couple of guys who can throw it. I was impressed with them throwing the ball."
Some teams use summer 7-on-7 tournaments as practice. Others take them as seriously as games in the fall. El Dorado is, probably, somewhere in between, although Reed said, anytime the Wildcats take the field, they want to do well.
"This is a compete deal. It's about winning," he said. "We worked 7-on-7 (Tuesday) and we stopped a couple of times about our decision making - about what it takes to win a ball game. In 7-on-7 it's about throwing and catching and defending it. If we're going to compete, we're trying to win."
Reed, Hal Qualls and John Sprawls will lead the varsity Wildcats. He said Kris Borosvskis will probably coach the JV team with Claude Johnson on offense and, defensively, Coach DeAnthony Curtis and Zack Mitchell.
The JV squad could include some sophomores who could be a factor in the fall.
But, Reed said some players won't be available, including quarterback Alex Hicks.
"He won't be back probably until Friday so I doubt he'll play much," said the coach. "We will be missing some. Some of them won't be there. I've got a couple that are out of town. It's still about getting work and we'll have a good group."
Clayton Helm, Eli Shepherd, and Jarmel Love will man the quarterback position along with a newcomer.
"A new kid moved in. His name is Stewart Bowers. He's shown some good stuff," said Reed. "He'll be a senior, a kid that moved in from Georgia. I hope to play him.
"I told Wanya (Frazier) today, 'You never know. We may have to call you in again.' He said, 'No, I want to play some wide receiver,'" Reed added with a laugh. "He did a good job when we were in Camden. I'm not worried.
"Hopefully, we'll have all of our secondary guys. We were missing Calab (Scott). He'll be here and he needs to get work. I'm hoping Emon Ingram is well enough to go. He's been having a hamstring problem. He's starting to get a little better but, we'll see. I don't think he's full speed, yet, but I'd love to see him get some work. Other than that, I think most of our guys should be here."
Senior tight end Alex Boone emerged as a weapon at the Camden 7-on-7. Reed hopes some perimeter players step up, too.
"I'm pleased with Alex. I thought he had a real good 7-on-7 in Camden. We do need some other guys to come along," he said. "I'm seeing things in practice. Our route running and our going and getting the ball was really good today. What we're teaching, the things the kids are working on, it's showing.
"Defensively, we've moved Calab. He looks more comfortable. I've been pretty pleased with Camerius Rucks at linebacker. He's come along. Wanya Archie has been better this week, too. That's good to see because that's a new position for him. We need to continue to improve our secondary play. I think before it's all said and done, we'll be pretty good back there but we're all new. We're going through some growing pains."