A small group of Smith-Cotton High School varsity football players gathered at Jennie Jayne’s Stadium on Tuesday before heading out to Lee’s Summit to compete with area schools in seven-on-seven drills.
First-year head coach and five-year assistant coach for the Tigers Ryan Boyer said they have been going to Lee’s Summit for the past few summers.
The Tigers will face Lee’s Summit West, Lee’s Summit, Truman and Odessa.
Lee’s Summit West is the defending 5A state champions and will be in 6A this season.
“We wouldn’t see them in the playoffs, but it is a very high-caliber team that you don’t see until later,” Boyer said.
Juniors Ricky Warren, Eli Kemp and Cory Bond were among the players who took the trip.
“It’s going to be tough competition,” Warren said. “It’s going to be harder than what we are used to.”
S-C has also competed against Class 3 Boonville and Class 4 Marshall in a previous seven-on-seven camp. Bond said Tuesday’s match ups were about how they stack up.
“Just seeing how you match up with better competition,” he said.
Each match up was set up for two 20-minute halves and there were more than a dozen teams scheduled to be there.
“There are a lot of tough teams coming down,” Kemp said. “Just work on our communication and get reps.”
When S-C went to Boonville, the linemen were also able to get some work in.
“It was seven-on-seven, but we also did a lineman challenge with it so our linemen got to do some things against Boonville and Marshall,” Boyer said.
Boyer said also plans to send the freshmen and junior varsity players to Warsaw next month.
“So everybody gets some competition,” he said. “They don’t get to see much competition against other schools.”
S-C has done seven-on-seven drills against themselves, but Boyer said it’s always better to have the team go against other teams.
“The biggest thing is having them compete,” he said. “You can only do so much with yourselves. It’s nice to see them compete and start picking up on the concepts.”
It also gives Boyer and the coaching staff an opportunity to get a reel of where they want certain guys to play.
“We are constantly evaluating them and seeing where we can use them in different spots,” Boyer said. “We tell them that we may only be able to use you in a couple of places, but when we do we need you to be at your best.”