7-on-7 squad gunning for state tourney trip
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

June 18, 2004 -- For the third straight year, the Sulphur Springs High School 7-on-7 football team will be gunning for a trip to the state tournament when they travel to a qualifying tournament in Sabine on Saturday.

The SSHS team, composed of varsity football players, will need to win its four-team pool and then advance to the championship game to earn a berth in the state 7-on-7 tournament in College Station on July 16-17.

The team is in the same pool as Paris, Spring Hill and White Oak. They will play Paris at 10 a.m., Spring Hill at noon and White Oak at 2 p.m. in games that are composed of two 20-minute halves.

The winner of the group will advance to bracket play, where it will face the winner of Pool D consisting of Gilmer, Harmony, Tatum and Hallsville.

Whoever wins that semifinal game receives one of two automatic berths to the state tournament.

On the other side of the bracket is Pool A (Sabine, New Diana, Troup and Winona) and Pool B (Pine Tree, Hawkins, Elysian Fields and Gladewater). The semifinal games are set for 3:30 p.m., with the championship contest at 4:30 p.m.

"White Oak's good, and they're in our pool," said SSHS head football coach Brad Turner, who cannot coach the team by UIL rule but goes to the games. "Spring Hill has been good in the past. If we beat them, then we're probably going to play Gilmer, and they're good.

"You have to win your pool to get out. Then, the top team in each pool advances to the playoffs. The top two teams go to state."

Sulphur Springs has made it to the state tournament each of the last two years by either winning or coming in second at the qualifying meet. They won the Sabine tournament last year, with Atlanta (who went on to win the Class 3A state football crown) coming in second. The year before, Arp won the tournament, and SSHS was second.

At the state tournament, Sulphur Springs went 1-3, beating Madisonville in pool play and losing to Katy Mayde Creek and South Garland. In the consolation bracket, they were beaten by Southlake Carroll, the eventual consolation champion.

Turner believes with a full squad at Sabine, the Wildcats can earn a trip back to the state tournament.

"We've got to get everybody there. We've got a lot of kids who work, and some others are gone on trips. When we get everybody there, we're pretty good. Hopefully, everybody will show up."

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