Football fans can get a summer fix each week: SSHS is hosting a 7-on-7 league
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

June 7, 2006 - Football fans who are going through summer withdrawal can get a little fix each Thursday afternoon in June.

Starting tomorrow, Sulphur Springs will host an eight-team 7-on-7 high school touch football league. The league is an all-pass, no-contact local version of the statewide game that ends in a state tournament in College Station in July.

There will be eight games each week, played on two fields at the James Cameron Practice Fields adjacent to SSHS. Games will last about 50 minutes, starting at 4:30 p.m.

Sulphur Springs will field two teams: one that is varsity-level and another that is JV-level. Also with a varsity squad are Paris, Lone Oak and Winnsboro. Playing JV will be Winnsboro No. 2, Greenville and Alba-Golden.

While high school coaches cannot coach the 7-on-7 teams, according to UIL regulations, SSHS head coach Greg Owens and several members of his staff will be at each game. For many of them, it's a chance to see their players in some type of football action for the first time.

Owens, a former SSHS All-State linebacker, started here at the beginning of February, and most of his staff came after that. Without being able to run spring football drills, the Wildcats are at least able to perform some football-related activities in the 7-on-7 league.

"It gives them a chance to run around, get familiar with our passing offense, and play a little football," said Owens. "It's not the same as strapping on the pads, but it does give them a chance to get some timing down, and lets us see what they are capable of."

The SSHS varsity and JV teams both played in a tournament in Gilmer two weeks ago, with the varsity squad placing second and the JV squad making it to the semifinals.

Seven-on-7 is played on a 45-yard field. All plays must be forward passes, and the receivers are down when touched by one or two hands by a defender. The quarterback has four seconds from the time the ball is snapped to throw a pass.

There is no blocking nor punting/kicking. The offense has three downs to gain a first down, unless they move inside the 15-yard line, then they are in four-down territory.

The games are played in 20-minute halves with a continuous clock.

Spectators need to bring their own chairs since there are no stands on the SSHS practice fields.

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