|7-on-7 team finishes second at tournament|
|From Staff Reports|
May 23, 2006 - GILMER - In his first glimpse of who may be suiting up for him on Friday nights, SSHS head football coach Greg Owens liked what he saw from the 7-on-7 football team on Saturday.
The varsity squad finished second in the Gilmer tournament, losing 33-26 to the host team, quarterbacked by former Canton All-Stater G.J. Kinne, in the championship round.
The JV team was third in its bracket.
"I was very pleased with the way the guys performed. They did a great job. They got out there and competed," Owens said. "It was a hot day, but I was very pleased and pleasantly surprised by the way the guys performed.
"I wasn't really sure where they were at this point and time, but they really stepped it up. I am really encouraged by what we've got coming back."
The varsity Cats opened the tournament with pool games, beating White Oak, 53-19, and Spring Hill, 32-14, before dropping a 20-18 decision to New Boston. In bracket play, the Wildcats beat Elysian Fields, 27-13, in the semifinals, but fell short against Gilmer in the championship game. Sulphur Springs was driving for a possible go-ahead touchdowns when the game ended.
The Wildcats have been practicing for the 7-on-7 competition - which is basically an all-pass, touch football game - in the athletic period and some after school. But, since Owens, who was hired at the beginning of February, had never seen the players in action, he wasn't sure what to expect.
With only one starting player coming back from the six offensive skill positions - that being receiver Tyler Rhoades - Owens hadn't even had a chance to evaluate many of the players on varsity film.
But, what he saw he liked, especially from Rhoades, receiver Jeff Beck, who played quarterback and receiver last year on JV, and quarterbacks Brittain Diamond, a junior-to-be who was the varsity back-up, and sophomore-to-be Tyrick Rollison, who split time with Beck on JV.
"Jeff Beck had an outstanding day, Tyler Rhoades had a fantastic day, and both quarterbacks had some ups and downs, but more ups than downs, I think," Owens said. "I was pleased with the way they performed and read defenses.
"Defensively, we saw some guys do some pretty good things and get after it and not be intimidated by some better athletes going to some big time schools. I was pleased with the way our kids acted, the way they competed and just the way they got after it."
The JV team beat New Boston, 33-12, and White Oak, 19-13, in pool play, but lost to Gilmer 35-30. In bracket play, Spring Hill beat SSHS, 37-14.