No. 1 in 7-on-7: SS coaches excited about how the team plays, not just the championship

From Staff Reports

May 21, 2007 - GILMER - Sulphur Springs coaches saw what they wanted to on Saturday, and it wasn't just a tournament championship.

Sulphur Springs' varsity won the Gilmer 7-on-7 Tournament title, beating the host team 41-7 in the championship game. But, that wasn't what pleased SSHS coaches the most.

"I think they are really starting to understand our offense and our system. They're grasping what we're teaching, and that's the most exciting part," said SSHS head coach Greg Owens. "These kids just love each other and love playing together. They're genuinely excited for whoever makes the catch or makes the play."

While high school coaches can't mentor the summer 7-on-7 teams, according to UIL rules, the Sulphur Springs coaches attend the games and watch the Wildcats run the SSHS offense and defense.

On Saturday, the Wildcats won all five games they played, beating Elysian Fields 28-13, Spring Hill 38-13 and New Boston 44-18 in pool games. In the semifinal contest, Sulphur Springs defeated White Oak 40-6, then whipped Gilmer in the championship.

"We started kind of slow, just getting settled down and playing some different competition," Owens said. "The kids did settle down, and I thought we played great. We played as well defensively as we did offensively. We had some big stops."

Defensively, he said cornerback Dalton Abner and linebacker Josh Dunn played well. Offensively, he credited quarterback Tyrick Rollison and receivers Jace Jackson, Chris Thompson and Jeff Beck with the biggest days, though he said all of the receivers came through with important catches.

SSHS offensive coordinator Jeff Riordan said the Wildcats played with confidence.

"We got better every game. We got on a roll and we got that swagger, which is what I like to see," Riordan said. "They had a swagger and knew going on that field that they were going to win. Everybody got to play, everybody got to make plays, and they got better as the day went on."

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