Seven-on-seven (7-on-7) football is gaining popularity across the country for high school and middle school players during their off-seasons. 7-on-7 is a passing only version played without pads where receivers are downed by one-hand touch. There are no flags and no contact.
After competing in two 7-on-7 tournaments last year, Owensboro-based Dynasty Sports Performance is holding tryouts this Saturday to field at least two 7-on-7 teams in the National Football Association 7-on-7 league.
Due to 7-on-7’s popularity, DaMarcus Ganaway, CEO of Dynasty Sports Performance (DSP), says coaches are now going to tournaments to scout kids, which can sometimes lead to scholarship offers. “It’s our goal to get our athletes out there in front of those coaches, and to let them compete with athletes from other areas around the country,” he said.
“We played against kids last year that are going to the SEC or Big 10 or Pac-12 (NCAA conferences). So to put our kids from this area up against those kids was an eye opener. It was fun – and it was contagious,” Ganaway explained. They didn’t win a game, but that’s not what was important. What was important was that those initial team members last year were exposed to it, and now they want more. Through word of mouth, interest has really grown.
In fact, this year DSP hopes to field two teams in the “prep” division (10-12th grades) and one in the “future stars” division (8-9th grades).
Tryouts will be held Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 from 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the football field at Kentucky Wesleyan College.
Those who make the teams will have a two month training period leading up to the season, which starts in March. Tournaments are held all across the country leading up to the national championship held in Bradenton, Florida in June.
Most people think that the best athletes come from warm states like Florida, Georgia or Texas because those kids can practice year-round. “But with 7-on-7, kids in the midwest and upper east have an outlet to get the reps that kids in Florida or Georgia can in the off-season,” Ganaway said.
“When you play good competition, it brings the best out in you” said DSP co-owner and COO, Tim Davis, explaining another benefit of 7-on-7. “We feel like Owensboro has some of the best athletes in the country, but they just don’t get that much exposure, so we want to showcase that we do have great talent right here in Owensboro.”
Owensboro High School standout, Keyshawn Walker, is a great example. “Last year we took him to 7-on-7 and he didn’t get scored on,” Ganaway recalled. “I can count on one hand how many times they threw to his side because teams started to notice him and they quit passing to his side…. So that’s what we’re after, we want to show these kids from Owensboro that they have what it takes to compete with the best kids from other areas.”
And, it’s just fun! According to Keyshawn Walker, “I’m used to playing with my teammates from my school, so 7-on-7 is fun because I get to play with my friends from other schools. Playing against people from around the country is fun, too.”
Read more about DSP here.