Argyle was one disputed call away from winning a state 7-on-7 tournament championship in 2013.
But don’t expect the Eagles to seek revenge for last year’s second-place finish in this year’s tournament that begins today.
“We want this team to go down there and compete at a high level and do well,” Argyle head coach Todd Rodgers said. “We want the kids to feel good about it. We want this team to have its own identity, and these are the formative stages of this team gaining its own identity.
“We don’t have a 7-on-7 goal board, if that’s what you’re asking.”
Argyle, Lake Dallas and Pilot Point will compete in this week’s state tournaments at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station. Teams that finished in the top two spots of a state qualifying tournament earned berths for this week’s event.
The Division II tournament is today and Friday and features teams from Class A to 4A. The Division I tournament consists of teams in Class 5A and Class 6A and begins Friday and wraps up Saturday. There are 64 teams in each division.
Lake Dallas is in Division I, while Argyle and Pilot Point are in Division II. Each team is in a pool of four teams that will play round-robin games. The top two teams from each pool will advance into a 32-team single-elimination bracket in each division.
Argyle almost was the final team standing in last year’s Division II bracket. On the last play of the final against Graham, an Eagle pass into the end zone was ruled incomplete and the Steers won 33-31.
In the fall, Argyle drubbed an undefeated Graham team 38-14 in the 3A Division II state semifinals, setting up the Eagles’ state championship victory over Fairfield one week later.
In 7-on-7, none of the head coaches can coach their respective teams or stand on the sidelines for the games of touch football that span two 20-minute halves.
Rodgers said the playbook the Eagles will use today and Friday will resemble the one used in the fall, save for a few adjustments. Rodgers said he wants his players familiar with the plays they’ll be running in a few months.
“The trophy you win at the state 7-on-7, I don’t put that trophy in the trophy case,” Rodgers said. “That’s not UIL, and our emphasis is UIL football. This is just a summer exercise or league that we’re playing in and have some fun. That way we’re being competitive and getting some good, live reps during the summertime.”
Lake Dallas head coach Michael Young and Pilot Point head coach Rob Best echoed those sentiments. The Falcons are sending a team to state 7-on-7 for the third time in school history, while the Bearcats are making their first appearance since 2009, when they won the Class 2A Division I state championship.
Best is looking forward to seeing some of his returning starters who were sophomores last season and other young players the Bearcats will depend on this fall. As for the 7-on-7 tournament results, Best said he doesn’t know if a lot of stock can be put into a team’s performance.
“Obviously, you’d like to win and you’d like to be competitive, but once you interject the concept of linemen and scheme of a regular game, it’s a little bit different,” Best said.
No matter what happens with the area’s teams this weekend, each team in College Station will get a chance to build some team chemistry in a competitive environment that cannot be replicated in practice.
“It’s a little different than football, obviously, but you’re still running, throwing and catching the ball,” Young said. “We throw the ball quite a bit on offense, so it’s going to help our quarterbacks and receivers get work.
“But I think the main thing is just competing. We’re going to play against a lot of really good teams.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.
The following shows which pools the area teams are in. The top two teams advance to the single-elimination round:
Pool N: College Station, El Paso Franklin, Lake Dallas, Manvel
Pool F: Argyle, Crockett, Dublin, Sealy
Pool H: China Spring, Goliad, Pilot Point, Sonora