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Edna, Palacios earn spots in state 7 on 7 tournament

MIKE FORMAN

By MIKE FORMAN
June 16, 2012 at 1:16 a.m.

PALACIOS -- Palacios middle linebacker David Aparicio is spending the summer working on shrimp boats on the dock at Tres Palacios Bay.

But Aparicio makes time to practice 7 on 7 football three days a week with his teammates.

The practice paid off at the Texas Sharks Division II State Qualifying Tournament on Saturday at Shark Stadium.

Palacios and Edna advanced to the tournament final and secured spots in the state 7 on 7 tournament, which will be played July 19-20 at Texas A&M in College Station.

"It's a good thing that you're going to be able to know that you're going to state," Aparicio said. "You get to compare yourself to other teams that you probably won't ever play."

Edna secured its fourth straight state 7 on 7 tournament berth.

Palacios will be going to the state 7 on 7 tournament for the third time in five years.

The Cowboys and Sharks swept through their respective pools and won their semifinal games.

"It was a lot of fun last year and I played safety," said Edna's Austin Kelley. "I get to go and play quarterback this year and it should be a lot of fun."

Edna relied heavily on its defense as it defeated Hitchcock, Hallettsville and Wharton in pool play before whipping Aransas Pass 51-9 in the semifinals.

"A lot of the time we connected out there and showed we play as a team," said Edna's DeRodrick Jones, who is moving from linebacker to free safety. "We didn't let ourselves get down when something bad happened. It should help us get ready for when we have pads."

Palacios defeated Rice Consolidated, which had already earned a state tournament berth, Aransas Pass and Industrial in pool play and took a 46-30 win over Wharton in the semifinals.

"It gives us some confidence going into the season," said Palacios quarterback Anthony Garcia. "The routes we run in 7 on 7 are the same routes we run in real football. It gives me more reps and lets me know what's going on."

Aparicio has improved his coverage skills and become a more complete player.

"Before I played 7 on 7, I just knew run, run, run," he said. "Ever since I started doing this, I've learned the whole zone concept."

Edna and Palacios elected to play the championship game after agreeing not to use their starting quarterbacks.

The Cowboys won the tournament championship by downing the Sharks 13-7 in a game that was called at halftime.

Kelley, who started two games at quarterback last season, is thankful for the experience he's gotten in 7 on 7.

"It makes me look at my reads and I get to throw with my receivers," he said. "It helps looking at your reads and seeing who's open. It's also good playing with your teammates. You get your chemistry down."

NOTES: Wharton was awarded third place when Aransas Pass elected not to play the Tigers.

Wharton will be an alternate for the state tournament.

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