Goliad bases its offense out of the slot-T, but the Tigers also utilize the shotgun and want to be able to throw the ball.

Goliad coach Kevin Salazar is convinced playing 7on7 gives his team a head start heading into the fall.

“We’re going to have a new quarterback this year,” Salazar said. “We feel like we’re going to do some things offensively to get the ball down the field. This helps build the chemistry between our quarterback coming in and some of our receivers, tight ends and running backs.”

Goliad is one of five area teams that will compete in the 7on7 state tournament scheduled for Thursday and Friday at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station.

The Tigers and Bay City will compete in Division II, and Ganado, Tidehaven and Flatonia will compete in Division III.

“The main thing is for our kids to compete,” said Tidehaven coach David Lucio. “They get to see kids from throughout the state. We want them to have fun because we want them to strive to get back. This is our third year in a row and the kids know it’s a fun trip. It’s almost like if you work hard enough and you do good enough, you get to go to Disney World.”

Robert Jones enters his third season as head coach at Bay City and he hopes the success the Blackcats have had in 7on7 will speed up the rebuilding process.

“Even though there’s not any contact, the kids are getting out there and throwing the ball around and learning the coverages and kids playing together increases that family atmosphere,” Jones said. “That’s a big thing when we’re trying to build a program and get the kids involved all summer. We had a successful track season and have done well in 7on7 (23-4). We hope it gets the kids to believe and get the kids to buy into what we’re trying to do.”

Quarterbacks have four seconds to throw the football in 7on7 and don’t have to worry about a defensive rush.

“It gives our quarterback the opportunity to read a defense,” said Flatonia coach Chris Freytag, whose team is making its third consecutive appearance at the state tournament. “Regardless of whether you have a big defensive end coming at you or you know he’s not coming at you because it’s 7on7, you still have to read the secondary and understand where the ball needs to go.”

Perhaps the biggest benefit of 7on7 is the opportunity for the players to stay with each other throughout the summer.

“The biggest thing to me is that the kids get to compete together,” said Ganado coach Josh Ervin. “Some of them are playing select baseball and they’re going out playing baseball with kids from down the road. It’s Ganado. It’s just us.”

“The biggest thing we preach to our kids is getting out and competing,” Salazar said. “They’re getting in our system and just being out and being active, but doing it as a team and kind of building that bond with their teammates. It will allow them to compete against some other great teams around the state. Hopefully, this will get them excited as we go to the summer and get ready for two-a-days.”

Each team will play three games in pool play Thursday beginning at 1 p.m. before playing at least one single-elimination game Friday.

No area team has won a 7on7 state championship. Bay City advanced to the championship game in 2001 before there were divisions. Rice Consolidated advanced to the Division II final in 2009.

Lineman Challenge

El Campo will attempt to defend its Division II State LineMAN Challenge title Saturday at Shelton Stadium on the campus of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.

The challenge includes competition in 11 events ranging from a forward tire throw, to bench press to a tug of war.

Tidehaven has also qualified for the state competition.

“It’s a contest that measures a little bit of everything,” said El Campo coach Chad Worrell. “There’s stuff there for the stronger, powerful kid. There’s stuff there for the kid who relies on speed and athleticism.

“It’s a good mixture of the different skills that it takes to be successful. The things that go into being a good lineman — good feet, good strength, good speed, good agility along with competitiveness. It measures those things.”

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Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or by email at mforman@vicad.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeforman21

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Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. He has worked at the Advocate since 1982. He has a bachelor's degree from SMU and a master's degree from UCLA.

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