The fifth annual 7-on-7 Shootout of the South presented by Baptist Health will be held this weekend in Little Rock at the Mighty Bluebird Complex. Twenty-four teams will compete in the two-day event. Friday’s pool play will begin at 11 a.m. and will wrap up at 6 p.m. Saturday’s tournament will begin at 10 a.m. with the finals slated for 4 p.m. The winner of the event will qualify to attend the National High School Coaches Association 7-on-7 National Championship in Hoover, Alabama on July 23-25.
This tournament will feature two 5A teams from Texas, Bowie (Arlington) and Allen. Bowie is ranked in the top 20 pre-season for all of Texas, and has just qualified for the Texas 7-on-7 State Championship by winning their own 24-team tournament. Allen won the 5A Division 1 State Title last year and is ranked fifth in the 2009 pre-season rankings. The other out-of-state team this year is Captain Shreve out of Shreveport.
Twenty-one Arkansas teams grace the tournament field. Fayetteville, North Little Rock, and Pine Bluff may be the favorites at first glance. Both 6A State Champion Lake Hamilton and 5A State Champion Pulaski Academy (Little Rock) lost a large senior class, but new faces will be trying to make their mark. Lake Hamilton won the 7-on-7 tournament at the Ouachita Baptist camp earlier this month, and Pulaski Academy won the Sonic Air Raid at Searcy.
Other teams to look out for will be Russellville, Watson Chapel, Heritage (Rogers), Nashville, and Greenbrier, who finished as the runner-up at the Air Raid. The remaining teams will be Arkansas Baptist (Little Rock), Central Arkansas Christian (North Little Rock), Dumas, Fountain Lake, Greene County Tech (Paragould), Harrisburg, Lakeside (Hot Springs), Hall (Little Rock), Magnolia, Mayflower, and Robinson (Little Rock).
There will be outstanding quarterbacks in abundance this year as we will see some of the top signal callers from across the state lead their teams. However, the best quarterback may be from out of state as Texas 5A All-State performer Matt Brown, who has committed to Arizona, leads Allen. He will split time with his backup and 5A State Championship MVP Tucker Carter. Arlington Bowie’s Deric Davis is also being recruited to the next level as a dual-threat quarterback.
In-state quarterbacks will show off their talents highlighted by Pine Bluff third year starter Claude Johnson, who has a scholarship offer from Louisiana Monroe. Other senior signal callers to watch are Benson Jordan of Lake Hamilton, Logan Quinn of Arkansas Baptist, C.J. Branch of Watson Chapel, Will Warren of Lakeside, and Wil Nicks of Pulaski Academy.
There may never be a group of quarterbacks in this state like the 2011 class. Although not all of them will be at the Shootout, a few of them will be represented led by Brandon Allen of Fayetteville, who was the MVP at the Harding University 7-on-7 camp this past weekend, and Darion Griswold of Dumas, a 6’5” 200 pounder who runs a 4.6 40-yard dash. Zach Davis of Harrisburg and when he is not playing receiver, Kyle Coleman of Watson Chapel are both juniors in that deep class. One sophomore to watch will be Greenbrier’s Neil Burcham, who was as poised as a veteran at the Air Raid on June 6.
Although this Shootout is loaded with quarterbacks, it will not be without some great receivers. Arlington Bowie will line up a receiving corps that would be the envy of many college coaches. They are led by Oklahoma State commit Montrae Nelson (6’4” 215 lbs, 4.6 40-yard dash). The other three are seniors Emmanuel Davis (6’4” 190, 4.4) and Langston Williams (5’8” 160, 4.4) and junior Cameron White (6’2” 175, 4.5). Pine Bluff’s Jonathan Frazier, North Little Rock’s Devante Rich, Fayetteville’s Jawan Mahone and Josh Hale, and Greene County Tech’s Standrick Williams and Caleb Hartwig are all senior receivers inside the Natural State border. Junior standouts attending will be Watson Chapel’s Larry Pace and Mitch Lane, Allen’s Jonathan Lee, and Fayetteville’s Demetrius Dean, who has already committed to the Razorbacks.
Defensive players causing havoc will be linebackers Bud Spears of Allen, David Smith of Pine Bluff, Barry Jackson of Watson Chapel, and Bryan McCleary of North Little Rock. Defensive back standouts include Kelsey Collins of Pine Bluff, who ran a 4.28 laser 40-yard dash, Andrew Tryon of Russellville, who has an offer from Arkansas State, Demetris Lasker of Mayflower, Colby Miller of North Little Rock, Nick Hopkins of Nashville, Antonio Jenkins of Watson Chapel, and the entire secondary of Arlington Bowie, Zyrron Walton (4.5 40-yard dash), Quentin Sargent (4.5), Zeke Asiegbu (4.6), Anthony Dorsey (4.5), Malcolm Surrell (4.4), and reserve Ananius Hudson (4.4).
Mighty Bluebird Complex is off Highway 10 West on Pinnacle Valley Road. Admission to the tournament is $5 per car each day. Concessions will be available.24 teams
- Allen HS (TX)
- Arkansas Baptist (Little Rock)
- Captain Shreve (Shreveport, LA)
- Central Arkansas Christian (North Little Rock)
- Dumas HS
- Fayetteville HS
- Fountain Lake HS
- Greenbrier HS
- Greene County Tech (Paragould)
- Hall HS (Little Rock)
- Harrisburg HS
- Heritage HS (Rogers)
- James Bowie HS (Arlington, TX)
- Lake Hamilton HS (Pearcy)
- Lakeside HS (Hot Springs)
- Magnolia HS
- Mayflower HS
- Nashville HS
- North Little Rock HS
- Pine Bluff HS
- Pulaski Academy (Little Rock)
- Robinson HS (Little Rock)
- Russellville HS
- Watson Chapel HS
Mighty Blue Bird Field is located at 6800 Pinnacle Valley Road off Hwy 10 (Cantrell Road).