The sixth annual Shootout of the South presented by Baptist Health will begin Friday at 11 am at the Mighty Bluebird Complex in Little Rock. Twenty-four teams will compete in the tournament with 19 from Arkansas, three from Oklahoma, and one each from Texas and Louisiana. Each team will play five pool play games on Friday with the guaranteed-two game format tournament beginning Saturday at 10 am. The finals will begin at 4 pm on Saturday. The tournament champion will qualify for the 7-on-7 National Championship in Hoover, Alabama in late July.
Making the trip across the state lines will be Afton, Stigler, and Heritage Hall from Oklahoma, Allen from Texas, and Cenla Christian Academy out of Pineville, Louisiana. Allen won the tournament in 2006 and Heritage Hall defeated Allen for the 2007 Shootout Championship.
The in-state teams are Central Arkansas Christian, Conway, Dumas, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Fountain Lake, Greenbrier, Lake Hamilton, Lakeside (Hot Springs), Magnolia, Nashville, Parkview, Pulaski Academy, Rogers Heritage, Russellville, Shiloh Christian, Warren, and Watson Chapel. Fayetteville is the defending champion and Lake Hamilton won the 2008 title.
Four of the state’s top quarterbacks will be on display. Shiloh Christian star and Auburn commit Kiehl Frazier and Fayetteville’s signal caller and Arkansas commit Brandon Allen are the two most highly regarded. Allen won the Top Gun Award at last year’s shootout, given to the tournament’s top quarterback. Taylor Reed of El Dorado is a talented lefty who holds an offer from Arkansas State, and Darion Griswold from Dumas is a 6’5” 240 pound signal caller who also stars in basketball.
The receiving group will be highlighted by Fayetteville’s Demetrius Dean and Allen’s Jonathan Lee. Dean has committed to Arkansas, and Lee committed to Baylor while turning down offers from Arkansas, Nebraska, and several others. Sterling Shepard, son of former Oklahoma Sooner and Dallas Cowboy receiver Derrick Shepard, will play receiver and free safety for Heritage Hall. Watson Chapel will feature a pair of 6’2” receivers in Mitch Lane and Kyle Coleman. Warren, who is known for producing great receivers, will display Allen Tatum who has an offer from Louisiana-Monroe and junior Jalen Cobb, who has an offer from Arkansas and Arkansas State. Two of the state’s leaders in receptions from a year ago, Garrett Lamb and Zac Reyna, will be playing for Pulaski Academy. Barry Sanders, Jr. from Heritage Hall and Dylan Hale from Fayetteville are two division one caliber running backs who will be splitting out and catching balls out of the backfield. Sanders will also play cornerback.
Defensive backs usually carry all the hype in 7-on-7 defense, but linebackers may be stealing the show this year. Michael Johnson of Little Rock Parkview, Marc Robinson of Heritage Hall, and Melvin Spears of Allen are all top prospects at linebacker. At defensive back, two juniors may be the best in the state at their position in cornerback Ajalen Holley from Lakeside and free safety Aum’Arie Wallace of Pulaski Academy.
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.
List of all 24 teams:
- Afton HS (OK)
- Allen HS (TX)
- Cenla Christian Academy (Pineville, LA)
- Central Arkansas Christian (North Little Rock)
- Conway HS
- Dumas HS
- El Dorado HS
- Fayetteville HS
- Fountain Lake HS
- Greenbrier HS
- Hall HS (Little Rock)
- Heritage Hall (Oklahoma City)
- Heritage HS (Rogers)
- Lake Hamilton HS (Pearcy)
- Lakeside HS (Hot Springs)
- Magnolia HS
- Nashville HS
- Parkview HS (Little Rock)
- Pulaski Academy (Little Rock)
- Russellville HS
- Shiloh Christian (Springdale)
- Stigler (OK)
- Warren HS
- Watson Chapel HS