By Trent Friedel, exclusive to the Times
Just a few years ago I had not heard of 7 on 7 but it has become the summer stalwart of football teams around the country. 7 vs. 7 is an amalgam of touch football that has taken storm as a summer conditioning and training tool for teams. Tournaments occur nearly weekly that pit teams against each other regardless of regular season class or division in the LHSAA. Often teams come from out of State to compete in some of the most thrilling action of summer. But, talk about an inferno of a place to learn and hone your offensive and defensive plays and players.
Louisiana summers are a crucible, temperatures in the mid to upper 90’s with humidity a near constant 100%. If you can train and condition in Louisiana, you can overcome any adversity of conditioning for the regular season. Seven on seven has grown in popularity from a game played as recreation on Army bases in the 1940’s. Modeled somewhat after flag football, 7 on 7 competitions have no tackling but are fast paced. Coaches get a chance to install their offensive passing game.
The spread offense has taken off in popularity and is seen at all levels of play, from high school to the NFL. Defenses must work on coverage to slow or stop the passing game. The format of the game is set on a 40 yard field. Games are 21 minutes in length with a running clock for the first 20 minutes.
Each offensive possession begins there with six players and one center or other dedicated person to snap the ball. A first down can be accomplished by crossing the 25 and ten yard lines. Like the regular season, the offense has three downs to make a first down. The quarterback has 4 seconds to pass the football once it is snapped and there is a 25 second play clock. Yes, you read that correctly, four seconds to get the pass off. If the quarterback is unable to launch the ball, it results in a loss of down and considered a sack. One hand touch stops play and no running plays are allowed, this is a pass centric game.
Scoring a touchdown is the same six points as regular football and a point after worth one point. The defense lines up 7 defenders to try and stop the passing game. Defense can also score with an interception worth 3 points and a turnover on downs worth 2 points. Penalties are still a part of the game and referees monitor action.
Most tournaments are pool play with results determining matchups in subsequent rounds. Players wear helmets and no pads but that does nothing to reduce the intensity of play.
Summer will give way to fall and area teams will take to the field having practiced their pass offense and defense in this popular offseason activity. 7 on 7, heating up throughout the nation and there’s no hotter place than Louisiana to condition and practice for the upcoming season.