A closer look at the state 7-on-7 tournament pools
It might not be football season just yet, but you can tell it’s right around the corner.
How? Well, first of all it’s getting pretty darn hot outside. As we talked about in a recent podcast, heat is just one of many signs that our favorite time of the year is approaching. Another is the Texas state 7-on-7 tournament.
Sure, it’s not full-contact football. Heck, success in 7-on-7 doesn’t always equate to success on the gridiron in the fall, but it sure does give us something — other than the World Cup — to talk about.
And whether you’re a fan of the somewhat controversial sport or not, you have to admit that it, at the very least, gets you in the mood for football.
We will cover the state tournament, which takes place in College Station from July 10-12, so make sure to make your way back here for plenty of notebooks and analysis.
For now, you can check out the pools below and get my thoughts on each group.
Division I (6A-5A)
Quick take: This is a tough group from top to bottom. But expect Lake Travis and Cy Falls to advance. Lake Travis is led by quarterback, Dominic DeLira, an Iowa State commit who threw for over 2,500 yards last season. Cy Falls wide receiver John Humprey runs a 4.3 forty and will be tough to cover.
Quick take: A&M Consolidated wide outs Derrick Dick and Daniel Zivney will simply create too many mismatches to not move on while Ridge Point, led by linebacker Cameron Townsend and safety Jameel Cook, will be tough to score on.
Quick take: West Mesquite could win the whole tournament. The Wranglers have a dangerous quarterback in Mississippi State commit Chason Virgil and plenty of athletes on both sides of the ball. Expect Austin Westlake to make it out of the group, too.
San Angelo Central
Quick take: Katy’s success can be attributed to its ability to pound the football. But the traditional powerhouse will do enough through the air to move on. Shane Buechele, one of the top 2016 quarterback recruits, will guide Arlington Lamar to the next round.
Quick take: Picking against Chad President would be foolish. The Temple quarterback and Baylor commit might have missed most of last season with an injury, but he’s one of the best signal-callers in the state. It’s a tough to say who the second team that moves through will be, but my gut says Frenship.
Quick take: Justin McMillan to DaMarkus Lodge. You’ll hear that early and often throughout the tournament. Simply put, the two Cedar Hill stars will be virtually unstoppable and should cruise deep in the tournament. I’m taking Cy Creek to advance as well.
Quick take: Dalton Banks leads an explosive Alamo Heights offense. Banks passed for over 3,300 yards and 23 touchdowns a season ago. But he’s not the only dangerous quarterback in this group. Manny Harris, a UTSA commit, is very talented and will lift Copperas Cove.
Quick take: Mesquite Horn has the best group of wide receivers in this pool. Opposing defensive backs will dread covering Jarrison Stewart, Emmauel Ogwo and Blayde Moore. Atascocita also has a solid receiving corps, headlined by UTSA commits Furquan Shorts and Tre Hamilton.
Quick take: Southlake Carroll is famous for its spread offense and will thrive in this tournament. Quarterback Ryan Agnew will put up monster numbers, mark my words. Patrick Carr will make a living as a running back this season, but excelling as a wide receiver is pivotal for The Woodlands to advance. And I think he will.
Quick take: Lovejoy features Bowman Sells at quarterback, a rising star with multiple offers, and a multitude of talented playmakers. South Hills quarterback Tracin Wallace is only a sophomore but was impressive in qualifiers and should help his team move on.
Quick take: SoSo Jamabo is an athletic freak. One of the top recruits in the nation, Jamabo can make defenders miss with ease and will carry Plano West. New Rice commit Brandon Douglas will make plenty of play on the back end for Hutto.
Quick take: With new toys in JW Ketchum and Tyreik Gray, two key transfers, Houston Lamar will be dangerous in this tournament and on the field this season. Give me Plano, even though it loves to run the football, to advance as well.
Quick take: This is another tough group, but Arlington Bowie shouldn’t have much trouble. Tony James is an excellent quarterback who can also play wide receiver, and fellow TCU pledge Niko Small can lock down opposing pass catchers. Never underestimate CUJO Nation. John Tyler will squeeze through, too.
Quick take: Manvel is loaded with talent. I mean, did you see Gary Haynes throw a football to himself? Other than the viral sensation, quarterback D’Eriq King, defensive back Deontay Anderson and more make Manvel a threat to win it all. While it won’t win the group, Lake Dallas will move on.
Quick take: There is a lot to like about Sharyland. Yes, the Rattlers play down in the Valley. But expect do-it-all athlete Sean Landez and this bunch to make some noise. I’ll take Stratford to move on, too.
Quick take: The easy pick here is Allen. The defending state champs will be led by the best quarterback in the Kyler Murray, who has plenty of weapons at his disposal including Notre Dame commit Jalen Guyton. Belton is a solid sleeper.
Division II (4A-PVT)
Quick take: Experienced and explosive is the best way to describe Trinity Christian. Christian Hutzler is poised in the pocket while Rice commit Nahshon Ellerbe and wide receiver Parker Oliver will be tough to stop. Lorena could surprise.
Quick take: East Bernard lost most of last season’s team. But tradition never dies, even in 7-on-7, and the Brahmas won’t go down easy. Fairfield has the upper hand among the rest of the contenders in this pool.
Quick take: Colton Cerday was marred by interceptions, but he still threw for over 2,000 yards and 11 touchdowns for Wimberley last season. Melissa has a chance to win the pool thanks to quarterback Tyler McGehee.
Quick take: Chapel Hill is littered with pure East Texas athletes, giving it the advantage in this pool. After Chapel Hill, it’s somewhat of a toss up, but give me Stafford.
Quick take: Prestonwood and Waskom could cruise in this group. Kevin Johnson and June Bug Johnson are running backs by nature but will catch passes and help Waskom put up plenty of points. Quarterback Twayne Blackwell and wide receiver Michael Irvin Jr. make Prestonwood a team to be reckoned with.
Quick take: The name of the game for Argyle is run the ball and play defense. The Eagles can’t exactly do that here, but they still have enough talent to move on in this pass-oriented tourney. Sealy lost Christian Wallace this offseason but is still more than capable of making a run.
Quick Take: Kinkaid should dominate in this pool. Quarterback JT Granato, a Rice commit, can sling it and 6-foot-4 wide receiver Sam Mays will create mismatches. Give me Burnet to move on, too.
Quick take: Nate Kowalik transferred in from Hallettsville this offseason after a stellar junior campaign. Kowalik will make Goliad a contender on the field and in this tournament. It might not be the most popular pick, but I also like Pilot Point.
Quick take: Canton’s Chandler Eiland was very impressive at last month’s East Texas combine and is one of the top quarterbacks in that part of the state. Expect Rockdale to chuck it up to big wide receiver Pearce Loath.
Quick take: Big Spring’s Tobyn Tannehill, the brother of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, will light up opposing defenses in this pool. Princeton lost a lot of talent from last year’s team but opened some eyes in qualifiers.
Quick take: This group is wide open, but somebody has to come out of it. I’m taking Kountze and Taylor. At the same time, I could also see Pecos and Kaufman coming out of this pool. It’s pretty much a toss up.
Quick take: Boerne quarterback Quinten Dormady missed all of last season with an injury. But the Tennessee commit was sensational as a sophomore and is determined to show what he’s capable of doing this season. Highly touted recruit Kris Boyd, a playmaker on both sides of the ball, will carry Gilmer.
Quick take: The key thing to remember is Stephenville quarterback Jarrett Stidham said he will not be taking part in the tournament. Still, the Yellow Jackets will be a tough matchup every team in this group. Celina, however, should come out on top thanks to quarterback Nathan Elliott and wide receiver Cash Conder.
Fort Bend Christian
Quick take: Booker quarterback Hunter Lile and wide receiver Jared Reagan are both on the cusp of setting state records. So defenses beware. Thomas Fitts, a big, strong-armed quarterback, will make sure Dallas Episcopal advances, too.
St. Pius X
Quick take: Good luck throwing on Graham. Mike Freeze, a TCU commit, should snag plenty of interceptions and keep the opposition out of the end zone. La Grange’s Bralon Hutchinson is as elusive as they come. It’s all about the Leopards and Steers here.
Quick take: Navasota is experienced on both sides of the ball and certainly has no shortage of playmakers. While Abilene Wylie might be a favorite, I actually like Rice Consolidated, which is led by savvy quarterback Jordan Johnson.
EJ Holland is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.
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