Posted: Friday, June 27th 2014 at 3:01pm
Football: Area teams look for a few answers at FCA 7-on-7 camp
By Luke Story Staff
A Flowery Branch receiver looks to elude a group of North Hall defenders during Thursday's FCA 7-on-7 camp in Oakwood.
OAKWOOD –- The action on the field resembled school-yard two-hand touch but the quality of lessons gleaned from the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes 7-on-7 camp at Johnson High in Oakwood were unbeatable for a number of area teams in transition.
Just ask first year North Hall head coach David Bishop.
“This event is really good for us in the football aspect but more importantly in the spiritual aspect for the kids, our bond is strengthened with events like this,” Bishop said of a day that saw quarterbacks, running backs and receivers face off with linebackers and defensive backs in a series of mini-games.
A strong bond will certainly help a young Trojans team that graduated 21 of 22 starters from last year’s state playoff team. And North Hall knows that bond must be backed up by plenty of toil.
“The boys have really been working hard all summer, and I am so proud of how they have handled the changes in the program and adjusted to things and taken me in as head coach,” Bishop said. “I am confident this group of guys will experience great things.”
Time spent on the field -- in any fashion -- is cherished by all prep football squads, maybe even more so for programs in transition. And there are plenty of area teams in that very position. Many of them were present on Thursday, including Banks County (settling in after last year’s coaching transition), Chestatee (new head coach) Flowery Branch (new starting quarterback), Gainesville (new starting quarterback), East Hall (new linebacker corps), Johnson (new starters in the backfield) and Riverside Military Academy (a roster in constant flux due to its position as a military boarding school). Gilmer and North Paulding also took part in the competition.
Each team present used Thursday to take another step closer to bridging the transitions faced.
Vikings coach Bryan Gray said the event benefited his team in more than one way.
“Today does a few things for the young men participating: It gives them the time for additional conditioning, secondly it allows kids to work on communicating with each other on the field and lastly it gives us the chance to iron out the little fundamentals and boost team confidence,” Gray noted.
Chestatee first-year head coach Bill Forman enjoyed the nature of the event.
“The FCA did an excellent good of paving the way for fellowship and catering to an awesome sense of friendly rivalry,” Forman said.
Meanwhile, new Flowery Branch defensive coordinator David Wagner said the opportunity is what drives his Falcons.
“Going months without competing or playing against someone else is hard, but the guys used the event to showcase their outstanding work ethic. The guys are competing and it’s fun to watch,” Wagner said.
It’s that same fierce competition and grinding work ethic that has all of the state eagerly awaiting the start of the 2014 football season. August 1 is the earliest date for practice in pads and most teams will open the 2014 campaign on Aug. 30.
Thursday’s competition marked the end of 7-on-7 season for most area teams, and while next week’s mandatory dead week will see every gridiron competitor in the state take a break, it won’t be long before the 2014 campaign is upon us. And the lessons learned in events like Thursday’s -- even in a stripped-down version of the game -- could prove key.
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