Saturday presented both Bradley Central and Cleveland High Schools with the chance to participate in the 2013 Chattanooga Shootout at Finley Stadium.
All in all, there were a total of 16 different high schools from Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama competing in the Chattanooga Shootout, with some playing over at The Baylor School.
The teams played in 7-on-7 two-hand touch action, with pool play from 9 a.m. to noon, and tournament play beginning at 1 p.m.
Due to TSSAA rules, both teams had only come out of their dead period, and began practicing sans pads four days ago.
“We’ve only had four days to get ready for it, unlike the teams from Georgia and South Carolina who had no limitations,” Raider head coach Ron Crawford. “Bottom line, it’s a day of work down here. We try to come down here, do what we do, and get better.”
Bears head coach Damon Floyd came to Finley to see his squad compete and begin testing the defense and offense.
“The biggest thing is that you want to see your kids compete. Defensively you get to put in some coverages and then offensively put in your passing game. You try to learn from the mistakes they make,” Floyd said.
Having lost some key impact players to graduation, coach Floyd is looking to see who will step up this year.
“We didn’t lose a big group, but the seniors we lost were quality. The guys we lost had a big impact,” Floyd commented. “This is what this is good for — you find out who is going to compete and see who is going to fill the void. We’ve got a lot of guys coming back from last year so we’re fortunate in that. There’s no excuses now, it’s just about running around, competing and playing well.”
The Bears performed exceptionally well at the Chattanooga Shootout, but were unable to top nationally ranked Byrnes High School from South Carolina in the championship game.
“Well, you always want to win, but overall I thought we got a lot of good work in. We competed against some very good teams and found a way to come out on top of most of them,” Floyd stated.
According to the coach, many players stepped up and performed on Saturday.
“I thought we had a lot of guys that played extremely well. Brett (Standifer, quarterback) made the right reads and wasn’t turning the ball over. He was getting the ball to our playmakers,” Floyd said. “Daniel Clark played both ways all day and had a lot of touchdowns. He’s very athletic. We had a lot of kids who really performed well.”
Standifer was a three-year starting quarterback for Soddy-Daisy before he transferred to Bradley Central. Floyd was also impressed with the performances by Baylor Terrell, Cal Pickel and Dee Crisp.
On Thursday the Bears will travel to Red Bank to participate in another passing league.
The Raiders have 18 seniors and 29 juniors playing this year, and coach Crawford is watching for those who prove to be leaders.
“We’re looking for leadership from all of our upperclassmen. We’ve got a quiet group of really good young men,” Crawford commented.
Cleveland began the afternoon with a win over district 5-AAA rival Ooltewah, and then was dealt back-to-back losses by Bradley and Carrollton High School.
“The afternoon started great. We competed great against Ooltewah and came back to win it in the end,” Crawford stated. “We didn’t play very well against Bradley, then lost at the last second to Carrollton from Georgia. Overall it was a good day of work for our football team.”
Following the 7-on-7 tournament, Crawford is focused on fixing mistakes, making sure the team is on the same page assignment wise, and improving the overall execution.
“We’re evaluating these guys. The ones that are fighting for positions catch your eye as you go through these types of tournaments. Some kids really helped themselves today,” Crawford said.
On Thursday, Cleveland’s junior varsity will travel to McMinn County for 7-on-7 action, while the varsity will be at Tennessee Tech on Friday.
Teams will begin practicing with full pads on July 22.