Seven-on-seven football is hardly anything close to what real football is actually like, as most coaches may say. But that isn’t keeping Waxahachie High School from turning to its season playbook for Friday’s first round of action in the Texas State 7-on-7 Championships in College Station.
Head coach Ronnie Allen said the team is running plays Indian fans will likely see this season as the team continues to take reps from its heightened pass-friendly offense.
“Seven-on-seven has a huge impact on what we do,” Allen said. “We’re a balanced offense on Friday nights, but what we have to actually throw against different coverages is a ton of offense on the passing side. So these are valuable, valuable reps.”
The Indians played their final live-ball practice Monday evening against Cedar Hill High School and will host one final team practice Wednesday at Lumpkins Stadium.
Some football fans might know what 7-on-7 entails, but for those who are unfamiliar with the non-contact passing league, 7-on-7 limits players to solely passing the ball and positions teams on the 40-yard line to start each possession.
Teams have four downs to make it to the 20-yard line or else there is a turnover on downs and the opposing team gets the ball back at the 40.
Touchdowns are still scored the same, with six points awarded to the scoring team. The extra point, however, is decided by the distance the scoring team elects to start from.
A completed pass from the 10-yard line awards a team one point while a completed pass from the 15-yard line gives a team two points.
Defense plays are limited to one-hand touches below the neck of an offensive player and quarterbacks have a maximum four seconds to pass the ball to a receiver.
So, 7-on-7 is nowhere close to what football in the regular season is like.
But that isn’t keeping the Indians from running the same plays they will use when the season opens at Midlothian High School on Aug. 28.
“What we rep in 7-on-7 is our playbook. We don't go out there and just draw things up in the sand so to speak,” Allen said. “We go out there with our actual playbook.”
Unlike recent seasons, Waxahachie is switching to a spread offense that will position receivers across the field, much like 7-on-7 football.
Spread offense gives quarterbacks, like senior starter Jordan Kitna, more flexibility to air the ball across the field and keep the team moving because the Indians are also expecting to start each possession without huddling.
Instead, Kitna will either call plays from his wristband or turn to the coaching staff on the sidelines.
But now going into his fourth and final season playing in the spread, Allen said Kitna has mastered the mechanics of high school football and is ready for the college level.
Playing 7-on-7 just gives Kitna more time to call plays, giving the Indians what they hope to be additional reps that will pay dividends when the season kicks off in August.
“We go into the season, we’re running the exact same thing and we’re just rolling,” Allen said.
Waxahachie will open pool play at 2 p.m. on Friday against Class 6A opponent, United High School and follow up with a second game against Class 5A opponent, Lufkin High School.
Friday’s first round action ends with an evening game at 6 p.m. against Dawson High School, who also plays in Class 6A.