The West Washington Senators for the 4th consecutive year hosted the 7-on-7 Senator Challenge at the high school’s football practice field Saturday. Seven on seven football is of course played with only seven players for each team on the football field at a time, and is played on a 40 yard field, with only one end zone.
The concept is to give participating schools a chance to compete against other players and have a little fun in the process.
Schools from Eastern, Salem, Brownstown Central, Eastern Greene, North Daviess, Perry Central, Mitchell, and of course host West Washington competed in the games, which are limited to 30 minutes in length, with a running clock. Each team is guaranteed four games, with a tournament to follow play in two pools.
There was also on an adjoining field to the 7-on-7 action, a Lineman Challenge, with a number of events for linemen from each team. A 5 man sled drive and an obstacle course were part of the activities here.
Fourth-year West Washington head Coach Phillip Bowsman started the 7-on-7 Senator Challenge the same year he started at West Washington, so it too is in its fourth year in 2010.
Although the program makes a little money on concessions and a small amount on admission to the event, Bowsman said “We don’t really look at it from a money point of view.”
Bowsman said that the main objective is to have fun and not just lift weights during conditioning for the upcoming season.
“I think it’s really important to break the monotony of practice, and lifting weights,” he added.
It also gets the players in a game frame of mind just a month from the start of the upcoming season, according to Bowsman. “It gives them a taste of competition before the season gets here,” Bowsman said.
Saturday, the heat was high during the entire day, but a consistent breeze and a good cloud cover kept the heat from climbing to even higher levels, and that was fine with Bowsman. “It could have been worse; we were pretty fortunate,” the Senators coach said.
Salem senior player Corbin Johnson said that this year was the first time he has competed in the 7 on 7 Senator Challenge, but he made up for it with plenty of action in it.
“It’s really good practice,” Johnson explained. “You get a feel for all of the teams, and game play.”
Looming ahead in August are two practices a day, with the season starting in the latter part of the month.
Eastern coach John Dablow is in his second year as head coach of the Musketeers, and he likes the event.
“It’s good,” he said. “They do a great job of putting it on. It’s top notch; first class. We’re glad they have it.”
Because of the heat, Dablow made sure that his players had access to plenty of liquids during the day.
“It was a hot one,” Dablow said. “The kids had to stay hydrated. It’s not going to get any cooler.”
With Eastern’s varsity program the same age as the 7 on 7 Senator Challenge (four years old), Dablow is glad to see his players get out and compete against other programs.