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Tigers go 9-0, win 7-on-7 tourney

The Greenville Tigers are on a roll this summer.

The Tigers took to Montgomery’s Emory Folmar Complex Thursday for USA Football’s Alabama Football Coaches Association (ALFCA) 7-on-7 Championship, a tournament that pitted 32 teams ranging from Class 1A to Class 5A against one another.

Teams included in Greenville’s pool included Andalusia, Lanett, Hamilton, Montgomery Catholic, Crossville, Hillcrest-Evergreen and St. James.

Other competitors included Isabella, Russellville, Handley and Childersburg.

Greenville emerged victorious and, even more impressively, undefeated.  The Tigers claimed the championship with an unblemished 9-0 record.

Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon said that the Tigers’ offense tore through opponents in pool play, mounting 103 points in its first five games.

“We beat some good football teams, and the kids got some good competition and put on good performances, so I thought it was good,” he said.

“I thought our offense made the plays we needed to make at the times we needed to make them.  And we got the ball out on time; you only have four seconds to throw the ball, and your routes have to be on time with the quarterback.  I feel that everyone is working well together.”

In 7-on-7 competitions, offense isn’t the only way to put points on the board.  The defense scores 2 points whenever they force a turnover on downs, and another 3 when an interception is made.

“The defense did a good job of getting us stops and getting us the ball back,” McLendon added.  “They allowed very few points, also. It was a total team effort; it wasn’t just offense.”

Though 7-on-7 competitions are an abstraction of a full football game played during the fall season, the skills developed during competitions are every bit as real. Timing, decision-making under pressure and a variety of other factors are just as meaningful in the fall as they are now for the Tigers’ skill players.

But there are intangible benefits to such experiences, too.

“I think it gives us a lot of confidence, and it shows our guys what hard work can do if they continue to grind, push forward and do the right things on and off the field,” McLendon said. “That’s the main thing we’re trying to preach to them—if they continue to work hard and continue to do the right things, then we’ll be in good shape.”

The summer is only getting started for Greenville.  The Tigers spent Friday and Saturday in Prattville during a 7-on-7 competition hosted by Cam Newton, and winning Thursday’s championship earned the Tigers an invite to the national 7-on-7 competition in Hoover scheduled for July 13-15.

“We’re just all about competing,” McLendon said.  “If we do well [this weekend], the top three teams will be invited to Newton’s national camp in an all-expenses-paid trip to Atlanta.

“We’re just trying to grind, let our kids compete and have fun and just grow as a team.”