A-K Valley football teams converge on Freeport for 7-on-7 event

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Monday, July 22, 2019 | 6:05 PM


As preparation for high school football enters the stretch run, several teams will gather Wednesday at Freeport for a seven-on-seven event with a local flair.

Eight schools, including Apollo-Ridge, Springdale, Leechburg, Highlands and Riverview, are expected join the Yellowjackets for a series of matchups on the turf.

Freeport coach John Gaillot said the teams still were being finalized Monday.

“This is another good opportunity to get a lot of teams on the field right before the season,” Gaillot said. “We all know each other pretty well. We want it to be competitive but also want to make sure everybody comes out of it healthy.”

Admission is free, and food and refreshments will be available.

“It’s a good test for each of the local teams to see where they are,” Freeport senior quarterback Garret Schaffhauser said. “Each team has been working hard this summer, and it should be good competition.”

A series of heat acclimation practices the week of Aug. 5 will lead into the start of official preseason practices Aug. 12.

The first scrimmages will be Aug. 17, with the second scrimmages or Week Zero games set for Aug. 23.

“This (seven-on-seven) can create a lot of excitement for local (high school) football fans,” Freeport senior wide receiver and defensive back Isiah Bauman said. “There is a lot of good talent on each team.”

The interior linemen also will have their place Wednesday. A big-man challenge will measure each team with tests of strength, speed and agility.

Each event will be scored and points awarded based on individual and relay accomplishments.

“There is a lot of relay-race type stuff,” Gaillot said. “It will be fun to watch. It will be a good test for the linemen.”

After the challenge, the linemen from each team will gather at the center of the field for a tug-of-war.

“All their teammates will gather around and cheer them on,” Gaillot said.

Gaillot said the seven-on-seven and lineman challenge is slated to begin at 6:45 p.m. and run for several hours.

Two matchups involving four teams will be on the field simultaneously.

Before the events begin, a group of officials will meet with the teams to go over rule changes.

“It’s a good opportunity for the players and the coaches to understand and learn what some of the changes are for the upcoming season,” Gaillot said. “Each position is different, and there are three or four different things the officials look for depending on the position. I know I am very interested to hear what they have to say.”

Gaillot said Freeport has hosted past seven-on-seven events, but he’s excited to have more local teams. He said he hopes to continue something like this every summer.

“It has that feel of a season kickoff event,” Gaillot said. “I was out at a couple of places, and people stopped me and asked me if we were going to have the event. They said they were going to come down and watch. It’s something for fans that might be itching for high school football to start.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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