Under a blazing sun, Flagler Palm Coast and Seabreeze football teams competed at Florida State University in Mike Norvell's 7 on 7 Camp on Wednesday, June 15.
Tallahassee weather reached a balmy 94 degrees with a heat index of 110 at the Florida State University Rec Sports Complex on Wednesday, June 15. That did not deter hundreds of high school football players from turning out at FSU head coach Mike Norvell’s annual 7 on 7 Camp.
Teams traveled from as far south as Miami and from as far north as Valdosta, Georgia, to participate in the fast-paced tournament. University and college coaches also made the trip to get a good look at the athletes. Seabreeze and Flagler Palm Coast High School football teams participated in the camp.
Seabreeze head coach Pat Brown believes the seven-on-seven format is an excellent way for him to get his players out on the field to compete under pressure and be faced with a lot of situational football. It forces them to utilize what they have been taught instinctually instead of thinking about each situation.
“I saw some promise today from the young guys,” he said. “They just got to work on the tempo. The speed of the game is an adjustment for them. They were just playing with their middle school friends last week, and now they’re playing against some of the best talent in the Florida-Georgia area. We have to work on being able to compete when the lights come on.”
“The speed of the game is an adjustment for them. They were just playing with their middle school friends last week and now they’re playing against some of the best talent in the Florida-Georgia area.”
PAT BROWN, Seabreeze head coach referring to incoming freshmen
FPC head coach Robert Paxia selects a few seven-on-seven camps to attend each year to gauge his team’s progress following spring football. It is a means for him to assess specific skills that may need to be developed prior to the fall season.
“We threw and caught the ball well,” he said.
“Some guys are continuing to build on the strong spring they had. That’s all we are going to ask for is our kids get better every day. We are going to walk away disappointed in the finish, but we are going to be encouraged by the progress,” Paxia said, regarding the Bulldogs’ loss to Bainbridge High School.
Thirty-five teams played four round-robin games with a 15-minute running time clock and a five-minute break in between. The teams were then seeded for the single-elimination tournament based on their overall record, head-to-head, total points allowed and a coin toss.
Both teams faced stiff competition. As its first opponent of the day, FPC drew Ocala Vanguard, which was the District 5-6A champion last season and won two playoff games before losing to Orlando Jones by two points. In round four, Seabreeze faced Sanford Seminole, which won the entire tournament.
Receiver coach Mark Lewis addressed the players.
“That’s all we are going to ask for, is our kids get better every day. We are going to walk away disappointed in the finish but we are going to be encouraged by the progress.”
ROBERT PAXIA, FPC head football coach
“It never ceases to amaze me how we get in these situations where coaches drill technique, technique, technique in practice and we get out in a competitive environment and forget our technique,” he said. “Don’t let the moment overwhelm you where you can’t go back to doing what you were taught to do.”
Nine Seabreeze players also attended Norvell’s Big Man Camp at FSU’s indoor practice facility while their teammates participated in the seven-on-seven tournament. Standouts included defensive tackle Michael Shropshire, FPC transfer A.J. Washington, offensive linemen Aiden Ford and Kelon Tennant. Senior offensive lineman Rashard Frazer was recognized for his outstanding performance by one of FSU’s coaches who gave the player his telephone number.
“Rashard is one of our kids that has dealt with a lot of adversity,” Brown said. “It was great to see him smiling from ear-to-ear.”