By Dave Wagner
Eastern New Mexico University may have had fewer teams than it its previous two 7-on-7 football events, but Greyhounds coach Josh Lynn said more players were involved.
A total of 30 teams participated in the 7-on-7, along with a lineman challenge, on Friday at the ENMU practice field.
“We may not have had as many teams as in the past two years, but I think we had more kids,” Lynn said. “I think there were over 500 kids (taking part).”
The 7-on-7 was split into three divisions. Clovis High beat District 4-6A rival Hobbs for the large-school title (Classes 4A-6A), Las Vegas Robertson took the middle division (Class 3A plus large-school JVs) and Hagerman got past 8-man Melrose in the small division (Class 2A and down).
Lynn said the event serves two purposes.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to get kids on campus,” he said, “and get a look at some of the (area) talent.”
Beyond that, he said it provides players and parents with the opportunity to visit the campus, whether or not football is in the future.
Fort Sumner participated in the small-school division. Even with the NMAA’s change in classifications this year, the Foxes have remained in Class 1A.
In fact, they’ve retained district foes Hagerman and Jal in the district, and Fort Sumner coach Matt Moyer expects both to be contenders for a state title.
Moyer said that while his team primarily runs the ball, it’s a chance to see his players against live competition.
“We talked to our kids about trying to compete,” he said. “We just want to practice what we do. We work out of the wing, so this gives us some reps in our natural (formation).
“We’ve been in our base defense, so we just want to get good at what we’re going to do in the fall.”
Moyer was impressed with the event.
“Coach Lynn does a good job of putting it on,” he said.
Portales junior running back-cornerback Bronte Staugaard lined up as more of a receiver for Portales High in the 7-on-7, something he’s not likely to do in the fall after rushing for more than 1,000 yards last year.
“It’s different reading the defense (from a receiver position),” he said, “because you don’t have to read the line.”
The Rams were looking at a mix of returning players and varsity newcomers. They finished eighth in the nine-school top division, then beat Lubbock Coronado before losing to top-seeded Artesia in afternoon bracket play.
“We’re just trying to get our team together,” Staugaard said. “We have a lot of guys and this helps us a lot.”
• Large-school division (9 teams): Final — Clovis over Hobbs. Semifinals — Clovis over Amarillo Palo Duro, Hobbs over Artesia.
• Middle-school division (9 teams): Final — Las Vegas Robertson beat Hatch Valley. Semifinals — Robertson over Roswell High JV, Hatch Valley over Hobbs JV.
• Small-school division (12 teams): Final — Hagerman beat Melrose. Semifinals — Hagerman beat Texico, Melrose beat Hobbs sophomores.
• Linemen challenge (16 teams): 1. Hobbs; 2. Lubbock Coronado; 3. Palo Duro; 4. Clovis.