MORGANTOWN — The annual West Virginia football 7-on-7 camp was held on Wednesday at Milan Puskar Stadium and adjacent practice facilities with nearly 30 schools participating.
Both Morgantown and University took the field in their hometown to compete against both in-state and out-of-state competition.
Teams competed in pool play to begin the day and were then seeded into a single-elimination bracket to end the day that would crown a winner at the conclusion.
UHS defeated Linsly in the round of 32 before falling in the quarterfinals to George Washington. MHS managed to make it to the semifinals before falling to Bridgeport.
Both high school head coaches, John Kelley for UHS, and Sean Biser for MHS, noted the rapidly growing importance and popularity of the 7-on-7 style of football and how to best translate it to the season.
“It helps us build teamwork, competitiveness, confidence, and our team grows together,” Kelley said on Wednesday. “Your quarterback and receivers can work on timing and defensively you learn responsibility. One big thing we want to learn is who can communicate and be aggressive.”
For the Hawks, who will field a roster this upcoming season made up of nearly 80 percent of freshmen or sophomores, the day is crucial for growth. Kelley also praised WVU and the staff for making the event special for everyone involved.
“The kids love playing out here,” he said. “Big thanks to WVU, Coach (Neal) Brown and his staff as they put on a first-class experience for the kids and coaches. It’s always a thrill to play in a power five stadium of a big-time program.”
Biser echoed his crosstown counterpart and also highlighted how important 7-on-7 has become for his program over the years.
“It’s become more important for us as we’ve had more guys come in who can throw the ball,” Biser said. “This gives us a great chance to see our guys compete, that’s number one. On defense, recognizing routes and packaging and getting your timing down are all things we like to see getting better.”
The 7-on-7 style has swiftly grown in popularity over the years. Partly due to the emphasis on hitting in football, as it adopts the “two-hand touch” rule. But also due to the fun and excitement it brings to the game of football.
“We have kids traveling to play 7-on-7 the same that kids do AAU basketball,” Biser said. “So when we can’t work with our kids they go and play with those teams and continue to get better. We support our kids when they do that because it gives them more experience and skill. We have guys on our own team who have greatly benefitted from going out and working on their game with those teams.”
Hosting the camp serves as a recruiting event for the WVU staff. MHS senior Bobby Powell was offered a preferred walk-on spot at WVU after the day concluded, he announced on his Twitter account.