By R. Alan Richardson
The MCHS football team played its final 7-on-7 matchup this past week at Walnut Grove High School in the AIR-O 7 vs. 7 State Championships. Stiff competition came from state-wide participants that included Alcovy, Ola, Dunwoody, Langston Hughes High Schools, and many others. All of these schools were sporting big-time Division I athletes, but the Bulldogs held their own and then some.
Head Coach Bill Malone commented, “7v7 was a success on more than one front. First, all the kids we took got some amount of playing time. Secondly, we won a bunch of games. Thirdly, the kids and coaches had a lot of fun. And lastly Coach Shultz, who was filling in for the honeymooning Coach Bell, gained experience calling the defense.”
Morgan’s offensive coordinator Coach Wade Woodall said, “In each of our previous 7v7’s we have taken steps in the right direction on offense, but we still had things we needed to improve upon. At Air-O we were finally able to put together a complete performance and eliminate some of the mistakes we were making on offense. As a result, we were able to compile a 7-1 record and a third place finish. Throughout the day we were able to get a ton of kids involved which led to a complete team effort. On offense, we had 13 players that caught passes and all three quarterbacks completed passes. We were able to have so many players contribute on offense because we went out early in several of our games scoring on offense and getting stops on defense. In three of our four pool play games and our first game in the tournament, our starters only played half the game. Anytime you go 7-1 and finish third you’re happy, but what was just as satisfying was being able to see so many of our guys get a chance to perform and see what they can do in game-like situations. Overall it was a great day and an outstanding way to end our 7v7 season.”
Defensive back Coach Carter Shultz was promoted to defensive coordinator for the day while Brett Bell was off in France with his new bride. Shultz said, “After a down week at UGA (record-wise), I thought we did a fantastic job at Air-O. Coach Bell and I spent about two hours talking about what we needed to do differently after UGA. Our kids were in good position, but were playing through the receiver rather than attacking the ball. We emphasized throughout the week the ‘Jack Boyz’ attitude (2015-16 Houston Cougars forced 43 turnovers in 12 games). That attitude carried us throughout the day as we probably had 10+ interceptions on the day. I was really glad to get the backups some work as our starters really needed the rest. The young guys came through for us and performed extremely well. The entire defense played well, but safeties Javis Benford and Brandon Smith were catalysts for us with 3+ interceptions each. Through one five-game stretch our starters only gave up one touchdown total. That’s almost unheard of in a single game, much less five when you’re going 7-on-7.”