County air show: Eight teams display arms at Briarwood

NORTH SHELBY &8212; Shelby County football fans and coaches received the first taste of what&8217;s to come this fall, as Briarwood Christian School hosted Calera, Chelsea, Oak Mountain and Thompson among three other teams last Tuesday and Wednesday for a 7-on-7 passing camp.

With potential Division I prospects, such as Briarwood&8217;s Barrett Trotter and Calera&8217;s Kaderius Lacey, expected to shine, it was the younger talent that helped turn heads, including Oak Mountain&8217;s junior quarterback Drew McKnight.

McKnight, who makes the move to quarterback this fall after starting at free safety last year, tossed more than a dozen touchdowns in the two-day camp, mostly to senior Michael Connell, including three in Wednesday&8217;s game against Shades Valley.

However, it was more than the scoring that impressed Oak Mountain head coach Jerry Hood, who was watching for McKnight&8217;s precision, such as a dropped pass in the back right corner of the end zone

against Shade Valley.

&8220;That&8217;s why I ran down there, because I wanted to see if it was going to hit where we put the bucket every day,&8221; said Hood, who quickly moved to the corner before the play was called. &8220;And I&8217;ll be dogged if it didn&8217;t hit right inside that pylon, which is where we want to get.&8221;

For the team as a whole, Hood&8217;s evaluation wasn&8217;t much different than the others &8212; room for improvement.

&8220;We have a long way to go. A long, long, long way to go, but for June 27, I was proud of them,&8221; Hood said. &8220;This is touch football, and we&8217;re all good at touch football.&8221;

Scores were hardly looked upon in the non-bracketed camp, but Thompson picked up a clean sweep over its opponents Tuesday with quarterback Alan Reeves at the helm of the offense.

&8220;I thought we did well and that the guys gave good effort,&8221; said Thompson head coach Brian Maner. &8220;Of course there&8217;s a long ways to go, and this isn&8217;t football, but it&8217;s the closest thing you can get right now.&8221;

Host school Briarwood divided time Tuesday between varsity and junior varsity players before splitting squads on Wednesday, giving head coach Fred Yancey a chance to see where the Lions&8217; future lies with some front-line receivers not in attendance.

&8220;We had to play some young receivers which was great for them. It gives us a chance to give them some coaching,&8221; Yancey said. &8220;They&8217;ve got to realize that they&8217;re only a heartbeat away from playing.&8221;

Chelsea head coach Wade Waldrop had few words following the camp, which was the first two days his Hornets had picked up a football this summer.

&8220;The most important thing is no one got hurt and we got to compete,&8221; Waldrop said.

Parker, Shades Valley and Sylacauga were also in attendance at Briarwood.

Calera&8217;s appearance was brief, playing just four games Tuesday, as they took the day off Wednesday to prepare for the two-day National Select qualifier at Hoover. They fell to Hoover in the third round of the final day, as Lacey had 17 touchdown catches on the week and Earl Haynes had 12.

The Montevallo Bulldogs traveled to St. Clair County High for situational drills on Thursday. The &8217;Dawgs will host Shelby County High

on Aug. 12 at 5 p.m