Pelham football participates in 7-on-7

Running back Moregan Sharp was one of several Panthers who participated in a 7-on-7 competition July 9. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Running back Moregan Sharp was one of several Panthers who participated in a 7-on-7 competition July 9. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

PELHAM — The Pelham High School football team tested its mettle against someone other than itself on July 9, as the Panthers squared off with the Fultondale Wildcats in a 7-0n-7 competition.

Instead of a full-contact, 11-on-11 scrimmage, each squad lined their quarterbacks, running back and receivers against the other’s linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties in attempt to run passing plays and defensive coverage.

“(It serves) to give our guys work all summer long,” Panthers’ assistant coach Phillip Lawson said. “Gives them a chance to (compete against) someone they don’t know.”

In an interesting twist, the Panthers were without head coach Brett Burnett, who was away on family business. Lawson said while Burnett’s absence was felt by the entire squad, the team performed quite well. Lawson said he felt part of the ability to perform at a high level despite not having Burnett there was due to the cohesion of the coaching staff.

“Everybody on the staff works well together,” he said. “Of course, we wish he was there, but all things said our guys performed really well.”
Lawson said he felt the chance to compete against another squad helped provide the Panthers with a boost during the grueling summer months.

“There’s only so much you can do as a team during the summer,” he said. “You get tired going against (yourself). It gives experience going into fall. If you go against someone you don’t know, you get more looks.”

While the Panthers will be down in terms of numbers this fall given the recent split with Helena High School, Lawson said the competition against Fultondale gave the coaching staff a good idea of who will be starting in the fall.

“We had a few key guys out, but had some backups step up,” he said. “We had a couple guys really step up and show us things. All in all, it was good for us.”

The Panthers will take to the field Aug. 29 to kick off the season against archrival Thompson High at Bobby Hayes Field at Ned Bearden Stadium.