The Dumas Demons make their second appearance at the Texas state 7-on-7 tournament when they open pool play Thursday at Veterans Park in College Station. [Provided photo]
For the first time since the Texas state 7-on-7 tournament started in 1998, the Amarillo-area will be well represented with three teams making their way to compete at Veterans Park College Station starting Thursday.
Dumas, Childress and Stratford all qualified for the popular summer tournament that grows bigger each season.
Dumas qualified when it hosted own state qualifier in early June, while the Bobcats and Elks each punched a ticket during a Childress state qualifier in late May.
Childress is the veteran of the three Texas Panhandle schools heading to the tournament making its seventh appearance and third since 2018.
“It’s a lot fun and our players enjoy it,” Childress head football coach Jason Sims said. “We get an opportunity to get out of town and build team camaraderie.”
Dumas is making its second trip to the state tournament since 2019. Head coach Aaron Dunnam is a fan of the summer 7-on-7 sessions knowing it gives his players a chance to stay engaged during a slow period.
“It’s a great experience, and it gives us a chance to compete,” Dunnam said. “We know it isn’t the same as 11-man football but it does give us confidence and helps us for the fall.”
This is Stratford’s first time playing at the state tourney. Head football coach Matt Lovorn says his team wasn’t expecting to be heading to College Station, however, after finishing second to Childress, and earning a trip it to College Station, it was an unique experience his players didn’t want to pass up.
“It’s new to us, but it will be a cool experience,” Lovorn said. “It’s an area of the state that the kids don’t get to see much of. We’re looking forward to giving it our best shot.”
What’s most important to these coaches, is getting to play teams from all over Texas. That’s something that doesn’t happen much in 11-man football.
“I think we’re all excited to play teams we don’t see,” Dunnam said. “We’re not close to any of these teams in our division. That gives us some new perspective, so I just hope we go down there and play hard, and give it the best shot we can.”
Lovorn echoed Dunnam’s comments.
“Getting to see some different competition will be fun,” Lovorn said. “We’re not used to it.” This will be great exposure for our program. We get to go out and see teams we’d never thought we’d see. We can also watch teams we’d never thought we’d watch. I can’t wait for our guys to get this experience and compete against the state.”
Dumas will play in a 32-team Division II bracket. The Demons are in Pool F with China Spring,
Hitchcock and Texarkana Pleasant Grove.
The Demons open pool play taking on China Springs at 1:45 p.m. Thursday.
Childress and Stratford will play in the 32-team Division III bracket.
The Bobcats are in Pool A alongside Daingerfield, Flatonia and Palmer. The Elks are in Pool F with Chilton, Corrigan-Camden and East Bernard.
Childress kicks off pool play with Daingerfield at 1 p.m. Thursday. Stratford starts pool play battling East Bernard also at 1 p.m. Thursday. After Thursday’s pools are completed the teams will be put into a single elimination bracket, and will finish on Friday afternoon.
For more information on the Texas state 7-on-7 tournament, please check out https://www.texasfootball.com/
A live broadcast will also be provided at http://TexanLive.com