Division I 7-on-7 Football State Tournament Preview: Five East Texas Teams Compete in Leander
A hand full of East Texas teams represent the region at this weekend's Division I 7-on-7 state tournament.
John Tyler, Longview, Lufkin, Tyler Lee, and Whitehouse make the trip to Southwest Williamson County Regional Park in Leander for the two-day event, which starts at 8 a.m. Friday and concludes Saturday afternoon.
The 64-team tournament includes 16 pools. The top two teams in each pool advance to Friday's championship bracket, while the bottom two go to the consolation bracket. The tournament website -- www.txstate7on7.com -- has a full schedule.
TheOldCoach.com’s Matt Stepp, one of the state’s top 7-on-7 experts, said Lufkin and Whitehouse are likely East Texas' top two 7-on-7 teams heading into the Division I state tournament.
Texas Tech-committed senior quarterback Patrick Mahomes and a bevy of proven receivers -- including seniors Jaylon Dews, Jake Parker, and Coleman Patterson -- make Whitehouse a formidable opponent, Stepp said.
"With Whitehouse, in 7-on-7, if you've got a quarterback that's half the battle. Generally speaking, teams that have good quarterbacks are always gonna perform well," Stepp said. "Throw in the fact that Whitehouse has capable receivers and a defense that's better in the secondary than they probably have ever had. The only concern for Whitehouse is their pool. It's pretty tough. They're not gonna be able to waltz through that pool."
Plano West and Weslaco are both quality teams that Whitehouse must face in Pool I, which is also home to Cypress Ranch. (Full pool matchups listed below.)
Speaking of tough pools, Stepp considers Lufkin's -- Pool D with Arlington Lamar, Cedar Hill, and Katy -- the Division I bracket's "Pool of Death."
That said, Lufkin has something very few teams have even at the D-I 7-on-7 level: three college-caliber receivers in Texas A&M-bound senior Jamal Jeffery and FBS-caliber juniors KeKe Coutee and Terry Mark. Junior quarterback Trey Cumbie looked sharp throwing to that trio in Lufkin's 3-0 performance at the Tyler state qualifier tournament June 15 at Lindsey Park.
"They're in the toughest pool of the tournament. Katy, the name is all you need to say. Cedar Hill is gonna be one of the few teams that can match up athletically with Lufkin. (Arlington) Lamar is probably the most consistent 7-on-7 team in the Metroplex. They're the only team that's been to the state tournament every single year," Stepp said. "If I'm picking one pool to watch, I'm picking Pool B. All the games in that pool are gonna be really entertaining."
Longview is a team well-equipped to advance beyond pool play and be a tough out in Saturday's championship bracket, but nobody knows which version of Longview to expect.
With 6-foot-4 Texas-bound receiver Dorian Leonard, 6-foot-5 Jordan Whitaker, and several other dangerous offensive weapons -- including junior tailback JaMycal Hasty, who already has four BCS-level offers -- for junior quarterback Dezmond Chumley to throw to, Longview at first glance seems a safe pick to get out of its pool. There's also a pair of Division I-caliber safeties in Stephan Maxey and Travin Howard that opposing offenses must deal with.
The Lobos looked great in their 4-0 run through the Tyler state qualifier tournament on June 15 at Lindsey Park, but they weren't much better than .500 in league play at Lobo Stadium during June against Tatum, Pine Tree, White Oak, and Gladewater.
"I think Longview could make some noise. It depends on which Longview shows up," Stepp said. "If Longview is engaged and focused, they could be a team that makes some noise. I think they could be feast or famine. They could be 3-0 or 0-3. Longview's pool has potentially three D-I quarterbacks."
The Lobos face Purdue-committed David Blough of Carrollton Creekview, Rice-bound Cole Thomas of Katy Cinco Ranch, and San Antonio O'Connor's Zach Galindo in Pool O.
Howard believes Lobo fans shouldn't worry about Longview showing up ready.
"I think we're prepared," Howard said. "I think we're gonna do pretty good there."
John Tyler and Tyler Lee each face pretty stiff competition in their respective pools.
The Lions, who will show several new pieces of their rebuilt offense to the rest of the state for the first time, meet Lewisville Hebron, Houston Lamar, and Midlothian in Pool F. John Tyler's secondary -- led by senior safeties Terry Ausborne and Greg Johnson and junior cornerback Isaac Warren -- could come up big this weekend.
Lee faces the state's largest high school, Plano East, in Pool P, along with perennial power DeSoto and Cypress Falls. Lee will an underdog to make it out of pool play.
John Tyler and Lee each have new quarterbacks facing statewide competition for the first time. JT junior Geovari McCollister was great in the Lions' spring game, while Lee's Trevor Carr looked solid in leading the Red Raiders to a state tournament berth at the June 15 SQT in Tyler.
Division I 7-on-7 Football State Tournament
Southwest Williamson County Regional Park, Leander
- Arlington Seguin
- El Paso Coronado
- Houston Stratford
- Lake Travis
- Arlington Bowie
- Spring Westfield
- Jersey Village
- Mesquite Horn
- San Angelo Central
- Arlington Lamar
- Cedar Hill
- Rosenberg Terry
- Lewisville Hebron
- Houston Lamar
- John Tyler
- College Station A&M Consolidated
- Abilene Cooper
- Cypress Fairbanks
- Justin Northwest
- Pflugerville Hendrickson
- San Antonio Johnson
- Southlake Carroll
- Cypress Ranch
- Plano West
- El Paso Montwood
- Frisco Centennial
- Port Arthur Memorial
- Pasadena Memorial
- Mission Sharyland
- Austin Bowie
- Houston Reagan
- Lubbock Monterrey
- Mesquite Poteet
- Pearland Dawson
- Round Rock Westwood
- Houston Langham Creek
- The Woodlands
- West Mesquite
- Carrollton Creekview
- Katy Cinco Ranch
- San Antonio O’Connor
- Cypress Falls
- Plano East
- Tyler Lee