Most fans think that football season starts in the dog-days of August, when players swelter in triple digit heat for two-a-day practices. However, the quarterbacks and receivers for Anna and Melissa high schools are hard at it in June.
Over the June 15 weekend, both teams advanced through the semifinal round of their respective brackets to earn a spot at the 7-on-7 State Tournament. It is the first time in school history Anna has advanced to State.
The state competition for Anna and Melissa will be held at the Southwest Williamson County Regional Park in Leander on Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13 in Division II.
The Division I 7-on-7 State Tournament will be held Thursday, July 11 and Friday, July 12.
At Saturday’s tournament in Celina, the Coyotes were in a pool with Celina, Bonham, and Pilot Point. They were second in the pool but since Celina had already qualified for the state tournament they got to advance to the semifinal game.
In the semifinal, Anna took on Krum and jumped out to a 20-7 lead at halftime and then scored to start the second half to go up 28-7.
Krum scored two more times to make the score 28-20. Krum had the ball late but ran out of time, and the game wound down at 28-20.
Melissa also won its semi-inal contest, and both teams — Melissa and Anna — agreed not to play the championship game.
The Cardinals are no stranger to success at the 7-on-7 tournament. In 2011, the Cardinals defeated Kinkaid 27-20 in the Division II State Championship. Now both of these local teams will battle 52 other teams for a chance to bring home the title.
Last year, Celina won the DII championship and Princeton — also in the same district as Anna and Melissa — won the consolation championship game.
7-on-7 is not traditional football; there are no pads, helmets or hitting. Rather, it is a passing game on a 45-yard field that is just 160-feet wide.
Offensive plays must be passes, no kicking or punting, and the field is marked at 15-yard intervals with cones — three first downs without a penalty result in a touchdown. There is also no blocking, and the receiver is down when touched by an opposing player.
The quarterback is allowed four seconds to throw the ball. The official timekeeper starts a stopwatch on the snap of the ball from center and stops the watch as soon as the quarterback releases the ball. If the quarterback’s release is under four seconds, the play goes on, but if the timekeeper sees that the clock has exceeded that time he waits until the play is over — the play is not blown dead — then brings the ball back to the original line of scrimmage with loss of down.