The Junior Chiefs football program will sponsor a two-day event dubbed the Hickory Flat Shootout from June 22-23 at Badger Creek Park. More than 40 teams and 800 athletes in grades 7-12 are signed up for the event, which organizer Jeff Wells would like to see become an annual occurrence.
“There are other passing tournaments going on, but we hope this one is unique,” Wells said. “Sequoyah football has taken part in other 7-on-7 tournaments. We took the good parts of all those tournaments that we have been a part of and tried to put together an event that teams will want to be a part of year after year.”
Wells said it took several months to put it all together, but he thinks that players, coaches and fans will all be pleased with the experience.
As the 7-on-7 title suggests, each team will be composed of seven players on offense and seven on defense. Players wear only helmets and mouthpieces, so no tackling is allowed.
The field is 40 yards long, and teams can get a first down on the 20-yard line.
“Basically, it is a structured event where you get six points if you score a touchdown,” Wells said. “You can get one extra point if you get it from the 5 (-yard line) and two points if you go for it from the 10. Each game is 20 minutes in length.”
Teams are broken down into groupings of varsity, junior varsity, freshman, eighth-grade and seventh-grade players. Each division will have its own tournament, and at the end of the day, a champion will be awarded a trophy.
Varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams will compete June 22 beginning at 9 a.m. The eighth-grade and seventh-grade tournaments will take place the following day, starting at 1 p.m.
Teams are guaranteed at least six games in a round-robin format.
Five of the six high schools in Cherokee County have at least one team registered for the event, which is the largest of its kind in the area. River Ridge is the only local team not participating.
Sequoyah will have at least one team in each of the divisions.
“We didn’t know how many teams would be interested,” Wells said. “It morphed to over 40. I don’t have the exact count, but we closed that out. We want to be able to have a tournament that helps the young athletes of not only Cherokee County, but of the surrounding area.”
The event is open to the public and free of charge.
“There is no admission to come and watch the games, other than to just come out and support the athletes of Cherokee County and the surrounding area,” Wells said.