Seven-On-Seven Football Catching On

ROCKFORD-Eleven-on-eleven football is what we see from our high school teams in the fall. But in the summer it's a scaled back seven-on-seven game that's gaining popularity with coaches.

It's a little like a pinball game. Receivers and defensive backs flying everywhere, and passes zinging through the air.

"It's a lot of fun, and I think the kids really enjoy it," says Lutheran coach Bruce Bazsali.

There are no linemen. Quarterbacks have four seconds to get rid of the football, or it's considered a sack. And there's no running the ball. A great back like Lutheran's James Robinson is strictly used as a receiver in these games.

Coaches love it.

"It gets us to move. It gets us to recognize defenses. It gets us to get our timing down on patterns and our reads down on patterns," says Bazsalie.

"It's just getting the players a chance to become familiar with the schemes and the routes and coverages," says Harlem coach Jim Morrow. "We can work a lot of fundamentals and get guys a ton of reps, so I think there's a lot of benefits to it."

And even though it's not football season, you'll see some great plays.

Sometimes scores are kept and sometimes they're not. Sometimes the defense earns points for interceptions or knockdowns.

The IHSA allows teams to have 25 practices during the summer, but there's no tackling and no pads allowed…only helmets. So these seven-on-seven games are becoming an increasingly popular way for teams to make the most of those practices. Especially for teams like Lutheran and Harlem that like to throw the ball.

"We've got four or five scheduled," says Morrow. "I think you see a lot more jamborees and a lot more multi-team seven-on-sevens."

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