Heritage players test football skills

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Mike Griebel, Heritage football coach, said the June 21 competition in the Broncos 7-on-7 tournament was a plus for his young players and for his veterans.

“We are going to be a very young team this season. It's kind of fun for an old coach to have a young team,” Griebel said. “We have young players at most of our skill positions, so a chance to match up against other teams in a 7-on-7 tournament like this helps the young players learn their positions.”

The 7-on-7 is an all passing, touch football competition involving backs and receivers and linebackers and defensive backs on the other side of the ball. No one rushes the quarterback but he must get the pass away in five seconds or less or the play is a sack.

Bronco tournament organizers divided the 64-team field into 16 pools of four teams each for round-robin play at Denver Public School's All City Stadium. The winners of the 16 pools advance to the single-elimination tournament June 22 at the Bronco's Dove Valley facility. The tournament champion receives an all-expense trip to the nationals in Cleveland.

“We do a few tournaments like this but we really don't do a lot of 7-on-7 against other teams,” the coach said. “These 7-on-7 tournaments are fine but, at these tournaments, the focus is the score and winning. That is why we prefer to practice as a team so we can coach and work to help our young players grow up and learn their positions. We have talented players but many of them are very green so our goal is to get better each week. One plus for us is we senior leaders on the team and we have veteran players on the offensive and defensive lines.”

The Eagles opened in a tough battle against Alameda. A late touchdown by the Pirates gave Alameda a 17-13 win.

After a short break, Heritage took the field against Mountain Ridge. Again, the Eagles played good at times but, at the final whistle, the Mustangs posted a 14-3 win.

Heritage senior linebacker Andrew Shaffer said competing was helpful.

“A tournament like this teaches me about coverage and to react to different formations,” he said. “It gives me experience on making quick reactions to changing situations when they alter formations and pass routes.”

This will be Shaffer's third season on varsity and he will be expected to be one of the senior team leaders.

“My older brother was a team captain and I want to follow in his footsteps, doing what I can to help us be a winning team,” he said. “Summer football is OK but I am really looking forward to the fall season. I guess that is because football is my favorite sport.”