KFHS hosts ‘shootout’
Published 9:06 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2013
By William Scott
Special to the News-Herald
Just because the high school football season is months away, that doesn’t mean the players aren’t playing competitively. On Saturday, players from across the Eastern Region gathered at King’s Fork High School to compete in the eighth annual Peanut City Shootout, a 7-on-7 football tournament.
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“It’s a lot of good competition,” King’s Fork coach Joe Jones said. “A lot of teams said they look forward to coming here.”
Twenty-five teams from across the Eastern Region attended the Peanut City Shootout. For the first time in this tournament’s history, all four Suffolk high schools fielding football teams — Lakeland, King’s Fork, NSA and Nansemond River — took part in the tournament.
Seven fields were utilized in Saturday’s event, which ended early because of heavy rain.
Oscar Smith and Bishop McNamara were declared Gold Bracket co-champions. The Silver Bracket co-champions were Smithfield and Hermitage.
The top four in the Gold Bracket, which includes Grassfield and Salem, will go to the national tournament hosted in Washington, D.C., in July.
King’s Fork and Nansemond River placed in the quarterfinals of the gold bracket, losing out to Bishop McNamara and Salem, respectively. In the first round of the gold bracket, Lakeland lost to Dinwiddie. Due to player injuries, NSA was not able to participate in the silver bracket.
The Peanut City Shootout started out as a fundraiser for football. Eventually, the event developed into a general athletics fundraiser. The event serves as a way for players to test their abilities in the off season and see what areas need development.
“It’s a chance to showcase your skills, see how far you’ve come in the off season,” Jones said. “It’s nice to do these in the summer, because it leads into summer workouts and see what you need to work on. It’s good for the kids to see where they are as far as skill level and strength.”
Competing in these games also carried no risk for the teams that lost.
“A big thing we try to stress is no matter who wins this thing, we all start 0-and-0 in our first game of the season when we get into the real football,” Jones said.
Seven-on-seven rules are similar to standard football games, with some exceptions. Players wear no helmets or pads. Because of this, ball carriers are touched, not tackled. The field length is only 40 yards with a 10-yard end zone. Each game lasts about 30 minutes.
Two years ago, a lineman challenge was added to the tournament and held on the practice field of King’s Fork. This event allows for each team to have up to six of their linemen compete for individual awards.
Challenges include the bench press, an obstacle course, tire flipping, pro agility and a sled drive. King’s Fork was the top team in the lineman challenge this year, represented by Jerrell Hicks, Marquell Hart, Steffen Bruce, Jaquay Ledbetter, Brandon Babbs and Avery Cutler.
Tristian Kincer from Kempsville High School was the individual overall champion.