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PRATTVILLE DROPS HEART-BREAKER IN FINALS OF FAULKNER 7-ON-7
July 3, 2012By Jimmy White of Prattville High School
PRATTVILLE IMPRESSIVE AT FAULKNER’S 7-ON-7 CAMP
It is doubtful that the 2012 Prattville High Lions’ football team will throw the football 50-60 times per game. However if the Lions need to air it out this fall, they can. Judging by the results of their participation in Faulkner University’s annual 7-on-7 Thursday June 28, the Prattville Lions can put the ball in the air. Prattville has the ability to toss the pigskin around.
Upcoming Lion signal caller sophomore to-be Kalen Whitlow threw for 1,069 yards in eight 20 minutes (actually four were 22 minutes in the playoff for the tournament championship) at Faulkner University’s annual 7-on-7 Camp.
For those not familiar with 7-on-7 games—it is drills that the Alabama High School Athletic Associating allows during the summer workout periods. There is no contact, and the player’s only equipment is his helmet. The players are in shorts, a T-shirt and cleats.
There are seven players on offensive team and seven on defensive team. The offense has a quarterback and six receivers. The quarterback has four seconds to get rid of the football; there is no running for yardage by the quarterback or running backs. It is strictly drills to hone the passing and receiving skills for the offensive team.
The defensive teamed also has seven players consisting of linebackers and defensive backs. The 7-on-7 camps are great tools for honing the skill of defensive backs as well as linebackers learning to cover receivers out of the backfield.
It is a great tool for quarterbacks and receivers to learn routes, and throw the football quickly.
After a player catches the football he is down with a one hand touch. Scoring is a tad different than regular football. A touchdown is six points, point after is one point, except in the playoffs for a tournament champion, the offense can go for 2 points from the ten yard line.
Defensive players earn points by preventing a score, two points; a pass interception is three points; the field is 40 yards, with a first down earned after 15 yards, with only three downs rather than four.
The popularity of 7-0n-7 camps after its origin has created interest thru out the nation and numerous camps are spread over the entire country. A lot of the credit of the success of the 7-on-7 camps goes to former Hoover High School coach Rush Probst with their popularity in the Southeastern states. The Southeastern National Select 7-on-7 Championship will be held at Hoover High School July 26-28. Daphne High School won the 2011 championship defeating Prattville in the championship game, 10-8.
Prattville will return to the Hoover tournament this summer.
Prattville began the tournament early Thursday morning playing Dothan High School. The Lions defeated Dothan, and then took it on the chin during the next two games falling to Meridian, Mississippi and Benjamin Russell in what head coach Chad Anderson called “lackluster” performances.
The Lions bounced back and defeated Greenville in the final game of pool play. The Lions won a tight battle 18-15 coming from behind with two minutes left as Whitlow connected with Stanley Mays on a 6-yard aerial with less than a minute to play.
Prattville finished pool play with a 2-2 record. Meridian won the pool play bringing up a much needed break for lunch. Faulkner Head football coach and Athletic Director Brent Barker and his staff served up hot dogs, chips and drinks during the break for lunch.
Following the break the championship series began with a one and done elimination tournament.
Prattville took on Kinston High School from South Alabama in the first round. Prattville defeated the Bulldogs rather handily building up an early 10-0 lead and stretching it to 20-3 with 2 minutes left.
Whitlow had his best performance hitting 12 of 15 for 154 yards, two touchdowns and two extra points.
The Lions then faced Greenville for the second time. Again Prattville jumped to an early lead with two outstanding defensive plays on the first series. Joseph Anderson, and Jacob Blalock, made incredible plays, breaking up Tiger aerials.
Greenville scarped back knotting the game at 8-all with ten minutes left, and then forced a stop on three incomplete Whitlow passes for a 10-8 lead.
Prattville’s defense then made another stop as Walter Steele intercepted a pass on a tip for an 11-10 Prattville lead.
Whitlow then led the Lions down field for another score hitting Stanley Mays with his second six pointer of the game as the Lions escaped with a 17-10 win
With the victory the highly anticipated rematch with the Meridian Wildcats was on tap. The Cats are led by sophomore to be quarterback Jamar Smith (6-2-200, who already has an scholarship offer from Ole Miss and is the son of former University of Alabama standout lineman Kenny Smith), and he is the real deal.
The Lions’ performance against Meridian in the first match of pool play was less than something to write home about. Kendrick Beasley picked Smith on the Cats first possession for a 3-0 Prattville lead.
On second down Whitlow found Cameron Woods open for an apparent touchdown behind the Cats’ secondary, but Woods couldn’t hang on. Meridian got 2 points for a stop. After that it was all downhill for the Lions.
Smith was 12 for 23 for 202 yards three touchdowns en route to a 27-11 pasting.
In the championship semifinal game, The Wildcats went on offense first and Smith quickly took the Cats to a score. However the extra point attempt was knocked down by Walter Steele.
Looking quite poised, certainly for a sophomore-to-be, Whitlow fired a 40-yard bomb to the fleet Stanley Mays to knot the game at 6-all.
The Lions defensive backfield then flustered Smith and he could only get off two passes off, one good for five yards. Two points for the Lions' defense and an 8-6 lead.
Whitlow had the hot hand now and hit three straight passes, one to Clayton Strong, one to Denzel Jones a 17 yarder for a TD. He then hit Kamryn Pettway coming out of the backfield for two points and a 16-6 lead.
Smith quickly retaliated with a 12-yard strike to trim the lead to 16-12. Steele again knocked down the try for 2-points.
Prattville sputtered at the 12-yard line despite a first down toss to Kinsley Hammons. It is now 16-14.
Smith came back tossing three straight completions for a 20-12 lead. Again the try for 2-points failed as Smith’s aerial sailed 2-3 feet over the head of his receiver.
Prattville took the next possession with Whitlow finding Stanley Mays with a 30-yard toss and a first down at the ten. He then hit Pettway out of the backfield for a 22-20 lead with 2:06 left.
Smith threw two incompletion and on third down a sure touchdown was dropped in the end zone. Prattville 24 Meridian 20 with 30 seconds left.
The Lions then ran out of the clock.
This set up the championship game with a rematch with the Dothan Tigers.
Dothan’s senior quarter D. D. Thomas (5-11-200) hit three straight completions on their first possession. However, attempting to hit his wide receiver Adrian Kirkland in the end zone, Thomas was picked by P. J. Parks, Prattville led 3-0.
The Lions made it 10-0 with Whitlow hitting Cameron Woods with a 19-yard TD toss. Whitlock had hit Seth Knotts with a 30-yard aerial and first down at the 10. He then found Anthony Lykes for a 2-point conversion and an 11-0 lead.
Thomas then led Dothan to a score with a conversational pass interference call assessed on Prattville after the Lions had made an apparent stop at the 10 yard line. The ball sailed 3-4 foot over the receiver’s head before any contact. Thomas took advantage of the call and found Kirkland with a score trimming the lead to 11-8 with the 2 points play.
Whitlow teamed up with Stanley Mays for another bomb and a 16-10 lead. Dothan answered the Prattville score.
On third down at the 22, Thomas appeared to go over the 4 second limit, but the official ruled he did not. Thomas hit Kirkland with another TD toss and an 18-16 lead.
Whitlow led the Lions down field with his best series of the afternoon. The young sophomore connected on six straight passes, hitting Seth Knotts, Cameron Strong (twice), and Denzel Jones three straight , one from the one yard line for a TD, and again from the ten for 2 points and a 23-18 lead.
Dothan came storming back with Thomas hitting three straight and the final a 4-yard TD toss to Kirkland for a 24-23 lead.
With a minute and ten seconds to play Whitlow against showed poise leading the Lions to the six yard line with three seconds to play. His attempt to hit Mays out of the backfield fell short as Dothan’s defensive back got his hand in front to knock the ball down and preserve the win and the championship for the Tigers.
Whitlow hit Kinsley Hammons twice on the drive, one for ten yards, and one for 14 yards. He then hit Denzell Jones to the six yard line.
Despite the tough defeat, the Prattville coaching staff had to be pleased with the rapidly improving young football team.