Passing tourney more than wins

Passing tourney more than wins

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Passing tourney more than wins

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MURFREESBORO

Riverdale finished up a week-and-a-half of 7-on-7 competitions Tuesday afternoon by winning its own tournament.

More importantly, the Warriors’ skilled players took a giant step toward being ready for the first day in pads, which is just 12 days away. And that means more to Riverdale football coach than any passing league tournament title.

“We install our offense,” Riverdale coach Ron Aydelott said. “We run (in passing leagues) what we run. We compete both offensively and defensively.

“And the kids work themselves into shape and they don’t even know it. You don’t have to go out there and tell them to run laps, sprints and agilities. They are out there playing hard, and they are getting in shape. And it’s game shape.”

Riverdale edged Mt. Juliet 14-7 in the final. Tight end Josh Hatfield reeled in one pass for a touchdown. Mariko Odom caught the Warriors’ second touchdown.

The tournament, which was sponsored by Bojangle’s Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits, included 12 teams. Both Oakland and Smyrna participated in the event. Riverdale also competed in tournaments in Cookeville and in Dalton, Ga.

Odom said winning the school’s own tournament was a matter of pride.

“I felt like we couldn’t lose,” Odom said. “It’s our home field. We had to keep competing. When we lose here, an opponent could feel like they could come back and win any time they want to.”

Riverdale had to defeat Pope John Paul II in overtime to reach the finals. Both Oakland and Smyrna were eliminated prior to the semifinals.

Oakland fell to Mt. Juliet to end its tourney. Riverdale beat Smyrna.

Oakland coach Thomas McDaniel said his team does get a lot accomplished to make the 7-on-7 events worthwhile. Oakland attended MTSU’s passing league on Saturday. The Patriots won the 2011 MTSU tournament.

“There is a lot of things as far as ball skills, both offensively and defensively, that we get out of it,” McDaniel said. “We try to make an emphasis in running our offense. Half the time we are under center, bootleg. That’s because that’s what we do on offense.

“We try to run our offense to give us a chance to read coverages and work on our timing. Defensively, we get to work on different situations, breaking on the ball and dropping some.”

However, McDaniel admitted that it can be easy to lose sight in what he’s trying to accomplish in the heat of a game.

“I think there is more validity to (7-on-7 tournaments) than what people give it sometimes, other than the fact that once you get here with everybody and the competitive juices get flowing you get more worried about winning than practicing,” McDaniel said.

“That’s the one drawback to these 7-on-7s. Once you get into the tournament, everyone wants to win. So you get away from the things you need to be working on.”

Riverdale senior quarterback Dillon Woodruff said the passing league helped improve the team because it raised the Warriors’ level of play.

“It made us compete harder,” Woodruff said. “I think a lot of people stepped up and did a good job learning plays. It let us develop some players.

“We’ve been working with all of this 7-on-7 for the last week. It’s given us a lot of extra practice with our passing before practice (in pads) starts.”

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