One would be hard-pressed to name a “team to beat’’ in the Music City Classic 7-on-7 high school passing tournament which opens today at Vanderbilt.
Nonetheless Hillsboro would have to at least be mentioned somewhere in that category as the Burros take aim on their third championship of 7-on-7 play the past month. The Greg Young-led Burros are among 30 teams entered, including the Nashville and Middle Tennessee area, along with squads from Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois.
Hillsboro has already claimed 7-on-7 championships at MTSU, then last weekend, the Burros won at LaVergne, an event they also captured last year. They go for three in a row at Vanderbilt.
“It’s the type of competition that not only tests your passing skills, but your condition and endurance because of the hot weather,’’ said Scott Blade, whose first Hillsboro team in ‘06 finished as state 4A runner-up, then finished as a state quarterfinalist last year.
“The event also tests your depth and endurance, because you’re looking at 8-9-10 hour days,’’ Blade said. “You get a much clearer picture of your team.’’
The multi-talented Young took over at the midway point last season and helped lead the Burros to another region title.
Blade also mentioned receivers like seniors Eric Gordon and Cory Jordan, who have made lots of catches. “Eric is a DI prospect, and Cory has really come on strong and is getting better each time,’’ Blade said.
Not much notice is paid to the defensive side, until one has a day like the one by DeAndre Davis last week at LaVergne.
“Dee intercepted seven passes that day,’’ Blade said. “Pretty amazing.’’
Nashville-area teams besides Hillsboro include defending DII state champ MBA, DII runner-up Brentwood Academy, 4A state runner-up Maplewood, defending 3A state champ David Lipscomb, CPA Independence, Page, Pope JPII and Ravenwood.
“We’re going in, trying to compete,’’ said MBA coach Daniel McGugin. “We’re not trying to make this any bigger than what it is. This is just a good practice. What’s important is what happens out there on Friday nights in the fall.
“Anything MBA goes into, MBA is going all-out to succeed,’’ McGugin said. “But we realize at the same time, it’s just practice.’’
The Big Red is guided by senior QB Spencer Wise and a host of top receivers.
Pool play begins at 12:30 p.m. today and runs through 9 p.m. Action continues Saturday at 8 a.m., running through the finals which will be about 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Teams are guaranteed at least 11 games, played on a 40-yard field. Play will be on the synthetic turf practice fields at Vanderbilt, behind McGugin Center. Winner earns an invitation to 7-on-7 nationals at Hoover, Ala. July 24-26.