SCC airs out 7-on-7 summer tradition; ESJH rejoins league for ‘great competition’

Published 12:02 am Saturday, June 23, 2018

LAPLACE — There’s no keeping score during 7-on-7 football games, a summer tradition that has become a staple at St. Charles Catholic High School.

Athletes from around the region congregate at SCC on Wednesday mornings, wearing helmets but no protective pads. Three 30-minute games move at a hasty speed on a smaller field as teams build chemistry in offensive and defensive operations.

Scores are not officially kept, but the play is intense, as players like SCC’s Cameron Fabre, seen above, work to perfect techniques before the fall season.

Without linemen and tackling, the focus is on evaluating personnel in advance of the fall season.

St. Charles Catholic football coach Frank Monica coordinates the 7-on-7 summer league. While the system has seen a new wave of popularity nationwide, SCC was ahead of the curve, first implementing 7-on-7 action approximately 15 years ago.

“The benefit is that you learn your system,” Monica said. “You see who’s competitive and you get a lot of work in against opponents rather than going against your own team all the time. It motivates your personnel through the summer.”

Monica said the goal is not to win, but to test offensive and defensive systems on the field.

“You can keep score internally, but at the end of the day, you know if you played well or if you didn’t,” Monica said.

“Hopefully, the kids get better because they’re facing a variety of competition.”

Coach Frank Monica stalks the sideline this week.

In some aspects, 7-on-7 simulates prep season games. Quarterbacks must learn to think fast when given 3.8 seconds to throw the ball.

According to Monica, the summer league was once so large it outgrew facilities, leading to a cap limit on eight teams.

This year, Monica permitted nine teams to join. Lutcher High School entered the league for the first time, and East St. John High returned after a long absence.

Other competitors include St. Amant, John Ehret, Newman, Jesuit, East Ascension and McDonogh 35 High.

New ESJH football coach Brandon Brown said joining is a step toward rebuilding a winning culture.

“Being from here, I know the tradition,” Brown said. “Teaching our guys to go out and work is part of that culture change. There was no question on whether to rejoin, because it’s one of the best places you can go for great competition.”

It’s up to each player to control his energy, effort and attitude, according to Brown, who said it’s necessary to set the standard for a disciplined program over the summer.

Monica has similar hopes for the Comets, who have displayed a lot of speed on both sides of the ball.

“We’ve got to get better in every way,” Monica said. “We were not happy with our spring. We saw a lack of competitive spirit, and right now we’re looking for that ‘it’ factor. I’ve noticed who’s stepping up and who’s stepping down.”

According to Monica, athletes to keep an eye on include quarterback Justin Dumas, Jacob Ganote, Cameron Fabre, Sutton Bourgeois, Kobe Burke and Taylor Miller.

Nick Lorio and Bryce Authement are shining on the defensive side, Monica said.