By William Bowman
The Daily Item
ALMEDIA -- It took about two plays, when Lewisburg came out of the huddle with four wide receivers, to figure out what happens in the summer on the high school football field isn't always what happens in the fall.
As much as the summer 7-on-7 passing scrimmages are about Xs and Os, they are just as much about getting together as a team, finding leaders on both sides of the ball and working out the kinks.
A dozen area teams, including seven from the Valley, took part in the Central Columbia 7-on-7 Tournament on Saturday morning. For some, like Lewisburg and Shikellamy, it was a chance for new coaches to get a look at their skill players. For others, like Southern Columbia, Lewisburg and Danville, it was a chance to see new faces in key spots.
But it was easy to see teams weren't doing exactly what they will be doing on Fridays in the fall. Three fields close to one another Saturday morning featured games with Danville playing Lewisburg, Milton meeting Bloomsburg and Southern taking on Warrior Run. Of those four squads, Wing-T teams like Danville, Lewisburg, Milton and Southern probably threw the ball more in one scrimmage than they will in a month of Friday nights.
"It's not really that realistic, but it does give your quarterback some looks," said new Lewisburg coach Jeremy Winn, who is looking to replace starter Cam Cassels under center. "We were at Bucknell's 7-on-7 and we were inside the one and we had to throw the ball four times. It's not what the makeup of our team will be, but it's good for the quarterbacks and the timing of the pass game."
Among the Valley teams participating Saturday were Lewisburg, Warrior Run, Southern Columbia, Milton, Danville, Shamokin and Shikellamy, which debuted under coach Todd Tilford.
All 12 teams played four games starting at 9 a.m. Most teams were far from full strength. Lewisburg was missing two-time all-state linebacker Brandon Smith while Danville was without its entire starting secondary.
"It's about getting the guys together, getting them to work and jell," said Danville coach Jim Keiser.
The Ironmen also got a look their expected new quarterback in Weston Baylor, who will have to fill the shoes of Andrew Andreychik, who threw a school-record 53 touchdowns over the past three seasons.
"For us, it's getting Weston a little bit of confidence and working with him, getting some timing with the receivers," said Keiser. "We still have some work to do, though."
Danville will jump right back into today when they load up to go to Harrisburg for another passing tournament before heading to Berwick next weekend
Warrior Run coach Mark Burrows, entering his second season with the Defenders, said his team attends maybe a dozen events like Saturday's throughout the summer. While the timing his skill players gain helps, the experience is way more important.
"It's always nice to see someone other than yourselves and the kids can get some experience," said Burrows. "It's a good opportunity to get the younger kids up against other teams' starters. We are building team camaraderie, finding people who will be our leaders in the fall and keeping them accountable."