By Charles Bryce
Six teams from West Texas will be competing at the 2019 Texas State 7on7 Championships in College Station this weekend.
The Ozona Lions have the distinction of being a first-time qualifier.
San Angelo Central, Ballinger, Brady, Sonora and Eldorado have all been there before.
Ozona is in Division III, and the Lions are in Pool D with Flatonia, Hearne and Palmer.
Pool play for Division III begins Thursday. Depending on how they fare in their pools, teams will either advance to the consolation bracket or championship bracket on Friday.
The top two teams in each pool will advance to the championship bracket, while the third- and fourth-place squads will be in the consolation bracket.
Ozona qualified by reaching the semifinals at the Sonora state qualifier tournament. Now the Lions are ready to see what kind of noise they can make in College Station.
"I just know that they're all real excited and they all want to go out there and compete and prove themselves," Ozona's 7on7 coach Marcus Perez said. "We improved a lot the past two weeks and we made it to the semifinals over there in Sonora and played pretty well in the semifinal game (against Harper)."
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By Joey D. Richards, Abilene Reporter-News
The football skill players – quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs – get to do the fun, flashy stuff like 7-on-7 during the summer. They even get all kinds of cool goodies at the state 7-on-7 tournament in College Station.
But the big offensive and defensive linemen, what do they get? Well, other than running and lifting during the summer, they get to compete in the State LineMAN Challenge doing what else – running, lifting and throwing heavy things around.
That's OK with Khalil Spivey, who will be a senior offensive guard at Abilene High in the fall.
"This is all the stuff that matters," said Spivey, who competed with his Eagles teammates at the sixth annual State LineMAN Challenge on Saturday at Hardin-Simmons' Shelton Stadium. "Nothing can really happen without the O-line and D-line getting things started. They get to have their fun, and we get to have our fun. Ours really matters in the end, because they can't do it without us."
Sure, the skill guys get to have a lot of fun throwing and catching the ball during the weekly 7-on-7 leagues and state qualifying tournaments. But Spivey said the wins and losses on Friday night start with the work the big guys up front put in during the summer.
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