Sylacauga's Colton Richardson hauls in a pass during the camp Tuesday.
SYLACAUGA — The Sylacauga Aggies and the B.B. Comer Tigers hosted a 7-on-7 passing camp Tuesday afternoon at the Aggies practice facility.
The camp included some of the top teams in the state like Dadeville and Handley, as well as up-and-coming teams such as Winterboro, Horseshoe Bend and Fayetteville.
Sylacauga head coach Matt Griffith was pleased with the outcome of the passing camp.
“I didn’t expect so many people to come out here and actually watch this,” Griffith said. “We had seven teams come in and this place was packed. This is the first time that we have been able to do something like this here and it was great. We looked around and saw all those kids and said ‘Look at how many kids are busy doing some thing and not out getting in trouble.’ We were very pleased with the turn out.”
The Aggies went 3-1 in the camp, which included wins over Dadeville and B.B. Comer. Sylacauga’s only loss of the day came to Handley.
Griffith was pleased with some of things he saw, but he feels like his team has a long way to go.
“We went 3-1 on varsity and the B-team tied twice,” Griffith said. “We have a long way to go working past the heat and a long way to go with our young kids. We have some younger kids that are going to have to step up and spell some of our older kids in order for us to be successful this year.”
One of things that Griffith was pleased about happened before the games even started.
“I have to thank coach (Anthony) Jacks at Comer, we really did this together,” Griffith said. “We provided the facilities and coach Jacks called the schools. We came together and put together a round robin tournament and it was great. One of the best things I saw was watching a Sylacauga kid, Comer kid, a Winterboro kid, a Fayetteville kid, a Dadeville kid and a Handley kid hold hands and pray right before we started this thing. I am going to tell you something that is what it was about, that was one of the best things that I saw.”
The Winterboro Bulldogs overall had a successful day at the passing camp. The Bulldogs went 3-0-1, which included wins over Fayetteville and Dadeville.
“Today was a very good day for us,” Winterboro assistant coach Sheroderick Smith said. “We were missing six guys to a football camp; we got a lot work in with our younger guys. Our linebackers looked pretty good today; we worked some guys in some new places. Our secondary didn’t look bad, we had some chances due to a passing camp that we had a couple weeks ago. We got some big wins and of course it is 7-on-7, but we got one huge win over Dadeville, which was real good for our young players. They are a well-coached team; they are usually ranked year in and year out. They are an eight, nine or 10 win team each year. I think we got the most out of this 7-on-7 today.”
One of the bright spots for the Bulldogs was quarterback Taylor Garrett. The Bulldogs showed of the ability to make big plays down the field.
“Taylor Garrett in some ways is a better quarterback than Josh (Taylor),” Smith said. “Taylor Garrett is a true pocket passer. This year he stepped up and said that he is finally going to accept the role of what I know that I can do best. He only had one bad game today, but he looked pretty good for the rest of the games. Once we get the constant leadership from him, Taylor Garrett is going to be a player. It showed today and I am excited. He is also our free safety and he probably had two picks per game that we played except for the last one game. He is doing some great things for us. He is a great athlete.”
Winterboro offensive coordinator Brandon Brown was impressed the team won its first three games.
“I’m surprised how we won,” he said. “We looked comfortable out there. We don’t really think about the win/loss aspect of a 7-on-7, but we want to get better and more comfortable throwing the football because we didn’t do a lot of it last year. This allows you to step outside of your comfort zone and play somebody you don’t know a lot about. It forces you to come out and play with no scouting. That’s the part I like about it.”
B.B. Comer finished the day 2-1-1, beating Horseshoe Bend and Fayetteville, tying Dadeville and losing to Sylacauga.
“I’m pleased with what we did,” Jacks said. “But I’m not satisfied. We still have to get better. We’re by no means there. It was nice to get some confidence, so we have to take this and improve.”
Senior Corey Bradford said he liked playing against other teams.
“It feels good,” Bradford said. “We’re seeing some competition. In practice sometimes you get tired of playing each other, and we wanted to see how much we’ve come along. We want to get better and see where we’re at as a team.”
Bradford said it was fun playing Horseshoe Bend, as the two teams will play a jamboree Aug. 18.
Jacks said his team hasn’t gotten together to throw a lot during practices, so Tuesday was a chance to do that. He said his receivers will have to do better when the season starts.
“We had way too many drops,” Jacks said. “I think it was a little bit of nerves. But we’re not concerned with winning these games. We just want to run our stuff.”
Fayetteville struggled throughout the day, falling to Comer, Winterboro and Sylacauga, but the Wolves managed to tie Dadeville.
“It’s good work getting the kids out here,” said Fayetteville head coach Chris Sherbert. “We’ve had some opportunities. I’ve been pleased with the guys getting open and my quarterback’s reads for the most part.”
Senior Aaron Parrett said his team is trying to improve after finishing 1-9 last year. Tuesday allowed Parrett and the Wolves to see how they match up.
“We’re running the plays and getting better at them,” Parrett said. “You get to interact with other players and see how they are.”
Sherbert said the receiving aspect of the game is where the Wolves need the most work.
“We’re dropping the football a bit more than I want to,” he said. “That’s what’s good about these. They can throw all day long in practice, but when they get in competition against other teams you can see where some of them need a little more work. We definitely need more work on the fundamentals, basically catching the football.”
Sherbert said not performing well at the camp can have a negative effect on the team.
“The kids don’t feel like they’ve been successful,” he said. “If you come out here and you don’t really show up and do well, then you have to deal with the mental side of that. But it’s better for them to compete now, see where we’ve got to work on, and move on. We don’t worry about the score. The No. 1 thing is to get out here and do a little work.”
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