Archive for Wednesday, June 26, 2002

THS slate full in offseason

June 26, 2002

Tonganoxie High School didn't win the Basehor-Linwood 7-on-7 Tournament on Saturday.

But Chieftain coach Mark Elston isn't overly concerned about scores at least not yet.

Fast-forward to September, and that will be a different story, but the 7-on-7 format doesn't include lineman, and teams have the option of not snapping the ball. Instead, the quarterback simply drops back and passes. Tonganoxie does snap the ball in the offseason scrimmages, which can be a disadvantage.

Still, the format provides players with repetitions, and Elston has seen progress in his team especially in the secondary and in the linebacker corps. The Chieftains began competing in 7-on-7 on Saturdays in Basehor nearly a month ago.

"We've gotten everybody some time," Elston said. "They've improved dramatically from week one to here recently."

Although some teams gear their offenses toward the 7-on-7 format, Elston is content to run plays that will be utilized against a full team in the fall.

"We run things you'd run when lineman are breathing down your throat."

Blitz or no blitz, Elston has been encouraged by another offseason activity weightlifting. The Chieftains have been averaging roughly 35 players in the weight room daily, which is an increase from last year. Of 71 players who showed interest in playing this fall, 50 are working out at different times in the weight room.

"The group we have now has really been dedicated," Elston said. "We've shaken a few out of the nest, which is fine."

The Chieftains have more offseason activity coming up.

A camp July 22-27 will end with a lift-a-thon and 7-on-7 tournament. The team was supposed to play McLouth in 7-on-7 in the upcoming weeks as well, but the Bulldogs are without a coach, as Ballard Patterson resigned earlier this month.

Tonganoxie, meanwhile, is preparing for its season opener Sept. 6 against Wamego.

Elston has been pleased with the summer activity and the numbers he has.

But, like any coach, he always welcomes more.

"With all these people moving into Cabela's, I hope they have 13- to 17-year-olds who can help us out," Elston said.

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