The high school football season’s start is inching closer and closer, but those that want to get a taste of some local gridiron action sooner rather than later have the opportunity to sink their teeth into the perfect appetizer Saturday at Lakewood High School.
The Cougars and coach Dan Teeter are set to host their 12th annual Cougars Championship Passing Tournament, a 7-on-7 competition that features many local teams and some non-local squads with rosters that feature talented NCAA Division I prospects.
“It’s kind of our last thing for the summer that we can do with the guys (before practices start),” Teeter said. “It’s a good send-off for that.”
Local teams Arlington, Glacier Peak, King’s, Lake Stevens, Mountlake Terrace, Oak Harbor and South Whidbey join host Lakewood at the tournament, giving an early glance at a handful of area teams.
Kennedy Catholic highlights the non-local squads at the event. The Lancers feature Sav’ell Smalls — an outside linebacker prospect ranked fourth overall nationally for the class of 2020 by 247Sports — and Sam Huard — the son of former UW and NFL quarterback Damon Huard. Sam Huard is ranked as the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the country and sixth overall for the class of 2021. Justin Baker, Jabez Tinae and Junior Alexander make up a talented group of skill-position players with D-I offers that surround Huard.
Lincoln — which plays Lake Stevens in the regular season and features the talented trio of high-level recruits Julien Simon, Jaylen Clark and Donovan Clark — is another non-local team to keep an eye one.
“There’s gonna be a lot of college talent here,” Teeter said. “So it’s gonna be great for people locally here that don’t always get to see those teams to come out and get a little preview of them.”
Offensive linemen will have a chance to compete in the tournament’s lineman competition, which features individual and team events such as a bench press competition, tug-of-war and a 4×100 relay.
“That’s something that makes it a little bit unique, too,” Teeter said. “Lots of time linemen get left out at 7-on-7s, but we do stuff for them, too.”
Teeter said that when the tournament started 12 years ago, it had just five teams. That number quickly jumped near 12 the next year and has held strong at 20-plus teams over the years.
Play begins at 9 a.m. with round-robin pool play, with the championship game scheduled for 6 p.m. The 20-team tournament is broken down into five four-team pools, which Teeter puts together by trying to balance the number of larger and smaller schools in each. He said that he also avoids putting teams that will play each other in the regular season in the same pool.
The lineman challenge starts at 10 a.m.
Rules of the tournament
Games are played on a 40-yard field that’s regulation width. Team’s start on the 40-yard line and have three downs to pick up 15 yards. Once teams reach the 10-yard line, they have four downs to score.
Quarterbacks have 4 seconds to throw the ball, and players are down after a one-hand touch.
Offenses are awarded seven points for a touchdown with the option of going for a PAT from the 3-yard line. A successful attempt adds one point and a failed attempt subtracts one.
Defenses are awarded three points interceptions that aren’t returned for TDs.