DALLAS -- In the 14 years since 7-on-7 football was approved for Texas public schools, popularity has grown dramatically. Even schools that don’t throw much during the fall find a way to succeed in the all-pass summer game.
An example is Arlington Martin, one of six area schools competing in the Red Bull Game Breakers National Finals on Friday and Saturday at SMU.
“The great thing about 7-on-7, yes, kids can improve individually,’’ said Martin coach Bob Wager, “but they also work together as a team, building a bond.’’
Martin, the winner of the Fort Worth qualifying tournament, will be joined in the 23-team field by Dallas qualifier champion Highland Park along with Aledo, North Richland Hills Richland, West Mesquite and Arlington Seguin.
Double-elimination play begins at 3 p.m. Friday at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Play resumes at 7 p.m. Saturday, culminating in the crowning of a champion.
In addition to the contingent from Dallas-Fort Worth, seven more Texas teams representing the areas of Houston, Austin and San Antonio will be joined by other qualifiers from Oklahoma, Colorado, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Florida.
The popularity of 7-on-7 football has given rise to more events. At the same time the Red Bull Game Breakers Finals will be contested, a Texas state tournament will be going on 185 miles to the south in College Station.
Martin qualified for both and had its pick.
“Both tournaments are great and it’s good that teams have an option,’’ Wager said. “We left it up
to our kids. It was a pretty one-sided vote. For us, Dallas is close. Our kids can sleep in their own beds. They like playing close to home. And there’s no charge to play.
“One of the things we enjoy in the Red Bull competition is the rule changes. Being able to rush the quarterback on third down, that allows us to get one more player involved. That’s always a good thing.’’