METAIRIE – For a pair of Catholic League teams taking part in Alvin Kamara’s Second Annual Youth Football Camp on Saturday at the New Orleans Saints’ training facility, the 7 on 7 tournament provided plenty of football as well as camaraderie.
“It’s always a pleasure and an honor to be selected and invited by a pillar of the community in Alvin Kamara,” said Carter Sheridan, an assistant coach at St. Augustine. “He was drafted here by our team and he has been ingrained into our New Orleans culture and he’s embraced it and loves it. Anytime we are able to expose these kids to a positivity and create environments as this one, it’s always a plus. They need as much positive reinforcement as possible.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to get cohesion and chemistry with your coverages, defensively and offensively in your passing concepts. It’s not always realistic, but it’s something that helps you galvanize as a team as far as camaraderie goes. It’s always a plus to get your offense on point with your pass game and your defense with their coverage concepts.”
Holy Cross coach Guy LeCompte echoed Sheridan’s sentiments.
“I think it’s good,” said LeCompte. “I think it’s a great thing for the community. The way he (Kamara) publicized it, it was very exciting and fun for the kids.
“This is about the only opportunity you can get 7 on 7 and get some type of competition. We always want to compete and we always want to play in these deals. A lot of coaches know each other and a lot do this every year. It’s good competition and it’s good for the kids.”
Along with the two Catholic League teams, other schools who participated in the 7 on 7 tournament included Karr, Terrebonne, Holy Cross, Helen Cox, McDonogh 35, Warren Easton, Kennedy, Ehret, Newman and St. James.
All of the teams were invited by Kamara.
“I handpicked all of the teams. There were no slouches. Easton came out on top and Terrebonne was great. All the teams were good. It was good competition all day,” Kamara said.
Terrebonne was added to the field when East St. John dropped out and the Tigers made it all the way to the championship game of the bracket portion of the tournament. Each team played two games in pool play before advancing to the single-elimination tourney bracket.
Holy Cross lost both of its games in pool play before knocking off Karr 28-23 in the Tigers’ bracket opener. The Tigers were later eliminated by Easton, the eventual champion.
Following pool play, the Purple Knights were eliminated by in their first bracket game by Terrebonne.
Summer 7 on 7 tournaments, said LeCompte, allows teams to get as close to game competition as possible with summer workout restrictions.
“It’s part of what you do daily in practice,” the Holy Cross coach said of 7 on 7 work. “It’s the only competition that’s available for us to do within the rules in the summertime. For the offensive passing game and defensive coverages, it’s the only work you can get.”
Like Holy Cross, St. Augustine will participate in other 7 on 7 tournaments during the early part of the summer.
“This is a time when a lot of teams take advantage of these camps,” said Sheridan. “A lot of colleges have them. They use that as an opportunity to get students on their campus, especially kids they are recruiting.
“We will take part in several in the month of June, maybe one or two in July, and then we shut it down and kind of focus on 11 on 11 football and get ready for the season.”