Eagles to take part in 7-on-7 games

Junior high Eagles practiced on Monday.

The Huntsville Eagles football team will take part in a passing tournament on Thursday, July 11, in Branson, Mo.

The Eagles will play in the 7-on-7 tournament at Branson High School. Later this summer, Huntsville will take part in a team camp in Branson on July 31 and Aug. 1, according to head coach Matt Williams.

The Eagles open play at 3 p.m. Thursday against Butler, Mo., then will face Yellville-Summit at 3:30 p.m. Huntsville will play Rogers junior varsity at 4:30, Branson JV at 5 and Houston, Mo., at 6. If they make the finals, those games would begin at 7 p.m.

Williams said he plans to take about 30 players to Branson. Linemen do not participate in the 7-on-7 events.

“Hopefully we’re just looking to see where we are right now and just get better,” Williams said. “We have a new defensive coordinator, so we’re just kind of getting used to him, calling plays and seeing how the kids grasp the defense.

“Offensively, we’re doing the same stuff so our goal’s just to get better and get more comfortable with each other and learn the offense and have fun and get better.”

This year is the first that Williams will serve on the sidelines as head coach. Previous Eagles football coach Randy Barnhill was transferred to the Huntsville High School as its dean of students on a full-time basis earlier this year. Previously, he had been part-time at the high school and as Eagles coach.

Prior to Barnhill’s transfer, Williams was the Eagles defensive coordinator. The team brought in Dan Childress, a former assistant at Gentry and Gravette, earlier this summer to serve as the new defensive coordinator.

Huntsville lost several skill players to graduation last year, including quarterback Sean McCone, running back Levi St. Clair, and receivers Tyler Welch and Cyrus Crow.

Arkansas teams taking part in last year’s Border Battle in Branson were Alma, Bentonville High junior varsity, Bentonville West, Harrison, Huntsville, Mountain Home, Pea Ridge, Rogers Heritage, Rogers High, Rogers High JV, Siloam Springs and Yellville-Summit. Missouri teams were Branson, Catholic, Central, Cuba, Forsyth, Hollister, Houston, Marshfield, Springfield Parkview, Republic, Rolla and Seneca.

Huntsville went 2-2 at last year’s 7-on-7 competition in Branson. The Eagles beat Branson and Central High out of Springfield, Mo.

Huntsville last football season finished 2-8 overall and 0-7 in the 5A-West. Huntsville opened the 2018 season with wins over Gentry and Berryville.

The Eagles will open the regular season on Friday, Sept. 6, at Gentry, then will host Berryville and Elkins in nonconference games. Huntsville will take on Alma, Clarksville, Farmington, Greenbrier, Harrison, Morrilton and Vilonia this season in the 5A-West.

After the state mandated two-week “dead period,” the Eagles began practice again on Monday of this week with a 7-on-7 event in Lincoln. Huntsville also will take part in 7-on-7 tournaments at Lincoln on July 15 and July 22, beginning at 6 p.m.

“First competition of the year,” Williams said of Monday’s event in Lincoln. “Good way to come back after having time off. We did a lot of good things but definitely dusting the cobwebs off. Will have another great chance on Thursday at Branson. They are a great bunch of kids. Eager to learn and compete.”

Daily practice will begin on Monday, Aug. 5.

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