Hundreds of football players from a six-state area traveled to Shiloh Christian High School in Springdale on the hottest weekend on record in 2014 to compete in a 7-on-7 tournament.
“It was indescribable how hot it was,” Player Jace Herman said, “but at least we weren’t in full pads and at least we got a break.”
Players, coaches and parents were all preaching one thing at the 7-on-7 tournament in Springdale on Saturday— stay hydrated.
“It’s a 21 minute segment,” Parent Pat Bergert said, “So it’s pretty rapid fire, and then we get them off the field and we hydrate them again.”
He said the tournament does a great job of having hydration stations around the field. Shiloh Christian head football coach Jeff Conaway said the stations are just one way they are trying to keep their players cool.
“We are trying to provide as much cold liquids, as much shade, as much breaks and cold towels and everything we can do to keep their core temperatures from rising too much,” Conaway said.
The coach said tournament officials even added in extra break time to make sure all of the young football players have time to recuperate.
“We want to be safe, and we want to be healthy,” Conaway said, “This is summer and we need the guys healthy in the fall.”
Shiloh Christian sophomore John Marcus Carruthers said he appreciates his coach having his back.
“Our coaches did a great job keeping us all hydrated,” Carruthers said, “After the game they told us that you can get water anytime, because it was just that hot.”
With long trips to get the tournaments and potentially sweltering temperatures, the question had to be asked why the parents and the players dedicate their summers to play 7-on-7.
“It’s fun, but obviously all these guys are our family too,” Herman said, “Because we come so much closer together doing all this work together, and winning or losing we are together no matter what.”
Walter Wait is also a sophomore at Shiloh Christian and plays alongside Herman and Carruthers.
“It gives us something to do, and it keeps us active,” Wait said, “It keeps us going, and it brings all of us closer together as friends.”
The players said these summer tournaments are a good way to prepare for the upcoming season. Parents in the stands at Champions Stadium Saturday said while the tournaments can get expensive and the traveling can be tiring, they do it for their boys.
“You have your kids for such a short period of time in your life when you’re raising them,” Parent Blaise Koch said, “You just find the resources to do it, and this kind of thing just makes the kids better, so we support it 100%.”
The winning team of Southwest Elite 7-on-7 Showcase was Harrison High School.