SPRINGDALE (KFSM) - The high school football season may still be seven weeks away but that didn't stop some of the region's top teams from clashing on the football field this weekend.
The ninth annual Southwest Elite 7-on-7 Showcase wrapped up on Saturday at Shiloh Christian as Bentonville took down defending champion Bixby, 27-18, to win the tournament for the first time since 2011 and the second time in the event's history.
"In 7 on 7, you're put in situations that can occur on a Friday night," Bentonville coach Jody Grant said. "Big, crucial third downs. Big stops that you have to get. Those type of opportunities present themselves often and we answered so that's encouraging for our kids. It's not easy to do and go out in this type of heat and play like we did. Our kids competed in every game against quality competition so we're very excited about this."
The Tigers weren't the only area team that made a run in the 27 team, double elimination tournament as Shiloh Christian and Alma each reached the semifinals.
The host Saints are coming off a trip to the 4A semifinals and had to replace their starting quarterback so events like this one help push a young roster faster than a traditional summer workout.
"It's something that everyone should and needs to take advantage of just because you can see your level of development over these last two days," Shiloh Christian coach Jeff Conaway said. "It's a drastic change from when you begin the tournament to when we end. There's so much growth that takes place so I don't know why teams wouldn't do it."
2016 - Bixby Spartans (Bixby, OK)
2015 - Fayetteville Bulldogs (Fayetteville, AR)
2014 - Harrison Goblins (Harrison, AR)
2013 - Olive Branch Conquistadors (Olive Branch, MS)
2012 - Fayetteville Bulldogs (Fayetteville, AR)
2011 - Bentonville Tigers (Bentonville, AR)
2010 - Olive Branch Conquistadors (Olive Branch, MS)
2009 - Shiloh Christian Saints (Springdale, AR)