LaFayette football takes part in Auburn 7-on-7 camp, gains experience against bigger schools
Published 10:51 am Saturday, June 26, 2021
AUBURN — The LaFayette football team strapped on its helmets for the first time this summer, taking part in the Auburn University 7-on-7 camp on Thursday.
Along with some local schools, teams from across the southeast took part in the camp, including Pearl River High School, which is from Louisiana and finished 5-2 in 4A a year ago, and Moss Point High School, which finished 6-3 in Mississippi 4A a year ago.
Overall, the Bulldogs finished 2-3 in the games, entering the playoff bracket as the 11 seed. Twenty-four total teams participated in the 7-on-7 camp.
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“These kids did a great job. They competed well,” head coach Juan Williams said. “They did what we asked them to do. We had a great time out here, just getting a chance to really put us in a situation to compete. We got a lot of our young kids valuable time out here, learning things that they wouldn’t have learned sitting at the house. We went up against some great competition. Our kids were learning how to compete with Moss Point, Mississippi. As a coach, you like to see will we compete. We made a play, got the ball back and had a chance, and that’s all you can ask for.”
In LaFayette’s final game of the 7-on-7, which had a 20-minute running clock, LaFayette needed a stop with about a minute left in the game. LaFayette’s Vinay Singh intercepted a Moss Point pass, giving LaFayette a chance to win the game on the last drive, but only had time for one play.
Williams put his team in a tougher bracket than it was originally slated by the Auburn camp directors. LaFayette competed against several 4A-6A teams during the camp, instead of facing some of the 1A-3A teams that were there.
This gave him an opportunity to test his skill players against bigger and more physical teams.
“We still have to get better, but I am encouraged about how different kids are stepping up and performing, who haven’t had the chance to compete yet,” Williams said. “What I mean by that is we have guys that haven’t played football who are really stepping up for us.”
One key player that stepped up according to Williams is Chandler Winston, who played last season but didn’t get a lot of experience. He played tight end and was playing middle and outside linebacker during the camp.
The camp gave quarterbacks Tazarius Towles and AJ Patrick an opportunity to gain experience, as the Bulldogs will have an open quarterback competition heading into the fall. Overall, Williams said he was happy with how the two performed.
“[Patrick] and Towles both had a good outing. We let one play one game and one play the other,” Williams said. “That’s going to be a good problem to have, two different dynamics are going to be competing for that starting spot. Towles had a great first half of the day, and AJ had a great second half of the day.”
While younger players got a chance to face some live competition and gain experience, for the older players the 7-on-7 camp gave them an opportunity to showcase their abilities to the various members of the Auburn coaching staff, which were floating around the camp periodically throughout the day.
“It was amazing. It gave me an opportunity to be bigger and better in the upcoming season of 2A ball,” Singh said. “It showed me spacing, where to sit down routes at and where to keep running routes to. It taught me about spacing on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. I came out here and wanted the chance to get better.”