By Sam Poe
Friday, July 12, 2013 | 11:07 AM
The Haleyville Lions hosted a 7 on 7 football tournament Thursday. The competition included both the Varsity and Junior Varsity Lions, as well as six other schools. The tournament was cut short Thursday afternoon due to thunderstorms, and Coach Mark Heaton stated the games will not be played on a later date. Because of this, no tournament champion was decided, but all teams were able to gain game experience and face a variety of challenges by the opposing teams.
This fall will be Heaton's second year at HHS. During his first season, he led the Lions to a 7-4 season record with improvements from his team throughout the season. Heaton stated he is looking forward to the upcoming season, after working with the team for spring and summer training and knowing their strengths before the start of the season. The team has worked hard during the offseason, and it has made a big difference on the field. He stated the young men are still working to develop team chemistry, and they are concentrating on getting better one day at a time.
Heaton stated the team looks great, and he is very proud of the progress they have made together as a team. He stated they work well together, and they are focused on having a great season. There will be nine returning starters on both sides of the ball. Heaton expects expects a successful season if they stay humble and keep a working mentality.
According to Heaton, here are some of the key players to look for this fall (listed in no particular order).
Dakota Rushing is an upcoming senior who is expected to make an impact on both offense and defense for the Lions. He is expected to be an anchor player for the defensive line and has shown great improvement. He is also a great leader on and off the field.
Heath Self has had great workouts in the offseason. He is expected to be an impact player as a running back and a linebacker.
Ben Richards will play wide receiver for the Lions this fall. He had a great spring until a broken arm stopped his offseason practice time. Richards is recovering well and is expected to be back at his peak performance abilities by the time the season starts this fall.
Connor Kiser was noted as the most improved player during the spring. Heaton states there is a noticeable difference when he is on the field, and he is a standout big play maker. He is also huge in the kicking game and making a battle for the quarterback position.
Blake Wilkes is new to the Lions this year. He is still acclimating to the offense but is adjusting well. Heaton stated he is also consistent at making consistent throws and is having great offseason practices.
Griffin McCarley and Colten Roberts are working hard at the inside linebacker position and are expected to make big plays.
Five seniors are expected to start on the offensive line this fall. These guys are expected to make a major impact on getting things done for the Lions. They are Cade Minor, Jocob O'Young, Colton Cochran, Dylan Barton, and Jorge Lopez-Torrez. There is a battle for starting positions on the defensive line, and there is great depth in this area.
For photos of the 7 on 7 tournament, [CLICK HERE].