Photo/James Pugh

Sylva Bay Academy – in coordination with Bay Springs, Raleigh, Clarkdale and Enterprise – hosted it’s first 7-on-7 football tournament Tuesday morning. 

“I have to give credit to Dan Brady [head football coach at Bay Springs High School],” said Sylva Bay head coach Terry Underwood. “He’s the one that formed this small league we have for the month of June. Every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. us, Raleigh, Clarkdale, Enterprise and Bay Springs all get-together and we throw a little 7-on-7.”

It was Sylva Bay’s turn to host the 7-on-7 tournament. 

“What we do is each week we rotate it out to the different schools,” Underwood said. “It was at Bay Springs last week. This week it was here at Sylva Bay. Next week we’ll either me at Enterprise or Clarkdale.”

Underwood said the 7-on-7 tournament is good for his program. 

“The kids get to compete at a higher level,” said Underwood. “I know its very beneficial for us. We get to throw and catch, and we get to see things that we work on in practice [play out]. The biggest thing is that it is great conditioning for us. 

“I think this is a very positive thing. I know a lot of people do this around the state. I know when I coached at Oak Grove, we’d get together with Hattiesburg, Petal and PCS and do the same thing.”

The second-year SBA coach compares it to summer league basketball. 

“It’s a very positive thing, and I’m glad we’re able to do it,” said Underwood. “It’s much like what summer league basketball is to its program.”

Like some of the other teams in the tournament, Sylva-Bay Academy isn’t known for its passing game. So how does it help the program?

“You get to work on throwing and catching the ball,” Underwood said. “For us at Sylva Bay, we can’t do that much in the regular season. We don’t have enough bodies. But to line up against seven guys in the secondary, it helps us read coverage. Its great for our quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. And for our defensive personnel, it helps us get a read on the offense. It helps you improve those aspects of the game.”

Sylva Bay Academy opens the 2018 season on August 17 at Tri-County Academy.