With the football season a little over a month away, area coaches are looking for ways to get their teams ready for when the games begin.
On Friday afternoon, Raceland hosted a 7-on-7 passing tournament that spanned three fields and featured varsity and junior varsity squads from 11 area teams.
Schools represented included host Raceland, Russell, East Carter, Lawrence County, Fleming County, Greenup County, West Carter, Lewis County, Bath County, Bracken County and Rock Hill (Ohio).
T.J. Maynard, Raceland’s head coach and event organizer, said it’s a good thing for all the teams, coaches and even KHSAA officials to come out and get early work before the season.
“It’s a chance for all of us to come out after the dead period and throw the ball around and get things going before the season,” Maynard said. “And we’ve been blessed that all the officials from our region are here doing it. It’s great for those guys to come here and get work and be around the coaches.
“It’s just a good event for everyone to get out and get the ball rolling and get it started.”
The event continues today with a change in teams. West Carter, Rock Hill and Bath County will not be at today’s session, but Johnson Central will be joining the action.
One of the best things for Raceland this season is the abundance of returning skill players. The only starting player from the backfield who graduated was John Valencourt.
The returning Rams were on display Friday night, as quarterback Adam Elkins hit some of his top targets this year — among that group are running back Daylin Beach and wide receivers Timmy McComas and Rodney Vance.
Maynard said the best part about 7-on-7 drills is working players at different positions.
“We actually got four teams in this thing so we’re trying to get as many guys as many reps as we can,” he said. “Our challenge right now is to find some depth with the younger guys.”
Raceland’s top receiver last year was Connor Messer, who finished with 633 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. His ability was on full display Friday, with one highlight being a jump-ball touchdown against Bracken County.
Messer also took a few snaps from behind center. Maynard said fans shouldn’t be surprised if they see that this season.
“We worked him there in the spring because we wanted to get him some experience,” Maynard said. “This isn’t a knock on Adam or anything, but there are some things Connor can do back there. He’s a playmaker so we’ll get him some opportunities and have some different packages for him.”