IT WAS neither fall nor Friday, but football was out in full force at the Jefferson practice field Tuesday as Dragons hosted their second-annual 16-team 7-on-7 passing league tournament.
Jefferson coach T. McFerrin, who enters his fourth year at Jefferson and his 38th overall, said it’s very beneficial to see this kind of competition in June.
“The good thing is that we’re facing somebody besides ourselves,” McFerrin said. “You get used to playing against yourselves and sometimes you can’t evaluate as much as you can when you go up against somebody else.”
McFerrin, whose team is coming off an 8-3 year, added that it’s “a great teaching time.”
First-year Jackson County coach Benji Harrison echoed those comments.
“I think you get tired of going against yourself in practice,” said Harrison, who was Flowery Branch’s offensive coordinator last year. “So it’s just good to get out here and go against some competition and see where you’re at. I think that’s what it’s about in the summer.”
The whirlwind day of pad-less, one-hand touch football gave McFerrin a chance to assess several young players.
Jefferson will see it share of stout competition this weekend when it treks to the University of Alabama for the Crimson Tide’s passing league tournament. But McFerrin said the level of play at Jefferson’s event Tuesday was certainly high-caliber as well.
“There’s great competition here … there’s some good athletes out here obviously,” McFerrin said. “I think everybody feels like that the competition is good and that’s what you want.”
Meanwhile, Harrison — who takes over a program that went 3-7 last year — got a first glimpse of his team in this kind of environment.
“They’re learning how to compete,” said Harrison. “That’s what I get out of this. You learn how to make yourself better fundamentally and you learn what you’re supposed to do on offense and defense. But in the end, I think it comes down to you learn how to compete.”