Cardinals win 7-on-7 tourney

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Elizabeth High School's summer football activities got off to a good start as the team traveled to Englewood June 1 and won the 7-on-7 championship by defeating Fairview 31-24 in the title game.

The 7-on-7 games are an all-passing, touch football competition. No one rushes the passer, but the quarterback has to get the ball away in five seconds or the play is dead and considered a sack.

The 16 teams in the Englewood tournament were divided into four-team pools for round-robin play. The teams with the best pool play records were then seeded in a single-elimination championship bracket.

Elizabeth was 3-0 in pool play to advance to the playoffs as the No. 2 seed. The Cardinals won two games to get to the finals against Fairview, the No. 1 seed.

“It really was a good day for us, as our kids did really well,” Cardinals coach Chris Cline said. “The offense did its job, moved the ball and scored a lot of points. At the same time, the defense also was outstanding, as they made 13 or 14 interceptions. Brody Oliver and Logan Weber really did good jobs for us on both sides of the ball.”

Football activities continued the day after the Englewood 7-on-7 tournament, as the Elizabeth team left for the two-week Western State Football Camp in Gunnison on June 2.

The state rules changed several years ago, allowing up to two weeks of practice during the summer. The first three days, players are in shorts. Then they put on full pads for full-contact drills and scrimmages.

While some teams conducted the camps on their home field, Elizabeth went to the Western State camp.

“The camp includes drills and clinics for our players,” Cline said. “Also, our team will have the opportunity to scrimmage the other 11 teams at the camp. We are working on rebuilding our offensive and defensive lines. I believe the camp will be a good test for our linemen to see how we match up physically against those other teams.”

Soon after they return from Western State, Elizabeth will be playing in the June 19-22 Bronco 7-on-7 tournament. There are 64 teams in preliminary pool play at Denver All City Stadium, with the top finishers from the four-team pools advancing to the finals June 22 at Dove Valley and the overall champion winning an all-expense paid trip to Cleveland for the NFL 7-on-7 tournament.

Elizabeth opens play in the tournament at 10:30 a.m. June 20 in pool play against Parker Lutheran, Chatfield and Fairview.

Looking ahead, Cline said Elizabeth should be a good team this year and, if everyone stays healthy, the Cardinals should defend their league title.

“We graduated six seniors, four of them starters,” he said. “So we have nine returning starters on defense and eight on offense. Recently, we have had a number of players sidelined with injuries. But we expect we'll have everyone healthy and ready to go when the season opens.”

Regular practice for the fall season begins in mid-August, and Elizabeth opens the football season at home Aug. 30 with a non-league game against Frederick. It is the first of five non-league games. Play against Colorado 7 league opponents begins for the Cardinals Oct. 4 at home against Vista Peak.

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