The Lamar Vikings 7-on-7 team heads down to College Station on Thursday for the State 7-on-7 Tournament over the weekend. Lamar is the only program to qualify for the state tournament in all 19 years of its existence. We asked Head Coach Jim Poynter a few questions about this year’s team and his 14 years of experience with 7 on 7.
How did 7 on 7 come about?
“7-on-7 was formed to bridge spring football practice to fall practice. In the summer there are workout programs and college camps, and it is difficult to do team oriented football without some kind of organized activity. 7-on-7 lets the receivers, the running backs, the quarterbacks, and the defensive backs compete against other teams and have a reason to stay together. It builds loyalty and trust. That’s the reason it was started, and it has become wildly popular.”
What is the relationship between Lamar’s 7-on-7 team and the Friday night varsity team?
“This is Coach DeLay’s team. All I’ve got is a subset of his varsity football team. It all starts with Coach DeLay, and this includes all of his assistant coaches, but the school couldn’t treat me or this program with more respect. I feel like I am part of their staff. They know the importance to me. They know the success we’ve had over the last 19 years and that we are probably considered across the state of Texas as the example of how to run a 7-on-7 program. Coach DeLay couldn’t be more respectful and supportive of what we are doing.”
What kind of team do you have this year?
“We’ve got a good mix of young men. It’s not too senior-heavy. We’ve got some really talented younger guys, but the seniors we’ve got have some good experience. Chance Fuller, our trigger man at quarterback, got us into the state tournament last year when Shane Buechele was at the Elite 11 finals. The other thing I like about this team is that I can see Coach DeLay’s stamp on this team. These kids are on time to practice, they are respectful, and they are in shape. My observation of the Lamar Viking team under Coach DeLay is that that is his signature. Obviously that makes my job easier when these kids look and act the part as student athletes. Then all I have to do is teach them what I’ve learned throughout the years on how to be successful in 7-on-7. I don’t have to teach them to act like something other than a knuckle head.”
What are your expectations for the state tournament this weekend?
“After doing this for so many years, it’s difficult to say how deep we are going to go. You’ve got to get through your pool. You’ve to go either 3-0 or 2-1 in your pool because you’ve got to get either first or second place to get to the championship bracket. This team is in a pretty tough pool. If we play our best, we are capable of winning our pool. After that, you’ve got to win five games on Saturday. We’ve seen the weather forecast on Saturday. It’s really going to be an attrition war to some degree. Talent should come to the surface, but if you get to games 3, 4, and 5 on Saturday, it’s going to be because you’ve used your whole roster. All 20 kids have got to play and play well, because no 14 kids can take on those eight games at this level in two days in a 100 degree weather. All 20 of them have got to play, and we’ve got 20 that can play. So I expect them to do well.”
The Vikings will play three games on Friday afternoon in pool play of the state tournament. Pool C consists of Lamar, Cedar Ridge, El Paso Eastlake, and Richmond Foster. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the championship bracket on Saturday. The other two teams will play in the consolation bracket.
Friday Afternoon Schedule
1 pm: vs. Cedar Ridge Raiders
3 pm: vs. El Paso Eastlake Falcons
5 pm: vs. Richmond Foster Falcons
Lamar 7-on-7 Roster