LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Afton will be among 20 teams competing in the 13th annual Shootout of the South 7-on-7 football tournament that runs here Friday, June 16, and Saturday, June 17.
“We feel we compete pretty well with the kids we take this year again,” Gardner said. “We’re going to graduate pretty heavily with the seniors, but I think we can go compete.”
The Eagles are among five Oklahoma schools in the field.
Afton, Stigler — coached by Chris Risenhoover, who spent four seasons at Miami High School — and Oklahoma City Heritage Hall are joined by newcomers Gore, Pocola and Yukon.
Also in the field are Allen, Texas; Springfield (Missouri) Glendale, and 11 Arkansas schools: Catholic, Central Arkansas Christian, Clinton, Greenbriar, Heber Springs, North Little Rock, Pulaski Academy Blue, Pulaski Academy Gold, Springdale, Searcy and Warren.
“There’s the Oklahoma schools again this year with Stigler and (Oklahoma City) Heritage Hall — everybody else will be foreign to us,” Gardner said.
The Eagles are the smallest school in the field.
“I give them credit. I like teams that step up to the challenge. It’s cool,” said Pulaski Academy head coach Greg Kelley, who is one of the founders of the tournament.
Pulaski Academy won the tournament in 2016 with a wild 64-56 victory over Allen.
“It’s kinda fun to look back and see those who have turned out to be really great football players in college that have played here,” Kelley said. “It’s cool in that the kids get to play against different teams and see teams from different states. The kids enjoy it, I think.”
Jim Ellis is sports editor of the Miami News-Record. He can be reached by phone at 918-542-5508 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mnrsportsguy.