AFTON — Afton finished 1-6 but the Eagles learned a lot by participating in the Shootout of the South, a 7-on-7 football tournament in Little Rock, Ark.
“Our record wasn’t very good, but we improved,” Afton head coach Zack Gardner said. “We competed well. We were the smallest school there.”
The tournament field featured 19 teams from Arkansas, three from Oklahoma (Afton, Stigler and Oklahoma City Heritage Hall) and one each from Texas and Louisiana.
During play in Pool C on Friday, the Eagles dropped an 18-8 decision to Magnolia, Ark., in the first game before suffering a 34-11 loss to Shiloh Christian of Springdale, Ark.
Continuing pool play Friday afternoon, the Eagles lost a 28-16 decision to Lake Hamilton, Ark.
The Eagles defeated Little Rock Hall 18-2 before concluding pool play with a 32-7 loss to Rogers (Ark.) Heritage.
“We let one (Magnolia) slip away,” Gardner said. “The kids didn’t fold. I was pleased with our effort, but the heat got to us a little on Friday.”
With a perfect 5-0 record, Heritage captured the top seed in Pool C, followed by Lake Hamilton (4-1), Shiloh Christian (3-2), Afton and Little Rock Hall (0-5).
In bracket play Saturday, the Eagles suffered a 30-18 loss to Warren, Ark. (the fourth-place team in Pool B), then dropped a 35-28 decision to Hot Springs (Ark.) Lakeside (the last-place team in Pool A).
In the loss to Warren, Afton failed to convert on a third-and-goal (like in Canadian football, teams had only three tries to make a first down) with less than two minutes remaining and trailing 23-18.
The Lumberjacks scored on a “Hail Mary” pass as time expired to create the final margin.
Pulaski Academy of Little Rock rolled to a 48-14 victory over Allen, Texas, Saturday, in the finals of the tournament.
Pulaski Academy had won Pool D with a 4-1 record while Allen, Texas finished second in Pool A with a 3-1-1 mark.
Pulaski qualified for the 7-on-7 National Championship in Hoover, Ala., in late July.