LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Afton will be one of 24 teams entered in the sixth annual Shootout of the South, one of Arkansas’ biggest 7-on-7 football tournaments.

The tournament begins at 11 a.m. Friday at the Mighty Bluebird Complex in Little Rock.

“It’s kind of an invite-only type tournament,” Afton head coach Zach Gardner said. “We are going to be facing some teams who will have four, five or six D1 prospects. If we can go compete down there, that is going to go a long ways as far as the season goes.”

There are 19 teams from Arkansas, three from Oklahoma (Afton, Stigler and Oklahoma City Heritage Hall) and one each from Texas (Allen) and Louisiana (Cenla Christian Academy of Pineville, La.).

Stigler is coached by former Miami High School boss Chris Risenhoover.

Oklahoma City Heritage Hall features Barry Sanders Jr. — son of the former Oklahoma State Heisman Trophy winner.

Heritage Hall defeated Allen for the 2007 Shootout championship.

Arkansas teams entered are Central Arkansas Christian, Conway, Dumas, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Fountain Lake, Greenbrier, Lake Hamilton, Hot Springs Lakeside, Magnolia, Nashville, Parkview, Pulaski Academy, Rogers Heritage, Russellville, Shiloh Christian of Springdale, Warren and Watson Chapel. 

Fayetteville is the defending champion and Lake Hamilton won the 2008 title.

Each team will play five pool play games on Friday with the guaranteed-two game format tournament beginning Saturday at 10 a.m. The finals will begin at 4 p.m on Saturday. 

The tournament champion will qualify for the 7-on-7 National Championship in Hoover, Ala., in late July.

“The kids are excited about going down there and competing,” Gardner said, noting that 14 players will be making the trip.

The Eagles’ pool games on Friday are against Magnolia, 11 a.m.; Shiloh Christian, 12:45 p.m.; Lake Hamilton, 1:55 p.m.; Hall, 3:40 p.m., and Rogers Heritage, 4:50 p.m.

Teams go into bracket play Saturday.