E.A. Sports Today

Piedmont 7-on-7

It’ll be the 15th year for the passing camp tournament and first big event on the new turf at the Field of Champions

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT – There are some things you can always count on in the local summer sports calendar. The Sunny King Charity Classic used to be the first weekend after the Fourth of July, the Woodstock 5K is always the first Saturday in August and the Piedmont 7-on-7 passing camp is always nine days before the Bulldogs open training camp.

It’s that time of year again for the Piedmont 7-on-7 tournament – precisely nine days before the Bulldogs start preseason practice on the first Monday in August.

It’ll be the 15th year for the event with many of the teams having come year after year. It’ll be the first big event on the newly installed turf on the Field of Champions and all 12 teams in Saturday’s field will play on it at some point during the day.

“I think most of the people who come are repeaters, some have been coming the entire time,” Piedmont coach Steve Smith said. “Very seldom do we have somebody who’s never been before. I think it’s just a good, fun environment.

“Think people enjoy the structure. Having officials on the field is a big deal to folks and we actually play it off at the end and have a tournament champion and a runner-up. Kids like to compete for something other than just getting the reps in. Most of us coaches are glad we get the reps in but the kids like to have something to compete for, so we give some nice trophies at the end.

“And we’ve got great facilities and it gives us an opportunity to showcase that to some other teams around the area as they come in.”

While the field of teams include “a lot of great teams, some top-notch individuals and a lot of teams with high expectations for the fall,” the field of play might be the real star of this year’s show.

Piedmont officials gave the stadium a facelift in the offseason, replacing the original Field Turf on the playing surface. The work was completed shortly before the Fourth of July and the Bulldogs have been working out on it for a couple weeks.

“I’m thankful to (superintendent) Mr. (Mike) Hayes and our board of education for making that happen,” Smith said. “The administration at Piedmont has always tried to do everything first class to give our kids the best opportunities to have the nicest things and they have continued to do that and I’m just very grateful for that.”

The old turf treated the Bulldogs well. They were 77-6 on it since it was first laid in 2011 with winning streaks of the first 20, 26 and 17 games. The new turf may not make the Bulldogs faster, but Smith joked “it makes it softer for old people like me if we fall.”

“We were very lucky we got 11 football seasons out of the old (surface),” Smith said. “Most of the time they tell you if you can get eight to 10 it’s been a good run with it. We got 11 seasons out of it and we use ours a lot. 

“Field Turf makes an outstanding product and that’s the group who has done ours each time. They’re the Cadillac, the best in the business, and we’ve been fortunate to be able to put it down each time. The surface is great, we’re very thankful to be able to have that opportunity to play on the nicest of the turf fields.”

Piedmont 7-on-7

PiedmontSpring Garden
Cedar BluffSand Rock
Randolph CountyRanburne
BB ComerDora
9 a.m.Hand-PiedCB-RCWea-BBC
10:30SG-DorSR-DougJax-RanbHand-CB (JV)
11:30Jax-DorRanb-DougPied-CB (JV)SG-SR
1 p.m.CB-BBCHand-WeaPied-RC
1:30Jax-DougDor-SRRan-SGPied-Hand (JV)

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