Temperatures peaked up into the low 90s multiple times this week, but that didn’t stop Big Bend football teams from getting in some 7-on-7 action in the first few weeks of summer camps.
Wednesday afternoon, North Florida Christian and FAMU DRS made the short trip to Chiles.
The trio of teams got a feel of what they’ll be working with this summer, along with a few things that might be in place for the regular season. Here are a few notes from the midweek games.
NFC’s receiving continues to highlight its offense
It only took one or two plays for North Florida Christian to flex its receiving game. With ease, junior quarterback JP Pickles found senior wide receiver Traylon Ray from the midfield area for a touchdown. It quite literally looked like the ball was on a string.
The duo was nearly flawless last season, seeing Pickles pass for 3211 yards and 31 touchdowns, and Ray receive for 1366 yards and 17 scores. One of their first summer outings just showed that the duo is still passing and receiving with the same intensity and accuracy.
Considering that 7v7 is passing heavy, Pickles had the strongest arm out of the three teams participating. It’s not surprising that he’s passing well, as the NFC leaned having on the receiving game on offense, but it’s good to see that there really hasn’t been a falloff. Ray continued to flex his athletic abilities as well, beating opponents with his speed on both sides of the ball.
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NFC is an athletic squad beyond its two stars. Junior Ray Daly turned on the jets multiple times Wednesday afternoon and sophomore Josh Schuchts proved to be a dependable target as well. Junior Ashton Gainer got some work in at QB as well, throwing a score to Schuchts against Chiles. It’s good to see yet another option in the backfield in case anything happens to the starter or just to get another arm in the rotation.
The biggest thing with NFC last season was its youth and finishing games, but early on in the offseason, this team looks like it’s in really good shape. They played well on both sides of the ball, its stars continued to dominate and it played up to its athletic standards.
Chiles continues to develop all-around game
Continuing on the “pass-heavy” theme of 7v7, I think it was extremely beneficial for the Timberwolves’ quarterback units to get these reps in. Its starter, senior Trent Hurtung, headed the rotation while another Chiles player was put in the mix during the three games.
The Timberwolves leaned into their rushing game last season, seeing senior Tre’avis Jones do a lot of the groundwork, so it was good to see Chiles getting passing and receiving reps in. It had a rough start against NFC, with the Eagles defense playing a part in that, but the passing game eventually stabilized later on.
The Eagles also limited Jones in their game, but the senior running back took off against FAMU DRS and found the endzone a few times. The development of Jones last season, this spring, and now into the summer has been insane. Against the Baby Rattlers, he juked off at least two players before finally getting touched. Don’t give this kid room because he’ll take advantage of all of it.
Out of everything going on for Chiles, I think the defense is going to be the biggest focus. Similar to the offense, it stabilized later on, but against NFC it sputtered a little. The Eagles beat Chiles in the running game, seeing them go up 12-0 quickly. The Timberwolves didn’t allow any points after, but NFC caught them off guard in the passing game.
I don’t think it’s going to be an issue, considering its early summer and Chiles usually bodes a large roster and was short a few guys Wednesday, but it is an area that stuck out to me at least.
FAMU DRS building up program
It was good to see this team out early on in the summer and getting in some reps. This is still a pretty young team with new coaching staff, so there are some growing pains early on, but there were definitely good things to see out of their showing.
Its offense needs a little more organization, but its defense was pretty on top of things. Most of its opposition’s touchdowns came directly off a pass and not a carry into the end zone. The Baby Rattlers had someone on an eligible receiver in most cases, making Chiles and NFC receivers work a little harder to score.
This could be a good starting place to work off of for this squad. I said this back when I saw DRS play Leon last fall, this team had athletes but just needs some organization. I’m excited to see where this team is going to be by August. Hopefully, they’ll be able to get some more numbers out as well.
Jack Williams covers prep sports for Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @jackgwilliams.