's football program has another item for the trophy case after they went 8-0 in the recent seven-on-seven invitational tournament hosted by , despite losing a star player halfway through the competition.
Cornerback and wide receiver sprained his ankle in the tournament's fourth game against . The Longhorns rallied whilst a man down, with several players stepping up to fill the hole left by Langley's absence.
“I was proud of how our guys reacted to the injury,” said Cook. “The way the other guys stood up and took their game to a higher level. We got better after he went down.”
Seven-on-seven football differs from traditional, 11 on 11 football by removing all blocking and tackling. There are no linemen on either side of the ball, which allows offensive players the opportunity to improve their defensive reading abilities and vice versa.
Every Kell player made a contribution to the team's overall success, as they are often rotated in and out of the games. Two way players like Quincy Mauger, Taylor Henkle and Julian Burris were essential to both the offense and the defense. Quarterbacking, BK Hundley confidently led the offense.
The Longhorns use an attacking 4-3 defense and an offense that prefers the ground game, but is versatile enough to go to the air should the need arise.
“If you try to stuff our running game, we'll throw it,” Cook said. “If you try to cover our receivers, we'll run it straight up the gut.”
Generally, seven-on-seven games are decided on the last possession; the team with the ball has to score the winning touchdown and the defense has to make the big stop. During the final day of Kell's games, however, all the contests were decided well beforehand. The Longhorns were either killing clock with their final possession or had the game in hand on the defensive side of the ball.
“It's fun for the guys, but it's great conditioning,” said Cook.
These tournaments help squads get ready for the upcoming season by allowing them to recognize coverages and potential holes in opposing defenses and offenses. The games also allow coaches to discover weaknesses on their own squads that can be adjusted before the full contact season begins. Cook reiterated to his Longhorns that, although they may not be allowed to tackle opposing players, they need to be in the proper position to make a tackle whilst only touching them to end the play.
Kell will need all the practice that it can get, as they open with three tough games against AAAAAA opponents, including , and rival .
Longhorn fans should expect to see the same thing they've come to expect from Cook and his staff; a physical, well-coached squad that strives to play mistake-free football.
The first game of the season is Aug. 25 at 9 a.m. at the Georgia Dome against Chattahoochee. The home opener is Sep. 7 at 7:30 p.m. against Woodstock.