When Gary Jones was kicking around ideas for events in Dalton, football was almost a no-brainer. "This town gets behind sporting events, especially football. You're looking at mid-July where people are kind of ready for football. This gives them a taste of it."
Dalton started with 20 teams their first year, and now they'll have 42 this weekend. "Dalton is always known as 'The Carpet Capital of the World', but we are also 'The Turf Capital of the World'. So we're giving these kids an opportunity to play on turf, to really experience it, so it just kind of showcases those companies."
Jones said 7-on-7 gained popularity in the 90's out of Texas. "You start at the 40-yard line and work your way in. The clock is running for 22 minutes. Normal football rules apply. But every bit of it is passing. The backs and receivers are eligible. Then you'll have the linebackers and defensive backs playing against them."
Even though there are no pads or linemen, Jones says coaches see the benefits of 7-on-7. "In practice, you are playing against sometimes your second string. You're not getting the reps in against quality competition. If you go up against faster players now, you are ready for it in the season."
Joining the players and coaches this weekend will be plenty of scouts. "I know CSS will bring a couple of guys up to cover it. 24/7 and Scout.com will be here, and they'll be represented."
Last year's 7-on-7 games proved beneficial to quarterback Kendrick Doss of Florence, Alabama. Said Jones,"There was a quarterback here last year, when he got off the bus, and got on the field, we all went, wow, who's that guy. None of the recruiting services had him listed. Welll this past month, he just committed to Ole Miss."