Seventh heaven
Seventh heaven
2014-07-15 11:30:00

How does success in 7-on-7 translate when the real season arrives?

 By Greg Tepper
 DCTF Managing Editor

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The dust has settled in College Station for another year. No, not that dust — the Aggies haven’t even gotten started in 2014. But for the State 7-on-7 Tournament, it’s all over but the singing.

And, of course, the analysis, which is where we come in.

The 2014 State 7-on-7 Tournament — which pits the finest 7-man teams from across the state against one another in what is essentially a passing league — has come to a close, and the champions have been crowned. This year, it was Katy Seven Lakes who took home the Division I crown (which is comprised of 6A and 5A teams) and Graham who repeated as Division II champions (containing 4A, 3A, 2A, 1A and private school teams).

But as fun as 7-on-7 football is — it’s a welcome oasis of football in the vast desert wasteland of the offseason — the real question that everyone has is: what does it mean?

Of course, it means that Katy Seven Lakes and Graham are very good at 7-on-7 football. But is their success in the passing league a harbinger of things to come in the fall, when 11 men will suit up instead of seven?

While we don’t have a firm answer — we’re good at predictions at Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, but even we can’t predict the future — we can look back at the historical data to draw a few conclusions.

We looked at the 46 teams that have played in a 7-on-7 state championship game dating back to the tournament’s inception in 1998. It should be noted that prior to 2007, there was no divisional split; everyone played everyone.

We wanted to know: how did teams that played for a 7-on-7 title do that season? The answer: pretty darn well, though there are no guarantees.

Here are the playoff finishes for the 46 teams that played for a 7-on-7 title:

Overall, the numbers suggest at least a decent correlation between 7-on-7 success and 11-man success. In sum, 37 of the 46 7-on-7 finalists made the playoffs that season, with more than 30% of them (14 of the 46) making the state semifinals.

Seven teams have turned that 7-on-7 success into an 11-man title, most recently Argyle, who was the runner-up in last year’s DII 7-on-7 tournament before winning the 3A Division II state title. What’s also interesting: the seven state champions are pretty evenly split as far as 7-on-7 champions and runners-up (4 teams won both the 7-on-7 and 11-man titles, while 3 finished second in 7-on-7 before winning a title).

When you dive into the records, it gets even more promising for the 7-on-7 standouts.

Check that out: 31 of the 46 finalists in 7-on-7 won at least nine games that season. That’s pretty good odds.

There are, of course, outliers. Cy-Fair in 2009 is perhaps the most extreme case — after being edged out in the Division I 7-on-7 title game, the Bobcats went an astonishing 0-10.

And that speaks to an important distinction to draw: 7-on-7 football simply plays into some teams’ strengths more than others. There’s a reason that teams like Southlake Carroll, DeSoto and Celina are always in the hunt for a 7-on-7 crown: their offensive schemes are perfectly suited for the 7-on-7 game. There’s also a reason that teams like Corpus Christi Calallen (one appearance in the state tournament), Fairfield (zero appearances) and Cibolo Steele (no appearances) can’t find a foothold despite their success in the 11-man game: it just doesn’t fit what they’re trying to do.

That said, there is sufficient data to suggest that success in 7-on-7 football usually translates to success in 11-man.

Here’s the complete data for the all-time 7-on-7 finalists.

Year 7-on-7 Finish Team Season Finish
2014 DI Champion Katy Seven Lakes ???
2014 DI Runner-up Whitehouse ???
2014 DII Champion Graham ???
2014 DII Runner-up Plano Prestonwood ???
2013 DI Champion Southlake Carroll 11-2, regional semifinalist
2013 DI Runner-up Houston Stratford 12-3, state semifinalist
2013 DII Champion Graham 14-1, state semifinalist
2013 DII Runner-up Argyle 16-0, state champion
2012 DI Champion Plano 5-6, bi-district finalist
2012 DI Runner-up Manvel 11-2, regional semifinalist
2012 DII Champion Celina 10-3, regional semifinalist
2012 DII Runner-up Graham 13-2, state semifinalist
2011 DI Champion DeSoto 10-2, area finalist
2011 DI Runner-up Houston Lamar 10-3, regional semifinalist
2011 DII Champion Melissa 13-1, state champion
2011 DII Runner-up Houston Kinkaid 10-0, state champion
2010 DI Champion Lake Travis 14-2, state champion
2010 DI Runner-up DeSoto 11-3, regional finalist
2010 DII Champion Brownwood 14-1, state semifinalist
2010 DII Runner-up Cameron Yoe 14-1, state finalist
2009 DI Champion Round Rock Stony Point 13-2, state semifinalist
2009 DI Runner-up Cy-Fair 0-10, no playoffs
2009 DII Champion Celina 7-5, area finalist
2009 DII Runner-up Rice Consolidated 11-2, regional semifinalist
2008 DI Champion Richland 9-2, bi-district finalist
2008 DI Runner-up Mesquite 5-5, no playoffs
2008 DII Champion Crane 8-3, bi-district finalist
2008 DII Runner-up Navasota 10-1, regional semifinalist
2007 DI Champion Georgetown 6-4, no playoffs
2007 DI Runner-up Houston Stratford 9-4, regional semifinalist
2007 DII Champion Celina 16-0, state champion
2007 DII Runner-up Crane 9-2, bi-district finalist
2006 Champion Colleyville Heritage 10-4, regional finalist
2006 Runner-up Rockwall 8-3, bi-district finalist
2005 Champion Baytown Lee 1-7, no playoffs
2005 Runner-up Bay City 5-6, bi-district finalist
2004 Champion Tyler Lee 2-8, no playoffs
2004 Runner-up Katy Taylor 6-4, no playoffs
2003 Champion Odessa Permian 6-4, no playoffs
2003 Runner-up Burnet 14-1, state finalist
2002 Champion Katy Cinco Ranch 6-4, no playoffs
2002 Runner-up Abilene 10-2, area finalist
2001 Champion Baytown Lee 10-2, area finalist
2001 Runner-up Austin Bowie 2-8, no playoffs
2000 Champion Celina 16-0, state champion
2000 Runner-up Abilene Cooper 10-4, regional finalist
1999 Champion North Mesquite 7-4, bi-distirct finalist
1999 Runner-up Lake Worth 9-3, bi-district finalist
1998 Champion Southlake Carroll 12-2, regional finalist
1998 Runner-up Grapevine 10-4, state champion

Greg Tepper is the managing editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and

He can be reached via e-mail, via Twitter (@Tepper) and via the DCTF Facebook page.

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