How does success in 7-on-7 translate when the real season arrives?
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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||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 TexasFootball.com.
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