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Passing-driven competitions provide good exposure, add excitement to summer grind

GLEN ELLYN – Chad Hetlet’s defensive roots don’t allow the Glenbard West football coach to be especially fond of the 7-on-7 competitions that have become a summer staple.

But with the current landscape of high school football, he fully understands the need for such events.

“I think because you are getting a lot more spread offenses over the last 10 years, with that a lot of teams want to work on their timing,” Hetlet said. “[7-on-7s] have definitely exploded. Coaches feel like it gives them opportunities to get in a team environment.”

Despite the lack of an offensive line and running game, the competitions provide benefits.

“It’s good because you get to do team stuff, and for the offense, it’s really good,” Hetlet said. “You also get to see who your competitors are and too see how they compete against another team.

“And defensively, with your secondary and outside backs out there, you are seeing who can break on the ball. But at the same time, it’s not an indicator of how good you’re going to be [in the fall].”

Even standout running backs, like the Hilltoppers’ Scott Andrews, enjoy the passing-focused events.

“I like them,” said the senior. “It gives you an opportunity to compete and show what you’ve got. You get to know your quarterback better and you get to know the plays better and where we should go.”

For Glenbard South, which employs a spread offense, the 7-on-7s give a glimpse into what the Raiders might encounter in the fall.

“You get to see different coverages and defenses flying around,” Glenbard South quarterback Alex Jeske said. “And you definitely get to work on your passing game a lot and your timing with the wide receivers and different route combinations against those defenses.”

The events give Glenbard South coach Jeremy Cordell a chance to spot team leaders and to see which players transform practice technique into game situations.

“I love them,” Glenbard South coach Jeremy Cordell said of 7-on-7s. “I don’t care if they make mistakes - it’s the summer - but they should be flying around at 1,000 mph.”

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