Catching on

Published 10:54 pm Thursday, July 10, 2008

The difference between Lanny Jones’ first Isabella team at this point of the summer and his second team is like night and day.

“We actually know what’s going on this time,” Jones said.

In 2007, the Mustangs were adjusting to a new coach and learning how to compete in 7-on-7 games, which are the most common competitions for high school teams between the spring and fall practice periods.

They “didn’t come close” to winning any camps, Jones said. This year, however, Isabella already has a win in Kingwood’s 7-on-7 camp (the larger Mustangs came in second in the lineman challenge) on June 23-24 and a third place finish at Shades Mountain’s camp on June 20.

Jones said his team started slow in both camps but was able to rebound for solid finishes.

During 7-on-7 competitions, Isabella utilizes basically the same defense it will use during the season, Jones said. The offense usually looks a little different. The Mustangs were a run-first team last season and probably will be again. But the absence of linemen in passing camps makes the formula for winning slightly different.

Jones said the most encouraging aspect of Isabella’s performance so far has been the competition at many positions on offense and defense, a situation that can make each player involved better.

“The whole point of it is them being competitive and staying competitive,” Jones said. “We love it when they’re really competing.”

The Mustangs will have many more opportunities to compete when they host a 7-on-7 camp on July 10. Local teams Chilton County High, Jemison and Thorsby will participate along with many other squads.