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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • 7-on-7 part of busy summer for Ardmore, Plainview athletes

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  • The summer isn't owned by one sport. That much could be seen Monday at Noble Stadium.
    While some football starters for Ardmore and Plainview were scattered about the earth in baseball games, basketball or football camps, or family vacations, there was still work to be done with football season just months away.
    The two schools have joined forces for 7-on-7 practices, twice a week this month on Mondays and Thursdays. Monday's session was sparse, with many starters gone, but it didn't take away the significance of the practice.
    Both teams had 7-on-7 practices last year, but for Ardmore it was intrasquad. The Tigers get a different, welcome look this summer.
    "Everybody gets their technique down a little more," Ardmore senior Jamarcus Mills said. "Everybody else gets their reps in. You never know what will happen in a game, so you have to be ready all the time."
    If anything, the sessions have become important for what it provides the players who needed the repetitions. That, more than touchdowns and interceptions, is most important to Plainview coach Chris Berus.
    "When you've got reps with a football helmet on and a football in your hand, you're loving every bit of it," Berus said. "You get kids in here that can see that they're fighting for a spot. Hopefully, that will encourage them to work a little harder this summer."
    Many of the players are working hard in multiple sports this summer. Two of Ardmore's players, junior Andrew Clark and sophomore O.J. Walker, were in Atlanta Monday morning before making it back to Ardmore for 7-on-7 practice later that evening. The two were part of an Oklahoma Huskies 15-16 AAU basketball team that went 4-0 over two days to win a tournament title.
    Walker said the travel and the back-and-forth is worth it for what the players get out of the offseason program. Ardmore started Summer Pride for boys and girls on Monday.
    "I think it's good for us to come out here and compete," Walker said. "It's something we enjoy doing, getting in better shape."
    "It's more about keeping an understanding of your assignments, staying sharp," Plainview defensive lineman Cameron Hanan said.
    Berus said knowing assignments and learning schemes is the biggest thing for him during the 7-on-7s. He also takes the time in the sessions to develop a practice tempo that is close to game-like.
    "If we can get off plays every 15-20 seconds now, that bodes well in the fall when we have to do it for real," he said.
    Each team's defense had its share of tipped balls which led to interceptions in the pass-oriented session, with Ardmore at one point coming down with three picks in a five-pass sequence.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I was happy with the effort and execution," Ardmore defensive coordinator Josh Newby said. "It's great for the kids. It's always good to see them execute what you taught in the spring."
    Berus said the adversity will only help his players.
    "Balls hit some hands that should have been caught. How are we gonna respond to that," Berus said. "Because everything we do creates habits.
    "Even though this is summertime, we're still generating habits for ourselves."
    Follow Horne on Twitter: @ekhorneARD
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